I Think I’m in the Friend Zone. How Do I Meet Girls?

Dr. Wendy Walsh

Written by: Dr. Wendy Walsh

Dr. Wendy Walsh

Known as America's Relationship Expert, Dr. Wendy Walsh is an award-winning television journalist, radio host & podcaster, and the author of three books on relationships and thousands of print and digital articles. More than 1.5 million people follow her sage advice on social media. She holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and teaches in the Psychology Department at California State University Channel Islands and has been the host of "The Dr. Wendy Walsh Show" on iHeart Radio's KFI AM 640 since 2015. Walsh is also a former Emmy-nominated co-host of "The Doctors," as well as former host of the nationally syndicated show "EXTRA." She was named a Time Magazine Person of the Year in 2017 after speaking out about harassment at a major news network.

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Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro brings more than 30 years of journalism experience to ensure DatingAdvice articles have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. She has worked at The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, The Gwinnett Daily News, and The Gainesville Sun covering lifestyle topics.

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Reader Question:

I am a single man age 36. I haven’t been in a relationship in about five years. I somehow always end up in the friend zone. I have strong morals and am not really big on sleeping around. I reconnected with a gal I went to prom with my senior year in high school. I never put pressure on her and am not clingy and give her space. I think I am in the friend zone but am not sure. She said she isn’t into anyone right now but she wants to go to dinner with me.

Any advice? How do I meet girls and not get into the friend zone?

-Rob (Washington)

Dr. Wendy Walsh’s Answer:

There’s a misconception about the friend zone. It’s thought to be a place where women put men whom they are not sexually attracted to. But, in fact, it’s a place where men squarely land by their own doing.

The trip into friend zone usually goes like this: Man meets woman. Man likes woman. Man is afraid he might scare her off if he proceeds too fast.

He may also believe if she spends enough time with him, she’ll see his nice guy qualities and become really attracted. So he lays low. Plays the cool hand. Doesn’t make a move. He’s waiting for his moment.

But what is his moment? Maybe he will get a signal from her if he waits long enough. Yet, before he knows it, he has found himself sitting in the cold, touch-less friend zone.

And the real reason this happens is men think there are only two zones, the friend zone and the free-zone-panty-party.

In fact, my dear Rob, there are many, many zones in between.

There’s the flirty-arm-touch zone, the sometimes-hand-hold-zone, the arms-around-the-shoulders-when-it’s-cold zone, and, my favorite, the warm-clutch-hug-good-night zone.

All these nonsexual touches are stepping stones to sexual intimacy. And when done all along the way, you get information back about whether it’s safe to proceed to the next zone.

Yes, you will risk rejection at any stage of the game. But wouldn’t you rather know where you stand than to find yourself standing in a no-definition relationship sipping confusion with each shared latte?

I say, make a move, man! Then you’ll know. You might lose a friend. Or you might gain a girlfriend. Either way, you’ll eject yourself from the friend zone.

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