Photo Credit: Netflix
Ah the dreaded, feared and enigmatic Friend Zone. That vast expanse beyond the outer rim of the relationship universe. A place where many men have witnessed their self esteem, self respect and masculinity vanish into the void without a trace.
To men, The Friend Zone might as well be the title of the most horrifying science fiction movie...Ever! Horrifying because it's real life and most guys don't know they're in the Friend Zone until it is too late. Only when he tries to make his move to amp up the sexual tension does he realize that there is none to be had! It's gone! I mean "distant eagle cry and tumble weed" gone.
Don't think for a moment that The Friend Zone is the exclusive domain of the shy, insecure "nice guys" trying to date or start a relationship. Hell no! It happens to a staggering number of men in long-term relationships and marriages too!
Arg! I can remember it vividly! It happened a few years ago. It was that night of Netflix and no chill. It was our third date and I drove her back to her place after we enjoyed a great dinner out. She asked me to come in for a glass of wine. As we talked we discovered we both had a jones for a particular show on Netflix. So on it went and we watched...drank wine and watched...and (ahem) watched some more.
It was getting very late and when I saw her overly exaggerated yawn...I knew I blew it.
I was now adrift in the ether never to make it back to the joys of creating sexual tension with her. Nope, I took too long!
Sure, we had a great connection, enjoyed each other's company and were attracted to each other. I mean Damn! She was ssssmoke'n! But in that moment I just knew that was as far as it was going to go. I just entered "The Friend Zone" (cue dramatic echo).
Even with my awareness and understanding of social and relationship dynamics...I knew I missed my window of opportunity to create the energy of attraction beyond what just happened.
Let's be clear, the window of opportunity here is not about having sex it is about creating sexual tension. It is sexual tension that drives relationships. It's what fuels that passion, flirting, anticipation, fun and push/pull sexual attraction.
Sexual tension is what ignites attraction. It's what holds the excitement and fantasy of any connection. Without it....yeah...(collar pull) you slip into the Friend Zone (cue more fading echo).
Upon seeing me to the door...she yawned again...waving her hand over her mouth.
"I'm sorry...I can't believe how tired I am...I'm going to sleep like a baby."
She reached up to hug me and I kissed her....cheek (Yay!)
As she closed the door she said, "Thanks for a great night. Call me about that concert...maybe we can hangout at that."
As I made my way to the car I'm like in my head with Stupid, stupid stupid! Good god man how can you not have initiated one bit of flirting! Ugh!
The result was I got ghosted and never saw here again.
Now to be fair she did not make a move or flirt shamelessly with me either. It was not like I was oblivious and didn't catch the signs. There were none. Oh yeah...she did provocatively apply her lip balm on a few occasions...Okay damn it! Yes, there were signs!
No! I'm not crying! You're crying!
It was just that I did nothing to amp up any sexual tension. Once the TV went on there was no witty banter, no provocative conversation, no teasing or playful touching. We did that on our first couple of dates and during dinner. Now it was just me mindlessly watching my favourite show completely clueless of my surroundings with a goddess lying right beside me on the couch.
I just joined the Fail Army like a teenager with zero game!
How could I be in the company of this gorgeous creature who was attempting to be an accommodating hostess and I didn't clue into the "chill"part of our Netflix night cap? I'm good at this part! Ugh!
I chalk my lack of awareness up to believing sometimes things aren't meant to go a certain way. I get that too!
If you are trying to date or start a relationship you have to know that the sexual tension window is very small. You miss it and there's very little to no recovery. Sure, over time you can rebrand and reinvent yourself in her eyes. But those are very rare cases. It takes tremendous effort, tenacity and the will to change her mind about you for that to occur. The reason is; once you are in the Friend Zone she will have a hard time seeing you as a man that can create sexual tension for her.
This was eye opening for me because as The Coach For Men to get Friend Zoned in real-time was humbling. However, it was a gift because I had the awareness while it happened. I knew exactly when and how it happened. I didn't get that "What happened?" anxiety most guys get because I knew straight away. I thought this I can use as a teaching moment.
Sadly, most men do not understand how their nice-guy routine is messing up his chances of ever getting past being her buddy or ghosted. Or how his passive, indecisive and unmasculine energy has cooled the fire. This can happen regardless of it being on a first date or in a serious relationship.
Yes, it's true! So many "happy" couples are in sexless relationships. This is very unsettling.
You'll hear excuses like, "Oh we're just so busy." "Sex isn't everything." "It's just not a priority any more."
The truth is, the sexual tension is missing. Many women that I have spoken to at conferences or at my talks have expressed that over the years her man has become a little boy rather than a man. As well, he's become indecisive, unfocused, and isn't leading the household with a sense of purpose any more. Another factor might be that they have let themselves go physically ensuring that attraction can't happen. With that recipe how the hell can anyone be turned on by that?!
I'm not throwing my brothers under that bus here. It can go both ways. Women too are not trying as hard to heat things up or build her man up to what he could be. Each is waiting for the other to change rather than BE the change.
Listen, the Friend Zone does not have to be your own private hell. You can get your mojo back!
Here's what you do:
1) Be decisive - Make big and bold decisions in your life and in the relationship. Take things off her plate. Be the man in the duo. Make plans and follow through on them. Even if she tests you (and she will) stick to your decisions and lead.
2) No date nights! - Say Whaaat? That's right! Too many date nights are just an excuse for an escape from the kids or the mundane routine you've created. Only to go out to an all-too familiar chain restaurant, movie and come home tired, pay the baby sitter and hit the hay. Stop that shit! You must have "Romance Night" - A night where you both dress in the 9's. Yeah, little black dress and you style'n kind of night.
The agenda here for those in relationships is to cap the night with great sex and intimacy for both of you! You have to earn this with the right energy to create sexual tension. A night where you make reservations to a high-end restaurant. A night where you flirt shamelessly building up tension until you both can't wait to get home a ravage each other. No, not just get'r done sex, but great sex!
If you are wanting to go out with a new potential date do not call it "Hanging Out". When you do there's no set agenda. It's too ambiguous. Set the intention so you both have some degree of expectation. One that ensures that the Friend Zone is a galaxy away!
3) Work out - Get healthy, fit and trim. This amps up your testosterone. When you feel great about your health and physical appearance you have more confidence, sexual energy and prowess. Clothes look and feel great on you. It also says you have discipline and goals.
4) Be unpredictable - Get back to being that guy that keeps her on her toes. Women love a man that is anything but routine. Shake things up with surprises, shameless flirting and being fun. That sense of humour is also pure gold. Make her laugh more. It's magical.
5) Be A God In Bed - Is that too crass? Well too bad. You need to hear the truth! Too many relationships are lacking sex because quite frankly it's not all that exciting and amazing. One or the other is not as adept with his or her skills as a lover. It's often one-sided and neither are comfortable confronting their partner to set them straight. When this happens they run on assumptions that are often incorrect. There may be tabus, shame and guilt that need to be expressed and addressed. Learn, share and discover together what actually works. Stop running on assumptions and get to the truth of each other's turn-ons. Make it fun, be explicit with a lot of mutual exploration to get your sexual tension reignited.
You are lovers! Act like it!
With the dating and relationship landscape changing so dramatically, and masculinity in the crosshairs for all the ills of the world, it is understandable that men are taking their foot off the gas. Men are not trying nearly as hard to be "the man" with today's empowered woman in fears of being perceived as being too manly or masculine. However, contrary to the media, pop culture and our politically correct world...She does want her man to be the man.
The Friend Zone does not have to be your perpetual version of hell. You do not have to give up being the respectful nice guy that you are either. You just have to recognize the times when you need to amp up your authentic masculine power and let her feel that you've got this. Take some calculated risks with being playful, flirtatious and decisive with her.
Just because she invites you over for Netflix does not mean she's inviting you for chill too. But just know she sure the hell isn't inviting you to a marathon of your favourite show either.
You are not alone on the journey...I've got your back!
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