The four steps to pulling off an escape act Houdini would be proud of . . .
Identify the problem
The first step in the Alcoholics Anonymous program is admitting you have a problem — and that’s the first step for curing your friend zone addiction, too. Maybe you haven’t made your intentions clear and she doesn’t know you’re interested? Perhaps she’s seeing someone else? There might be a deal breaker standing in the way? And this might be difficult to believe, but maybe she’s just not that into you? You need to put your finger on the problem before you draw up a plan of attack. Are you prepared to fix those deal breakers so she sees you in a difference light and re-considers you as an option? If she’s dating someone else, is she worth hanging around for? If she’s not into you, have some pride and walk away — but if it’s a case of you not communicating your interest . . .
If the problem is her not knowing how you feel, it’s time to step up your game — hold her eye contact for that extra half a second, touch her arm during conversation to establish physical intimacy, toss up hypotheticals that get her mind wondering (“What’s your dream first date?”, perhaps followed by the no less subtle, “Want to make it happen?”). Women are more cluey than men so toss her a few flirty curve balls to see if she gives you a warm reaction — the idea is to gradually build attraction rather than rely on the desperate Hail Mary confession of feelings, which is more likely to scare her off than improve her perception of you as a potential partner.
Give her some space
It’s human nature to want what you can’t have, so make yourself less available — don’t be cold or rude, just give yourself enough distance so she has to start doing some of the chasing. Stepping away creates that air of intrigue that arouses her curiosity, and forces her to consider what her life would be like without you in it. You can also build that alluring sense of mystery by changing something about yourself that forces her to rethink her perception of you, from something as small as a new haircut to a more major leap you’ve been meaning to make to break yourself out of a rut. Even if this doesn’t help you escape from this particular friend zone, self improvement makes you a much better catch for the next woman that comes along.
Get over her
Obsessively scrolling through her Instagram photos from 2013 at 1am in the morning isn’t doing your state of mind any good, and nor is whinging to friends about the friend zone you’re stuck in — have a bit of self respect and move on. If you’re doing all the heavy lifting of a boyfriend — the compliments, the shoulder to lean on, the polite tolerance of chatter about hair extensions and the Kardashians — without any of the benefits, it’s time to grow a spine. And never beg — when was the last time you heard a couple explaining how they met and the woman explains, “You know what? It was that grovelling text message pleading that I just give him one date that really won me over.” Confidence is attractive, so if she’s still not into you, back yourself to find someone who shares your belief in how awesome you are.