How to Avoid The Friend Zone

Beware the friend zone. Avoid it all costs. Learning how to avoid the friend zone can save you a lot of heartache because once you become friend zoned it is nearly impossible to escape. In a minute I’m going to share a friend-zone related excerpt from my new adult fiction novel, Redheads and Bedspreads; book 2 in the Hang-Ups and Hangovers series. But first let’s discuss some friend zone signs.

Friend Zone Signs

If you want to avoid the friend zone you have to recognize the friend zone signs when they present themselves. I won’t put on airs, getting friend zoned is a sore subject for me because in my early 20’s I felt stuck there so often. I would have girls:

  • Venting about boys to me
  • Asking for favors frequently
  • Reaching out to me with damsel in distress scenarios if I went too long without talking to them

This is how fucked my mindset was:

  • Her venting about boys is good because now I know to do the opposite to win her over.
  • She asks me to help her with her resume, help her move, fix her computer because she thinks I’m super smart and trusts me.
  • She calls me when she’s in trouble because I’m special.

Wrong on all counts. Wrong, wrong, wrong, WRONG. It took a lot of different cases of this for me to catch on to the friend zone signs. These types of behaviors were ubiquitous with getting friend zoned, which happened to me more frequently than I’d like to admit. I learned from my mistakes, and these experiences allow me to pass my knowledge on through Redheads and Bedspreads.

How to Avoid Friend zone new adult Redheads and Bedspreads

“I mean, I wouldn’t fuckin’ text him so much if he would just fuckin’ reply,” Stacey was on a fuckboy philippic. “I’m not smothering anyone. I’m not a smotherer. People smother me. He just makes me so fucking crazy. And that’s the thing, he makes me crazy. I’m not crazy! We make plans, and then I text him to follow up, and he doesn’t respond, so I don’t know if we are still on or not, and he won’t even respond, like, for hours. And I know he has his phone on him! So he makes me have to text him one hundred times to get a single response and it makes me look crazy but it’s really his fault.”

My burrito situation was becoming more precarious with each bite. Every time I took a bite, I was devouring the foundation that kept the contents together. Every chomp opened the wound wider and jalapenos, salsa, rice, beans, chicken, all poured out and bounced around the wax paper lining of my red tray.

“You know what I mean?” Stacey inquired. “I shouldn’t be bothering you with this shit. I know you don’t care. You probably think I’m crazy now, too. God, why am I such a fuckin’ loser?”

“Hey,” I said. “Cut that shit out.”

“Ughhh,” Stacey grunted. “You’re a really great friend for putting up with all my shit.”


Her words hit me like a train I had watched approach for the last week. You’re a really great friend. It was my fault. I could’ve stepped out of the way of the locomotive. Evan had warned me, but I stood in the center of the tracks. Naively I had thought, “That train could never hit me. No way.” But here it was. All forty tons at sixty-plus miles an hour, tearing through and trampling over me. You’re a really great friend.

You’re a really great friend. What had I let myself become? I was an animal in the friend-zone pen. I went from raw-dogging this little redhead, sucked off, and fucking more, to her really great friend? She was venting about boys to me. I had heard it but it hadn’t truly registered. Like I was waiting for it to pass. My chest hurt.

Make no mistake about it, the friend zone is not a friendly place. If you don’t pay attention, you could wind up there, blindsided and steamrolled like David McCleary, the poor narrator in the book excerpt.

See What David Does Next

How to Avoid the Friend Zone

Learning how to avoid the friend zone is probably the simplest thing you can do. It really comes down to the size of the cherries dangling between your thighs.

Polarize Her

To avoid the friend zone you have to do one thing – polarize her.

What in the hell does that mean? Polarize?

You ever heard the expression – “the opposite of love is indifference?” Hate is not the opposite of love, and is better than indifference.

I’m sure you have an asshole friend that everyone hates but for some reason he can’t stop getting laid all the damn time. And it drives you nuts. Right up the damn wall.

You do all the right things. You helped her set up her wi-fi. You were the one who bolstered her self-esteem, gave her a shoulder to whine upon, and taught her something new everyday. So why do the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end when your buddy, Dickhead Derrick, is in the same room as her? It’s because he’s polarizing.

Dickhead Derrick may be a total douche, but he makes her feel feelings. That’s what I mean by polarize her. She’s gotta either love you or hate you, often it can be both, and often that’s the best.

Think of attraction as a stop light. You want to force the signal to decide between red and green. If you let it make up its own mind, it will lock down in yellow. Which is slow-burning, soul-sucking despair. Indifference. The friend zone. The longer a light sits in yellow, the harder it is to switch it.

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Make Your Move Early

If you want to avoid the friend zone, show your intentions early. This doesn’t have to be an overt or extreme showing, it can be subtle. If you’ve read Redheads and Bedspreads, you know our hero David McCleary goes with a just-above-innocuous touch, which almost always manifests in him touching her knee.

Stroke her knee with your finger. Or rest your hand on it after a joke. This tactic is powerful. It conveys confidence, ambiguously shows intent, and helps you gauge her comfort level with you. If you stroke her knee and she holds eye contact, she’s loving it, or at least amenable to it. If she shrieks in terror when you touch her, maybe she’s not into it.

how to avoid the friend zone stoplight

Not how to get things done

On that note – these are ways to avoid the friend zone, NOT guaranteed methods to get the girl. That doesn’t exist. You can’t get every girl by using secret tactics. These are ways to save yourself time and bolster your odds. Touch is just a catalyst for polarization.

Actions cut so much of the bullshit out and accomplish way more than words in a shorter time. Touch her and be cool and confident when you do it. If you are timid with your touch, the creepy-factor will rocket through the roof. There is no worse fate for a guy than being labeled “creepy.”

Touching the knee is just a tad above neutral, and I like it because of that. It says, “I like you, but I’m not so stupid as to reach for your crotch, ass, boobs, or tummy.” Some people say elbow, but the elbow to me is just weak. Also, playful arm slapping is for girls. Not guys. Don’t do that shit.

How Do I Get Out of The Friend Zone?

If you are feeling a little uncomfortable and relating to David McCleary’s friend zoning, then you might be in trouble. What is the next step if you’ve been friend zoned? Just get the fuck away from that chick. Like seriously. You’ll be a lot happier. Chances are she knows you don’t want to be “just friends” and by staying “just friends,” you are in toxic situation and making yourself miserable.

Even if she is a well-meaning girl who tries not to take advantage of you, you’re going to want to be taken advantage of and it will only make things worse. The friend zone is pure toxicity. Once the dynamic between the two of you is set, you can try to man up and get out, but people don’t like it when other people change. They want you to fit their expectations of you. That goes for all people, not just friend-zoning chicks.

This is not a how to get out of the friend zone article. This is how to avoid the friend zone. If you see a headline about how to escape the friend zone, just scroll on, brother. You have a better shot at climbing out of the pit-prison in The Dark Knight Rises.

escape friend zone batman

You must be fearless like the Dark Knight.

Getting out of the friend zone is next to impossible and if you were pimp enough to pull it off, you wouldn’t be googling it. Just for giggles, I’ll tell you the easiest way to get out (hint, it’s not very easy).

Jump on a plane, go live in a foreign country for a couple months/years, become a changed and cultured man who is nothing like the man who left (preferably with a fatter wallet). Then let her stumble upon your new awesomeness through serendipity (i.e. peep your new exotic girlfriend and Mercedes on facebook). Now she will look at you differently.

It’s not that she’s shallow, it’s just next to impossible to get someone to change how they view you without some extreme transformation. Just think about how lasting and damaging a bad first impressions is. At this point if you are truly transformed, you won’t even care about her or her friend-zoning games anymore. Basically, fuck escaping the friend zone. Throw that idea right out of the window.


Drill this into your head: you want a green OR red light. If you start to feel like you have lingered in yellow too long, take a step forward and see if you get a red or green light. Don’t be afraid to get a red light. Let’s say you touch her knee and she flinches or moves her body away from you. Don’t panic. It’s a red light, not a death sentence. Maybe she’s just not ready for that step. Pull back, and try a less aggressive move.

If you get multiple red-lights in a row, it’s probably not going to happen. And that’s cool. Now you know. But you made your intent known and you aren’t at risk of being trapped in yellow friend-zone status forever.

Keep polarization in the back of your mind at all times. Use it as a guide. I don’t take it to dogma level and neither should you. Everybody is different.

I’d like to know your thoughts on the friend zone!

P.S. If you’re interested in more on this, there are plenty of examples of how to avoid the friend zone in my books…

I Want to Read Redheads and Bedspreads

About the Author Kyle Milligan

I'm Kyle Milligan, I write New Adult Books that don't suck. i.e. The Hang-Ups and Hangovers series. I like to write about the challenges of being a single twenty-something in today's hookup culture. My blog offers Dating Advice For Men.

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