We’ve all heard it before. “I’m not feeling a spark with you, but I’d love to be friends.” You’ve officially been put in the friend zone — and it almost never feels good. In fact, sometimes it feels disingenuous, like the other person doesn’t really want to be your friend but just wants to soften the blow.
Yet I often hear this desire from my clients. Maybe you feel the same — you truly do enjoy your date’s company and wish you could remainfriends.
There is a way to ask for friendship — genuinely. Here’s how:
First, end the relationship with integrity. Focus on creating an ending that honors the few dates you’ve had. Above all, show appreciation for the other person and the fact that they’ve let you into their world. (Here’s exactly how to end a relationship on a good note.)
Only if it’s mutual, mention friendship. If your match is having a hard time accepting the ending, it’s not the right time to suggest friendship. In fact, there may never be a right time. Not every person you date is destined to remain in your life. But if the person takes the conversation well and parting ways seems mutual, it’s OK to suggest friendship.
Don’t use the phrase “let’s be friends.” No one wants to feel friend-zoned. Instead, avoid the cliché with something like, “While I don’t feel anything romantic, I still think you’re really cool. If you want to hang out, I’d be up for it.” A term like "hang out" is a similar sentiment but not a cliché.
Leave the action up to them. If you notice in the example above, the relationship shift is ultimately the other person’s decision. While it’s your choice to offer friendship, it’s not your choice to create that type of relationship. Let them reach out again if they want to — don’t do it yourself.
Know that your rejection could lead to them rejecting you. Though you’re ending the relationship, you may end up rejected in your offer for friendship. So before you utter those words, make sure you’re truly OK being friends … or not.