Home  >  Reads for Men  >  How To...

30 Must-Knows to Friendzone a Girl Like a Gentleman & Not Break Her Heart

The friend zone sucks, we all know that. But if your friend’s feelings are more than platonic, here’s how to friendzone a girl without making it too hard.

how to friendzone a girl

So, your female friend, brimming with courage, finally confesses her feelings to you. It’s a moment of vulnerability, a giant leap of faith. But here’s the twist—you don’t feel the same way. Suddenly, you’re faced with the delicate task of figuring out how to friendzone a girl. What do you do when you’re the one holding the heart that might need gentle handling?

This situation, as uncomfortable as it may be, is not uncommon. It’s one thing to be friendzoned, it’s entirely another to be the one doing the friendzoning. This delicate scenario calls for a blend of honesty, sensitivity, and respect.

[Read: 40 secret signs a friend likes you romantically even if they’re hiding it]

How it Feels to be Friendzoned

So, your friend has confessed their feelings to you, or she’s never said anything but you just know that her feelings are growing deeper for you, but you don’t want to take the friendship any further—you have to friendzone her.

But if you’ve never been in her position, you might have no idea how it feels. Is it really as bad as people make it out to be? Are you going to accidentally break her heart?

Imagine this: someone’s brain has been playing a happy romantic tune based on their expectations and feelings. They see your signs of friendship and, because of their emotional bias, see these as romantic signals.

When you finally tell them the truth about how you feel, that radio station they’ve been tuned into is going to cut to static.

Psychologists call this cognitive dissonance—when reality doesn’t match up with our expectations. Getting friend-zoned is like hitting a mental discord, where the brain scrambles to reconcile the difference between hope and reality.

Getting put in the friend zone can stir up a blend of emotions—from the disappointment that comes from unmet expectations, a slice of embarrassment, and a truckload of confusion.

Understanding this can change your approach when you go about friendzoning your female friend. There are gentle ways to go about it, but no matter how nice your approach is you’re still going to upset her.

But by articulating your feelings with understanding and empathy, you’re helping them—and yourself—navigate the emotional waters with less turbulence. [Read: 31 nice ways to let someone down easy and reject them in person or text]

How to Friendzone a Girl

To put it bluntly, there is no easy way to do this. She’s going to be hurt, and you’re going to *hopefully* feel bad for hurting her.

But as hard as the friend zone is, it’s way worse to grow romantic feelings for someone all the while being blissfully unaware that they’ll never feel the same, so you have to do this now.

Here are some things you should keep in mind to let her down gently and treat her like a gentleman:

1. Make sure you want to do this

Don’t just friendzone her because you don’t know what else to do. Think long and hard about your feelings for this girl, because once you put somebody in the friendzone, it might be too late. She could move on before you recognize your feelings for her, or she could find it hard to forgive you for rejecting her.

A tad dramatic, but this situation calls for it, don’t you think? Before you let her down, ask yourself… is there a chance you like her too? [Read: Are you more than friends? 17 signs you’ve gone from talking to dating]

2. Evaluate your relationship

Give this a real thought if you’re trying to figure out how to friendzone a girl. Have you been best friends since you were six, or did you just meet at a party a few weeks ago?

The level of depth to your current relationship determines just how gentle you need to be when you friendzone this girl.

If she has been your best friend for years, tackle this carefully, because you don’t want to damage your prior relationship. [Read: Should you date your best friend? 47 pros, cons, and signs to make sparks]

3. Consider her bravery

Something many people fail to recognize when friendzoning people is that it might have taken a lot of courage to tell you how they feel.

If you’ve seriously been best friends your entire life, this is HUGE. She didn’t just decide yesterday that she has feelings for you. She’s been feeling this way for a long time. Imagine the courage it took to express her feelings! Again, be delicate.

4. Don’t shy away from the conversation

If somebody tells you that they are into you, and you immediately shut the conversation down because it makes you uncomfortable, this isn’t good. You need to hear them out.

Let them tell you how they feel because if you don’t listen, you make it up in your head. And your made-up scenario might be different than the reality of the situation. Maybe they are interested in you but don’t want a relationship—no need to friendzone here. [Read: 21 truths to tell a girl you don’t like her like a gentleman]

5. Give her privacy

Don’t bring it up around your friends, because this situation is just as embarrassing without you being a giant you-know-what.

Once the conversation is over, you really don’t need to bring it back up. Let it go, man, and respect her privacy.

6. Be patient with her

Romantic feelings are confusing and stressful at the best of times. Romantic feelings within a platonic friendship? Her head has likely been thrown through a loop, and while yours might have been as well when she confessed to you, remember that it’s been 10x harder for her.

If she needs time to properly tell you how she feels, wait for her to organize her thoughts. And if she wants to put some space between you two, respect her wishes. [Read: How to know when to give someone space]

7. Don’t say you love her like a sister

If you want to know how to friendzone a girl right, please don’t use this cringe-worthy line. It’s just awful. While it sounds lovely and sweet, it really feels like a punch in the gut to hear. [Read: 23 signs your friend has a crush on you]

8. Also, don’t say you don’t want to ruin the friendship

This one seems to be another favorite with friendzoners that does more emotional damage than healing. What the heck do you plan on doing in this romantic relationship that is so bad that it would ruin your prior friendship?!

If you behave like civil people, your friendship will survive anything. Sure, things might be a little strange at first, but if you were good friends once, you’ll be friends again. This is just a poor excuse.

9. Don’t keep doors open

When you’re friendzoning a girl, you have to be final in your words. You can’t say things like, “the timing isn’t right” or “I’m just not in the right headspace for a relationship right now,” because guess what? You’ll only give her hope that one day you’ll change your mind.

If you know that won’t happen, tell her “I actually don’t share those feelings for you.” Be open and honest. [Read: 21 ways to friendzone someone without hurting them or leading them on]

10. Ask her to hangout again

After you’ve friend-zoned her, don’t just say “we can still be friends,” and never hit her up again. A day or two after you friendzone her, text her and ask her to hang out.

Make her see you are still comfortable with her, and that you value your friendship more than this sticky situation.

11. Be considerate

How would you want to be treated if a girl you were interested in friendzoned you? Treat her the way you want to be treated, and nothing less. [Read: Platonic relationship – what it is and 42 friendship rules to avoid sexual drama]

12. Acknowledge the situation’s awkwardness

It’s okay to acknowledge that the situation is awkward. In fact, a study in social psychology suggests that acknowledging awkwardness can reduce tension.

This can break the ice for her, letting her defense come down while still being honest. If you two can laugh about the situation, it’ll remind her why you too are such good friends in the first place.

13. Offer genuine appreciation for the relationship

When friend-zoning a girl, express genuine appreciation for the existing friendship. Tell her specific qualities you value in her and your friendship.

This approach, rooted in positive psychology, reinforces her self-esteem and the value of your friendship, apart from romantic feelings. It lets her down without hurting her ego or your friendship. [Read: How to let a girl down gently and avoid her tears]

14. Avoid immediate reassurances

When your friend is crying in front of you, it can be hard to fight the urge to reassure her that everything is fine. But right now, she needs to work through her emotions and tell you how she feels.

Psychological studies show that immediate reassurances can sometimes minimize the other person’s feelings, making them feel unheard or invalidated.

15. Be mindful of your behavior post-conversation

Pay attention to your behavior in the weeks following the conversation and avoid actions that could be misconstrued as romantic interest.

If your friendship usually involves the two of you flirting “as a joke” or doing other similar things, cool off on those for a while otherwise you’ll have her head spinning with confusion.

Things to Avoid When Friendzoning a Girl

Having to friendzone a girl is already a challenging task. Don’t make it even harder by falling into these common pitfalls that can complicate the situation further:

1. Ghosting

Suddenly cutting off all communication, or ghosting, can leave the other person feeling confused, disrespected, and hurt. It’s a form of emotional avoidance that can exacerbate anxiety and damage self-esteem.

It might feel weird to talk to her after the awkward friendzone conversation, but that tension will go away if you’re brave enough to power through it. [Read: How to apologize for ghosting a friend, make up with them, and fix the friendship]

2. Being overly apologetic

While it’s important to be empathetic, over-apologizing can make the situation worse. It can make the other person feel like they are a burden or a problem, which can be damaging to their self-worth.

Psychology suggests that excessive apologies can shift the focus from their feelings to managing yours, which isn’t helpful in this scenario.

3. Giving mixed signals

It’s awful, but oftentimes once we find out about someone’s interest in us, we play with their emotions, whether intentionally or not. [Read: Mixed signals – why people use them, 23 signs, types, and how to react to it]

When you are drunk and need an ego boost, don’t kiss her because you know she’ll kiss you back, and don’t put your arm around her because you know she won’t tell you to get off of her. Stick to what you said—you’re not interested in her.

4. Downplaying her feelings

Minimizing your friend’s feelings or the significance of her confession can be hurtful. It’s important to acknowledge her courage and the depth of her emotions.

If you pretend that her emotions for you aren’t that serious, you won’t make the problem go away—you’ll just damage her self-esteem and make her feel dismissed and unheard.

5. Rushing the conversation

Taking a hurried approach to the friend-zone conversation can seem insincere or dismissive. It’s important to give the conversation the time and seriousness it deserves. [Read: How to have a difficult conversation without losing your nerve]

6. Publicly discussing the situation

Discussing the details of how you friendzoned a girl with others, especially in public or within your social circle, can be embarrassing and disrespectful.

It can also lead to feelings of betrayal and damage trust. Discussing the details of her brave confession can tear apart the friendship that you had just promised to keep alive.

7. Making promises you can’t keep

Avoid making promises about the future of your relationship that you’re not sure you can keep. This can create false expectations and lead to disappointment.

If you know that she’s not someone you want to date, don’t feed into her hope that one day you could change your mind. Be decisive and firm about your choice.

8. Focusing only on your comfort

While it’s important to manage your own emotions, focusing solely on your comfort can come across as self-centered. Balance is key in considering both parties’ feelings.

Having a crush on your friend is hard, and on top of that, she’s now facing rejection. Be sympathetic to that and make sure you do what you can—within reason—to make her feel better. [Read: 23 secrets to set personal boundaries and guide others to respect them]

9. Using clichés as excuses

We’ve said it before, but it bears reminding. Avoid using clichés like “It’s not you, it’s me,” as they can feel insincere and dismissive. These phrases can trivialize the other person’s feelings and make the conversation feel impersonal.

You might feel like a genius for pulling in a piece of poetry to let her down lightly, but all you’re really doing is letting her fall to the floor with an eye roll.

10. Ignoring the aftermath

After the conversation, don’t ignore the changes in your friendship. Be attentive and respectful of the new dynamics. Ignoring the aftermath can lead to confusion and discomfort, and it’ll make it more likely for you to send off mixed signals.

If your friend seems to be struggling with the friendship after the rejection, suggest a friendship break. She might need time to move on from her feelings before you continue with the friendship, and that’s okay. [Read: 29 healing steps to get over someone you never dated but loved deeply]

After the Conversation

So, you’ve had the talk and now you’re navigating the ‘just friends’ territory. It’s a bit like learning a new dance step—a bit awkward at first, but you’ll get the hang of it.

Here are five handy tips to keep your friendship grooving smoothly post-conversation:

1. Check-in on boundaries

Think of boundaries like your friendship’s personal space—it’s good to have a clear idea of where it stands. Maybe hanging out less often or tweaking your usual hangouts could help.

It’s all about finding that comfy spot where both of you can chill without any pressure. [Read: 25 types, ways, and tips to set boundaries with friends without insulting them]

2. Keep the chat flowing

Awkward moments? Just talk them out. It keeps things fresh and clear and can make sure you’re both feeling cool about where things stand.

3. Space: The final frontier

If your friend needs some space, no sweat. It’s kind of like taking a little break after a marathon Netflix session. It doesn’t mean that your friendship is over—sometimes a breather helps everyone reset and come back refreshed.

4. Group hangs are gold

Jump into group activities. It’s like bringing friends to a party—more people, less awkward one-on-one, and a whole lot of fun.

Plus, it’s a great way to keep the friendship vibe going strong. [Read: Party themes for adults – 35 wacky, fun, and spunky ideas to get the party going]

5. Consistency is key

Keep your signals straight—like keeping your playlist consistent, so there’s no surprise heavy metal in your chill acoustic set.

Staying steady in how you act around her sends clear signals and keeps things simple and smooth. There’s no need for drunk smooches or late-night confessions that you find her attractive.

Friendzoning a Girl Isn’t the Easiest Thing to Do

We know that figuring out how to friendzone a girl isn’t the easiest thing to do. It takes a lot of courage to be honest about your feelings, especially when you’re trying to preserve a friendship.

It’s a delicate balance between being kind and being clear, and it’s commendable that you’re taking steps to handle it with care and respect.

Remember, the most important things are honesty, empathy, and respect. These are the cornerstones of any strong relationship, romantic or otherwise.

By being true to yourself and considerate of her feelings, you’re not just navigating a tricky situation, you’re also building the foundation for a healthy, lasting friendship.

[Read: How to reconnect with old friends and rebuild your lost friendships]

So, while the process of learning how to friendzone a girl might seem daunting, you’re taking a brave and respectful path by being honest about how you truly feel. That, in itself, is an admirable thing.

Liked what you just read? Follow us on Instagram Facebook Twitter Pinterest and we promise, we’ll be your lucky charm to a beautiful love life. And while you’re at it, check out MIRL, a cool new social networking app that connects experts and seekers!

Vinod Srinivas Serai
Vin Serai
Vin Serai is the founder of LovePanky.com, and has delved deep into the working of love and relationships for almost two decades. Having dipped his feet in almo...