Ah, the dreaded “friend-zone.” What was once an undefined, but common occurrence in people’s lives has recently been officially defined by none other than the Oxford English Dictionary:
“A situation in which a friendship exists between two people, one of which has an unreciprocated romantic or sexual interest in the other.”
We’ve all been there in one form or another and it is never easy. However, in the case when the person friend-zoning you is your ex, the pain and humiliation of making a move that ultimately gets rejected is even worse. After all, at one point you weren’t in the friend-zone with this person, so sometimes it’s hard to tell.
That is why it is so important to remain attentive in your interactions with your ex to evaluate your chances of getting back together … before you ruin the new friendship that was likely quite difficult to start. Besides, it always helps to know where you stand. Here are some telltale signs that you’ve been friend-zoned by your ex.
1. She Never Dresses Up When You Get Together
Depending on the length and familiarity of your relationship, this may not be something you notice at first. After all, couples often grow accustomed to each other’s more relaxed appearances. But you’re not a couple anymore — when you want to impress someone, you make an effort. If you don’t ever see your ex doing that, whether it be wearing makeup or a cute new dress or even adding an extra dab of perfume or cologne, you can bet you have been friend-zoned.
2. He Always Has Others Tag Along
If there are always other people around when you two hang out, chances are your ex is trying to avoid being alone with you, and thus placed you into the friend zone. Whether he is worried he will “relapse” and hook up with you for old time sake or is sincerely trying to integrate you into his life as a regular one of the “guys,” anyone interested in more than friendship will crave one-on-one time, not avoid it.
3. You Never Touch
Casual physical touch is one of the cornerstones of flirting. It’s a subtle invitation, a way to “test the waters” or so to speak and invite more, deeper intimacy.
Pay close attention to your ex’s body language when the two of you are together. Does she lean into you during conversation? Does he find a way to casually touch your shoulder or offer you his hand? These are signs of attraction and interest.
On the flip side, if an ex actively avoids getting too close too quickly and breaks any contact you do have, such as a hug hello, he/she is trying to tell you to back off.
4. Her Actions Are Largely The Same, Even After Drinks
It’s no secret that alcohol lowers people’s inhibitions and opens them up. However, no amount of booze will create feelings. If you two go out drinking together and your ex still keeps her distance, you can bet that her feelings of friendship are all you are going to get.
5. He Talks About Other People He Is Seeing
The last, and most surefire way to tell if your ex has cast you into the friend zone is when he talks to you about other/new romantic interests. While in strict friendships this is a bad sign, among exes it’s even worse because talking to you about new love interests means that he’s moved onto the point where he feels comfortable talking about relationships at all around you.
How to Avoid the Friend Zone
Once you’ve been friend-zoned by your ex – or anyone for that matter – it’s hard to get out of it. If you want to get back together with an ex, it is important to play your cards right from the start in order to avoid getting friend-zoned again.
While initiating contact and getting your ex to respond to you is step one in my Ex Factor Guide’s “Rebuilding Attraction” phase, in trying to get him or her back, looking out for these signs can help gauge your ex’s level of interest so you can act accordingly.
Keep in mind that you cannot present yourself as a friend with hopes of “winning” your ex back.