4 Friend Zone Cheat Codes (According to the Internet)
So there's someone special in your life, and drat it all to hell, you are not someone special in their life. You are, in fact, a pretty mediocre type of someone, a flat grayish ordinary kind of blur in their life who is around and is inoffensive and that's about it. You are, as the great thinkers of our age have dubbed it, in the "friend zone," and would like nothing more than to get out of this horrible zone and have that special someone love you and sit on you.
You'll note that I'm keeping this advice gender-neutral, because despite how creepily male-oriented the available literature is, love can go unrequited in both directions. So whether your object of desire is a boy, girl, or cleverly modified stuffed animal, I hope you'll find some wisdom here that you might not find elsewhere. Because there's a lot of bad advice out there. Indeed, there's a cottage industry of men with one too many shirt buttons undone full of tips on how to traverse from this dreaded Friend Zone into the Heavy Petting District.
None of which works a goddamn, resulting in no one sitting on you at all.
Almost all of this advice relies on the premise that this friend of yours is just waiting for the right combination of words to activate them, like some kind of passive lust receptacle. The whole idea of "escaping the friend zone" denies these people their own sense of agency; nowhere is it ever considered that, if someone's known you long enough to become your friend and they haven't sat on you yet, there might be a reason for it.
It's your flaws. Your flaws are the reason.
No, the way you want to get out of the friend zone (getting sat on) is basically impossible. But if you simply just want to get rid of your friends? Shit, that's easy! So with that in mind, below I've compiled some of the advice various oily experts have offered on how to escape the friend zone, explained why it won't work, and then offered an alternative technique that will allow you to more rapidly escape the friend zone in the other direction.
To Enemy Land, via the Creepy Weirdo Provinces.
The Experts Say: Improve Yourself
Sexual attraction is somewhat cruel in how much it focuses on physical appearance while ignoring your many other qualities, like how good of a coder you might be or how organized your teddy bear collection is. But it's a fact of life, and one of the most common pieces of advice for navigating a friend zone is to simply make yourself better looking. By disguising yourself as a more attractive person ...
... you might be able to make your friend reconsider you as a sexual being.
How It Works in Reality:
There is an element of truth to this. Physical appearance matters, and there's a very good chance that when you first met your special friend, he or she just wasn't that physically attracted to you. Making yourself more attractive won't hurt, but you have to remember: first impressions count, and you made yours long ago. A cool haircut or shiny new shirt is likely to at most get you a compliment on your new haircut or shirt shininess before your friend gets on with their day's agenda.
Better Idea: Worsen Yourself
An even faster way out of the friend zone is to file the edges of whatever qualities made this person like you in the first place. Start dressing like someone who always gets a seat to himself on the bus. Go to the gym, but not to work out. Go there to eat in the smallest clothes you own.
"Could use a spotter here!"
Then get yourself a bottle of AXE body spray. Apply it. All of it. Ideally, you want the AXE to visibly emanate off of you in little wavy lines.
If you're not causing building evacuations and mysterious waves of bird deaths, you didn't apply enough.
Don't worry, this advice works for girls, too (in that it will endanger the life of anyone you walk near, male or female). Did that work? Or do you still have a useless, pointless friend, stubbornly willing to stand by you in your darkest, reekiest moment? In that case, maybe you should try ...
Related: So You Want to Take an Improv Class?
The Experts Say: Play Hard to Get
Another thing that makes us look attractive is how other people treat us. If you perceive that someone is cool, popular, and attractive to others, you are almost certainly going to find them more attractive yourself. The idea behind this tip, then, is that by flirting with other people (successfully), you'll make yourself look more attractive. This is theorized to also make your friend feel competitive; if they believe you're spending every waking moment imagining someone else covered in rose petals, they might suddenly develop the urge to buy some rose petals themselves.
How It Works in Reality:
This is surprisingly the most useful technique here, but not in the way you intended. Again, you're really unlikely to offset that first impression you've made, and seeing you romantically pursue someone else will make most friends happy for you.
Rather than pants-happy for you.
No, the reason this advice is so useful is that, if it works, you'll have met someone else who doesn't know you well enough to avoid you yet.
But that still leaves you with a pointless non-sexual friend, doesn't it? How to get rid of them?
Better Idea: Borrow Tons of Money from Them
Money is a classic way to end friendships. By borrowing ever increasing amounts from that special someone in your life, you'll create an awkward, uncomfortable rift between the two of you that can never be healed. Ultimately, your goal here is not to play hard to get so much as hard to get hold of.
They may actually be counting on this, too.
The Experts Say: Use Verbal Cues to Imply They're the Ones Seducing You
This technique works by you saying several small, clever things that plant the idea that your friend is the one who likes you, and you simply thought you were just friends, but now they're starting to win you over. And by doing this, and just wanting it to work so bad, it will somehow actually work. It's basically the Jedi mind trick of pick-up artists and has at the very minimum given me a lot of great ideas for my next piece of Star Wars fan fiction.
How many Stormtroopers woke up in Obi-Wan's cave with no clear memory of how they got there? Check next week's column to find out.
How It Works in Reality:
As someone who's pretty sure that thousands of people secretly want to sleep with me, I find this pretty far-fetched. The idea that I could be tricked into liking someone by something so flimsy is actually kind of insulting.
Still, no one's dumb enough to fall for this, and if you actually try it, you're several times more likely to just annoy your friend than seduce them.
Better Idea: Repeat Everything They Say in a Sing-Songy Voice
This is probably the single fastest way out of the friend zone I can conceive of. Seriously, if you can keep this up for five minutes at a time (it's harder than it sounds), you'll be short a friend, or even stabbed to death, before you know it!
(shrilly) "You're a fucking infant!"
"I'm calling the police!"
(shrilly) "I'm calling the police!"
The Experts Say: Stop Being So Nice
The dating advice world is practically drowning in advice for "nice guys." These are dudes who self-identify as "nice" (and not much else) and conclude that their lack of romantic success is related to their niceness (and not the fact that they're not much else).
"If only I was a boring asshole instead."
Endless variations of "be less nice" appear in these friend zone extrication guides. Depending on how utterly seedy the advice guide you're reading is, this can even include the utterly awful practice called "negging" in which you direct petty insults and slights at your ... you know, let's just put "friend" in quotation marks now, OK? By doing this, you'll make this poor person feel worse about themselves, which makes you look better by comparison, which will help you slide your way into their bed on a slick of your own oiliness.
How It Works in Reality:
Fuck you, that's how well it works. Making every interaction into a bizarre AXE-scented minefield of insults and verbal traps is a terrible way to make someone like you. You don't deserve happiness, you awful abomination.
"Did those pants shrink?"
Better Idea: Set Yourself on Fire
This trick needs a bit of prep work. First, casually ask your special friend if he/she would like to go on a "non-date" to one of your favorite sources of sparks or open flames.
"You mean you've never been to the foundry? We simply must go!"
There, because you'd previously applied an entire can of body spray to your horrible self, you'll quickly combust and melt like a Nazi.
Congratulations on finally escaping the friend zone. I wish you the best of luck in your future non-life, trying to trick other ghosts into "like" liking you.