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How to Get Out of the Friend Zone, According to an Expert


No one is more familiar with the friend zone than Penelope Featherington. The “Bridgerton” character (played by Nicola Coughlan) lusted over her best friend’s brother Colin Bridgerton (Luke Newton) for the entirety of season one and two. It wasn’t until this most recent season, when Penelope started receiving attention from other suitors, that Colin pursued Penelope as more than friends . . . and shared a horny “Bridgerton” sex scene with her too.

But this is the type of storyline suitable for a fictional love story on Netflix — not reality — because if you’ve ever found yourself in the friend zone, you know getting out of it is never as simple as how the sexy Netflix show portrayed it to be.

Sure, you can be upfront and communicate your interest directly, but if you want some subtle ways to get your friend’s attention first, we’ve got you. Below, relationship expert Nicole Moore shares her tips on how to get out of the friend zone.

Experts Featured in This Article

Nicole Moore is a relationship therapist and founder of the “Love Works Method,” a program that has helped people find lasting love fast.

But First, What Is the Friend Zone?

The friend zone is a hypothetical place you get “stuck in” when you have romantic feelings for your friend that are not reciprocated. In some instances of being in the friend zone, your friend may not know you have feelings for them. In other instances, your crush knows you have feelings for them and decides to keep things platonic.

“Most friend-zone relationships tend to happen when people meet in non-romantic settings such as work, but they can also happen when one person doesn’t reciprocate romantic feelings after going on one or more dates,” Moore says.

How to Get Out of the Friend Zone

If you want to get out of the friend zone by making it known to your friend that you’re into them, there are a few things you can do to test the waters first. Here’s what Moore recommends:

Watch a sexy movie together. To see if you and your crush have romantic chemistry, see how they respond to watching a sexy kiss scene or sex scene with you. “If they are interested in you, they might get inspired by the steamy scene to make a move on you,” Moore says. You can also use the scene as a talking point after the movie. Moore suggests saying something like, “Damn, that sex scene was kind of hot, huh?” and see if that turns into playful banter.

Make them jealous. Although Penelope wasn’t purposefully making Colin jealous, Colin didn’t realize his feelings for Penelope until she formed a relationship with someone else. This is why “sometimes the best way to get out of the friend zone with someone is to flirt with someone else in front of them,” Moore suggests. “It might help them realize that they do like you.” That said, it could have the opposite effect as well: your friend could respond by encouraging you to pursue the relationship, which is a pretty good sign they only see you as a friend.

Compliment them more. “A key to getting out of the friend zone is trying to gauge if your crush has any interest in you before making a move, and giving a suggestive compliment is a great way to do that,” Moore says. If they smile or blush after receiving the compliment, it could indicate that they have romantic feelings for you. If they laugh or brush off the compliment, it could mean they only see you as a friend. When Penelope told Colin, “Your eyes are the most remarkable shade of blue, yet, somehow, they shine even brighter when you are kind,” he was seriously taken aback and saw that Penelope saw him on a deeper level than his other suitors.

Show up as your most confident self. “One of the best ways to get out of the friend zone is to demonstrate what a catch you are to your friend,” Moore says. This begins by being your most authentic self around them. “When you’re looking and feeling your best around your crush, they are more likely to notice that confidence and feel attracted to you.” Of course, no need to change who you are or completely upgrade your look — if they don’t like you as you are, you’ll find someone else who does — but it never hurts to let your confidence shine.

Be upfront. Unfortunately, the only way to truly get out of the friend zone is by sharing your true feelings to your crush. “Being straightforward may feel scary, but it’s the easiest way to get a clear answer on whether your crush is willing to move you out of the friend zone,” Moore says. According to her, you can say something like “I know we’re great friends and I’m grateful for that, but I’m curious, would you ever consider me as more than a friend? Or, is friend the only way you see me?”

Of course, the goal is to end up like Colin and Penelope, but sometimes people don’t have the same feelings for you as you do for them, and that’s OK. When pursuing a friend more romantically, know that a risk is that it may impact your friendship. “You have to be aware that [your friendship] may never go back to exactly how it was before,” Moore says.

If it works out for you, that’s great. But if it doesn’t, know that you are still worthy of love. Moore adds, “Remind yourself that you deserve reciprocal romantic interest from someone, and if it’s not from your friend, it will come from someone even better.”

Taylor Andrews is a Balance editor at PS who specializes in topics relating to sex, relationships, dating, sexual health, mental health, and more. In her six years working in editorial, she’s written about how semen is digested, why sex aftercare is the move, and how the overturn of Roe killed situationships.


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