How to: Move Out of the Friend Zone

By Briana Thomas
For Unwind magazine

Oftentimes, the most promising relationships start off as friendships. But for some, the transition out of the “friend zone” can be treacherous.

For a young couple like junior kinesiology major Andre Paper and sophomore geography major Julianna Lee, taking the step toward romance proved worth the risk – and was made a little easier with the more relaxed college party scene.

Even though the couple met in high school, they didn’t act on any feelings until college, they said. Then, 13 months ago on a drunken night, the two lovers shared their first intimate moment, they said, and their relationship stayed strong from then on.

For Lee, confidence is key to moving toward a romantic involvement.

“Starting off as friends is really important, but having the confidence to just make that one move and take it further, that’s really important,” Lee said. “It took us a while to do that because we were shy.”

Paper said he doesn’t regret risking their friendship to find out if the two held a romantic connection.

Other college sweethearts, such as junior animal care and management major Forrest Short and University of Mississippi student Karianne Morgan, used distance and space to break down their communication barriers.

“We just spent all of our time talking on the phone,” Short said. “We would text each other almost constantly and then we would have several hour-long conversations almost every night.”

Short and Morgan were good friends in high school and began dating after Morgan went away to school in Mississippi. Short said after their “summer fling,” when Morgan returned to Maryland for her first summer break, they realized they liked each other and chose to endure a long-distance relationship.

As a college student on a budget, Short saw his girlfriend about every five months. He said Morgan’s graduation from the University of Mississippi was the best moment of their partnership, because he knew she would be coming home to Maryland and wasn’t going to be far away from him anymore.

The 22-year-olds now live in the same state and are able to spend much more time together. Short said open communication and expressing how they feel at all times is what keeps their relationship strong.

However, not all best buds are successful in getting out of a platonic companionship.

Junior economics major Marvin Umana said he “hooked up” with one of his neighbors but the “real” relationship he pursued after confessing his admiration for her eventually ended because of jealousy.

After spending $500 on gifts for his now ex-friend, Umana said he is currently only looking for “great sex” and nothing past a friendship when it comes to meeting girls in the future.

“I like to meet different people,” Umana said. “I don’t really have a type.”

Moving out of the friend zone may have an unpredictable outcome, but with a bit of confidence and communication, admitting true feelings for a close friend could be the beginning of a great love story.

“If you just tell the person how you feel, then it gets it all out in the open,” Short said.

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