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How Can I Steer Clear of the 'Friend Zone'?
By Ian Kerner, AOL Love & Sex Coach and author of 'DSI: Date Scene Investigation'
Match.com

Q: I keep getting trapped in the "friend zone." How do I make it clear that I'm interested in someone as more than just a friend?

A: These days with all of the casual hooking up, it's easy for friends to get physical very quickly, and for a person to feel like this person is just my pal, my buddy, and we just so happen to also be really physically intimate with each other.

Or sometimes you become friends with somebody as a way of getting their attention in the belief that it will be a chance for you to show all of your qualities in hopes that your friendship will lead to a relationship.

Ultimately, dating needs to be a courtship process, and you need to feel like you're moving forward in the courtship process. Friendship is an important part of courtship, but if all you're getting is friendship then that process has really hit a dead end.

The thing that you need to do is be open and honest with that person and make sure that they don't have any false assumptions because that person may believe you're very comfortable with the way the relationship is. You're comfortable being a pal and perhaps you occasionally get physical with each other, or you're comfortable being one of the guys and playing poker with us and coming to the softball game.

If you're not letting your intentions be known, you're also permitting a false impression to develop and I rarely see somebody discover that their best friend right under their nose is also the person that they're in love with. Forming a relationship that was made as a friendship is not a way of moving the courtship process forward.

If you want to have a conversation that explains you want the relationship to be more than a friendship, you should talk about the positive qualities and the things that you like about that person. It's completely respectable to say "I like you as a friend but I'm very interested in having a boyfriend and you're very much the type of person that I would like to potentially see."

To say, "You're a great person, you have so many fabulous qualities, I'm really looking for a romantic partner and I respond to those qualities in you and to everything that's great about you." I think that especially in our age of Internet dating and dating services, especially for guys, they get it that a date is a date and you can approach a guy and say I like you as more than a friend. If you say it in a positive way, he's going to take that in a constructive way. Just be open and honest and mature and adult.

The worst thing to do is to just perpetuate a friendship under the guise that you believe it will blossom into love because then you're really being dishonest with that person -- and I've seen this a lot.

The flip side of that is after a handful of months or however long, someone expresses romantic interest in another person and that other person feels really betrayed: "I thought that we had a great friendship and that was always clear. This whole time you've been liking me so I don't know now what to think about our friendship."

Not telling somebody you're interested is a form of lying. If you're actually being physical with somebody, that's a way of really confusing the boundaries between friendship and romance. One very clear way of not falling into the friend zone is not being a friend with any physical benefits attached to it.
 

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What are the best ways to meet singles in your city?   Go to as many singles events as you can. Variety is the key.  Don't focus on any one type of group.   First: Meet young single professionals at fundraisers, singles charity and civic organizations. Second: Join sports leagues, singles hiking, biking, outdoors, or adventures clubs.  Third: Join a church or religious group for Christian, Catholic, or Jewish singles. Also check out singles cruises and  travel.   Newly divorced or single parent? Get help at a singles support or divorce recovery group. 

What about online dating? Check out dating advice on Singlesonthego.com to learn how to place personal ads to meet single men and women online.  Find great dating advice for online personals and meeting singles by using various dating services, dating agencies, matchmakers, introductions services. Check out the singles scene in your area to find a new relationship today!  Check out the list of online dating services above categorized by general, foreign/ethnic, religious, alternative, senior and single parents.

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