Dating expert reveals how to move out of the friend zone

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Pining after a mate is always a tricky thing, especially if you’re afraid of ruining your friendship. 

But Tina Wilson, a relationship expert who founded the dating app Wingman, revealed her tips on how you can make a move and leave the friendzone for good. 

Speaking to FEMAIL, Tina said that focusing on the chemistry you and your crush share could make them realise you make a great pair. 

She added that practicing self-care and putting yourself first is the best way to show your friends you’re the one they’ve been looking for. 

And Tina also gave action plans to follow to take you from ‘friend’ to ‘love interest’ in no time. 

Tina Wilson , a relationship expert who founded the dating app Wingman, revealed her tips on how you can make a move and leave the friendzone for good. Stock picture 

STEP 1 – Remind your friend why you are perfect for each other

‘Many people admit they feel trapped in the friendzone and don’t know how they will find a way out of the situation to “make a move”,’ Tina said,. 

‘It can feel like torture as you interact with this person, sometime daily, but you are concealing who you really are and hiding true feelings for them’.

Tina said the first step to making a move with your friend is to focus on yourself. 

‘You know your friend better than anyone and you know what they seek in a partner. Therefore, you should firstly show them you are ‘the one’ they are looking for,’ she said. 

The expert added selfcare is the key to any healthy relationship.  

‘To do this properly you must look within yourself and practice self-care. It is key to prioritise yourself and work on your goals and needs,’ she said. 

‘Don’t be all consumed with your friend that you are crushing on and remember that everything happens for a reason. 

Tina also gave action plans to follow to take you from 'friend' to 'love interest' in no time

Tina also gave action plans to follow to take you from 'friend' to 'love interest' in no time

Tina also gave action plans to follow to take you from ‘friend’ to ‘love interest’ in no time

‘If you don’t end up in a romance with your friend then at least you won’t have feelings of bitterness, regret, or resentment, which over time will just destroy your friendship. This is why it is vital to embrace life’s opportunities and make plans for yourself,’ the expert added. 

Action plan: Feel good by updating your wardrobe so your friend sees you in a new way. 

Happiness and self-confidence is attractive so you should do what makes you happy, for instance, plan a trip, go traveling, take up an exciting course to learn a new skill, go into the career direction you have always wanted or take up a new hobby.

There might be a lot of effort on your part but you are doing it for you and not anyone else. In the process you will appear as the perfect partner!

STEP 2 – Focus on your chemistry together to win them over

Focusing on positive things will help you build a strong bond with your friend that could lead to romance, Tina said.  

‘By focusing on the positives, you can use these to build on your bond and mutual connection. Many of the same feel-good chemicals that release in our brains are like that with romantic partners,’ she said.  

‘Therefore, the good news is, you are already on the right path, and by focusing on these natural chemicals, which includes excitement, pleasure, and happiness, you can help grow these feelings,’ she added. 

The expert added that planning activities together was a great way to build memories you could both treasure. 

Action plan: Give the feel-good chemicals a helping hand by planning exciting activities to bond.

The best way to begin is by asking the other person out to somewhere you know you’ll both enjoy. Start with being more tactile than normal and see what reaction you get. 

If you try to link arms or hold a hand and they pull away decide if having this conversation may ruin a friendship that you treasure.

This outing together is a perfect opportunity for your friend to see you in the same light. 

It is also important to make eye contact and touch them on their shoulder or hands for example, to release oxytocin – vital for physical and sexual attraction between two people.

In addition, when you are in their company ensure you are present, smile, listen and display positive body language.

See if there is any mutual attraction by trying this tactic and who knows – maybe it will be them who end up making the first move.

STEP 3 – Be honest to avoid things getting weird later but remember timing is everything

‘We have all been friends with someone or know someone who’s friend has ‘made a move’ that has come as a shock and not been reciprocated,’ Tina said. 

‘Usually happening on drunken nights out where the crush gets a sudden rush of encouragement to act on their feelings, leaving the person mortified,’ she added. 

The expert explained you should avoid such scenarios as much as possible when it comes to declaring your feelings. 

‘Whatever the situation, making a move out of the blue or when the timing is off will scare them and destroy any chance you have of turning your friendship into a romance,’ Tina said. 

And if you declare yourself too randomly, your friend might feel they can’t overcome the awkwardness of the situation and blank you out completely, she added.  

What if things don’t work out? 

If things don’t work out and the feelings aren’t mutual then trust your friendship may need some time to build back to the position it was before. 

Your friend may not want to give you false signals, but try to give them some space because true friendship lasts a lifetime whilst partners may come and go.

‘They will likely not see you in the same light again and will worry they have given you the wrong signals,’ she said.

‘Therefore, the only solution that seems sensible to them will be to back off from the friendship. 

‘The person crushing will also feel embarrassment and will avoid contact with their friend.’

Action plan: If you find yourself in a situation where you can no longer hold your tongue because you have developed deep feelings for a friend think carefully before you tell them. 

Depending on whether your feelings have been there from the start, or if they have developed over time, telling your friend in the right way – as early on a possible, but at the right time – is absolutely key. This will save a lot of heartache.

Firstly, consider how long you have known each other and the depth of the friendship. 

If you haven’t been close for long and the other person has just come out of a relationship it could be seen as a rebound. It will also look like you are taking advantage of their situation when all they want is a friend.

If everyone is going in the right direction and you are ready to reveal all, take them for a coffee at your local café to chat. Although you can’t control the outcome you can control how you deal with the situation.

Whether or not your friend has the same feelings they will respect your approach and mature nature in which you dealt with it. Friendship is built on trust after all.

STEP 4 – Be true to yourself

The expert warned against changing yourself to suit your friend.  

‘When you fancy a friend, it can be easy to fall into the trap of gradually changing who you are, out of hope they will magically realise they love you by you seeking their affection from acting in this way,’ Tina said.  

‘Wanting to please them all of the time, feeling grateful they even talk to you, even running errands for them and putting their emotional needs over your own, are all signs you are trying too hard to “woo” them,’ she added. 

Tina went on to explain that no matter how hard you try, if you’re not true about how you feel,  your friend won’t reciprocate your feelings. 

‘In fact, it will do the opposite. It will reaffirm your friendship and you will feel trapped in the friends zone forever,’ she said. 

‘It is important to get some perspective so you don’t lose yourself as it will just ruin your friendship in the long run,’ Tina said. 

Action plan: Establish if you are in the friendship zone because it is a form of rejection itself. They might not want to hurt your feelings or feel awkward about having ‘the chat’ with you. 

Confide in a trusted but mutual friend to help you get the perspective you need to move forward. Your friend will be your wingman and help guide you in the right direction – whether that be making your feelings known to your friend or gaining the confidence to move on and realise you are simply just friends.

STEP 5 – Acceptance and handle the rejection if they don’t like you back

As sad as it sounds, you need to prepare yourself for the eventuality where your friend does not feel the same as you do.  

‘It can be scary and daunting to put your heart on the line but if the worst scenario plays out and your friend does not feel the same way then you must learn acceptance and gain the ability to heal,’ Tina said. 

‘Handling rejection is something we all must do at some point in our lives, and no one enjoys it. It can really hurt, and you may feel you won’t recover but time is a great healer,’ she added. 

The expert added that if you’re rejected, you shouldn’t harbour resentment or shame. 

‘You will only cause yourself more pain. In addition, it can play havoc on your mental wellbeing as it is both mentally and physically draining,’ she added. 

Action plan: Show your friend that you accept their decision for not wanting to pursue a romantic relationship and move on. Brush yourself off and remind yourself of your self-worth.

If you act funny with them then it is clear you haven’t come to terms with the rejection, and it will manifest inside you. Instead, remind yourself that you are not right for each other, and the right person is around the corner.

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