The Self-fulfilling Prophesy That Lands You in “Friend Zone”

stuck in the friend zoneThere’s this strange human tendency to experience competing drives. Procrastination is a good example of this. You want to get something done, yet you experience a competing drive to just relax or avoid the task. The result is that your energy is not fully engaged in either relaxing or getting it done.

People can actually wear themselves out through this process of competing drives that goes on all day while they accomplish nothing! Competing drives can make you feel stuck. Competing drives can prevent you from putting your full skills and talents to work.

I bet you’ve experienced the frustration of repeatedly being treated as nothing more than a friend by a man you are deeply attracted to. If this has happened to you frequently, you may be experiencing competing drives that actually create a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Allow me just a moment to make sure we’re on the same page about what a “self-fulfilling prophecy” actually is. It’s a situation where you believe something is likely to happen and end up causing the thing to happen because of your belief.

Some of you may have heard of the famous research study in which teachers were given false information about all of their students in their class regarding phony IQ tests that suggested some students had a lot of potential while others had very little potential. The teachers were given the information, but not the students. Each student was given some kind of classification that was purely random, not based on any measure of their intellectual aptitude.

You can probably guess what happened. As the researchers followed the students over many months, the students who had been predicted to do well began to excel academically. Teachers didn’t mean to do it, but their actions were unconsciously influenced by the fake data they had been exposed to. They began encouraging the “rising stars” non-verbally and in other subtle ways. The teacher’s belief in a student’s capacity caused him or her to create a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Now let’s get back to our discussion of competing drives. On the one hand, you have a drive to strut your stuff and attract the kind of attention you deserve from a man you have set your sights on. You have a desire mentally to take ownership of your attractiveness, to think of yourself as someone worthy of his attention. This sends a signal that causes him to evaluate you as a potential romantic partner.

On the other hand, you have a competing drive to preserve your self-esteem. This competing drive causes you to want to play it safe. It causes you automatically to steer your actions and the conversation toward friend-type interaction. This way, you preserve your self-esteem if he ends up seeing you as a friend rather than someone he wants to pursue romantically.

This second drive can create a self-fulfilling prophecy. Your self-esteem will naturally pull you up and down based on the circumstances of your life. However, you can have some areas of your life where your self-esteem is consistently low. If you have had a few negative experiences with being put in the friend zone, your self-esteem may cause you to shut down some of your ways of behaving sexy, alluring, and full of confidence.

If this sounds like it could be you, the solution is only a click away. Part of the training course I have developed enables women to bypass fear during the dating process. I teach the unique application of an ancient psychological technique.

stuck in the friend zoneIn a nutshell, I suggest you disarm your fears and competing drives by changing your focus to the present moment as you enter each dating experience or interaction with a guy you like. If you’d like to learn more about the details of how to pull that off, this is a good training course for you to consider. Just click here to get more information.

Even if you don’t invest in my program, get in the habit of identifying conflicting drives. Half the battle is realizing you are stuck, and failing to move in any direction because of competing drives. Once you have identified the competing drives it gives you a psychological boost that allows you to channel more of your willpower toward one drive or the other, breaking the stalemate and moving you in the direction of your conscious choice.

James Bauer


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39 thoughts on “The Self-fulfilling Prophesy That Lands You in “Friend Zone”

  1. Colleen said:

    My problem is more that men are attracted to me but will they love and care about me? It’s difficult for me to know what a man is thinking.

    • James Bauer said:

      Ugh. That is sooo true, Colleen. My advice is that you look at how he treats other people, like his mother, his younger brother, your male friend you introduced him too, etc. He has less to gain by being kind and loving toward these people. Ask to connect on facebook where you will get access to a lot of “evidence” one way or another on those sorts of things.

      • Clark said:

        True! if he has long term friends (for example 20 years) he is a better bet and better skills with relationships. If not then less likely. It’s not perfect but better than guessing.

      • Clark said:

        If he won’t talk about it then He is not emotionally mature enough don’t settle for less. how will he work at other issues later if he won’t talk about them with you now. Move on. He is not good enough for you.

      • We dentiifely need more smart people like you around.

      • Lena said:

        If this is fairy young person, 27 y.o. he would not have the relationships of 20 and more years long. Everything is so adjustable to the age, culture, educational or other aspects. This is just my 5 cents to the discussion.

      • Diana said:

        So, if a man is a very caring and loving son and he is having many long term friends which are his family too ( his own words),then it’s supposed that he will also be a good and caring partner?

      • James Bauer said:

        It’s one variable to consider. But as they say, “One Swallow doesn’t make a summer.”

  2. Andrea Edmondson said:

    Hi James I completely agree about living life in the moment and although every now and then we have to stop and consider our future for a little while, I think it is the best way of being. By digesting every second as it occurs,you can completely and totally engage with someone else ( even ur fave man) and I think when you truly listen and engage with someone, magic happens. IIf you communicate with someone whilst constantly thinking about the consequences, you then become distant and the person you are talking to thinks you are distracted somehow and not very interested which then builds up insecurities in them. By letting what has happened in the past influence the present and the future, you are potentially ruining great interactions. Let the past be the past and the present be the present and look forward to a fantastic future as every day is a brand new day with different attitudes and perspectives. James,your stuff is great by the way and has taught me a lot.
    Andi

    • James Bauer said:

      Well said, Andi. Thanks for contributing.

  3. This is a very good topic. I have met this guy on a dating site and saw him about 6-7 times in 3 months, and I totally screwed up by letting him know that I liked him and inviting him over to my place on date number 3. He told me he wanted to be friend before anything. Nothing happened for a bit while seeing each other a couple of times and exchanging emails quite intensively.A couple weeks ago He told me he wanted to be alone but still insist on seeing me to discuss some of my art projects and in participating in them with me. We are both in the art field and we really get along. I tried to never see him again – but I just can’t and he keeps calling me. I try to have him say that he wants to be friend only but he refuses to say it. I am about to go crazy in this friend zone, please help, can a guy be that slow?

    • James Bauer said:

      Hmmm…that’s an interesting situation, Marie. I would start by asking you to draw him into some kind of conversation that will allow you to learn about previous romantic encounters he has had as well as topics concerning his moral/religious beliefs. You may find something there that sheds light on the situation. If not, the next step would be to ask him to describe the value he sees in being your friend. That may also reveal needed information about what is driving his choices right now.

  4. Marie said:

    Thank you for your answer James…I wonder so much. I will try and let you know. I see him tomorrow… And this guy has told me at the beginning that he liked me, to stick with him, to wait for us, – in an odd email – and to not cut him off (I’v tried…)…And the odd thing is that so much for wanting to be alone, he is still on this dating site where we met – but who I am to judge because I am too, I refuse to close the door before i am in a commited relationship…I know for sure that he is not married – I know where he lives and we have friends in common.

  5. Colleen said:

    Hi James
    Wow this is pretty close to home in a situation that I’m in right now. I’m sitting in a bit of stalemate situation whereby we had some conflict a couple of weeks ago (we’re in a LDR). The conflict arose due to some of my own lack of emotional honesty with him, so he provoked the conflict to bait me. (Not mature I know, however he’s alone, and far away and I know he misses me). I know I have to contact him and mend a couple of fences and yet I’m procrastinating as I’m not sure to how to approach this without sounding too bitchy or too needy or too long winded. Your article could not have come at a better time. Any ideas?

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Colleen. I know it’s not easy in these types of situations, but it sounds like you both care for each other or else neither of you would be putting so much energy into resolving these underlying forms of emotional tension. I recommend you call him and start with a list of positives that you appreciate about him. Tell him all those positives are the reason the relationship is definitely worth fighting for, and that’s why you need to ask for his help in co-creating a plan for meeting each other’s needs a little better.

      • Kerra said:

        Hi James, I seem to also have this problem. We meet, he texes every day for months, we had a couple dates and still texes me, but claims he is to busy to meet up again. Then sorta disapears. How do you go from talking everyday to maybe once a week, and It always starts off great, and I wonder if I start to throw us in the friend zone cause of fear of rejection without even knowing it. Thanks Kerra

      • James Bauer said:

        Hi Kerra. Your question does seem to be hinting at something. You are succeeding at attracting initial attention, which is a good thing. But then desire seems to fade. It makes you wonder what’s going wrong on his side of the relationship.

        Maybe it’s time to focus on that question. The next time you have an opportunity, take on a new goal. The goal of learning as much as you can (as early as you can) about what he’s looking for. What does he want? What did he hope to find in a relationship? What would make him happy in life? How does a woman fit into his picture of happiness?

        Finding the answers to these kinds of questions can be valuable in a number of different ways. You may discover incompatibilities with some men. On the other hand, you may discover ways to enhance each other’s lives. Or you may discover little secrets that allow you to attract him deeper into your life in a more lasting way.

        James

    • Gloria said:

      Hi Colleen.. What does LDR mean? Sorry I’m kind of lame when it comes to abr,…hope all works out for u !!

      • Colleen said:

        Hi Gloria, it means long distance relationship…
        Thanks!

  6. Marie said:

    Hi James,
    So I tried to lead the conversation to his past relationship and learned that he had tried lately to get back with his ex girlfriend and it did not work…He is alone since 6 years…We have seen each other every 3 days lately because we work on a project together, and we text every night. He came to my appartment for the first time yesterday and will come back next evening…I so don’t want to mess things up or rush him. Thanks for listening.

  7. Cindy Walker said:

    For months this happened to me with a guy I really felt was attracted to me. We worked together and he invited me to lunch or dinner every time we worked the same shift. He then made a day date for us but due to being denied the request off we didn’t go on it. He took me to the 4th of July fireworks display,but we were never intimate. I no longer work there for the last 5 months and he has recently gotten into a relationship with a lady he met online that lives in N. Carolina. We still keep in touch however the tone has changed. I wish I had realized sooner what I was doing because you explained it perfectly as to what I was feeling! I chalked it up to the fact that he prefers thinner women, not that I’m a very large woman but his new GF is a thin lady and so was his ex wife. Guess I’m out of luck with him and that is sad because we really got along great and he even talked about his future and it would always have me in it one way or another ! 🙁 Sad day

  8. Jeannine said:

    Hi James, The man I had been seeing for 3 months suddenly disappeared.. I just found out today from a mutual friend that he didn’t feel we had any chemistry… He thought of me as a sister…. This is a guy that I have known for years and I have liked for years… there was definitely some sort of chemistry going on between us over the summer before we started seeing each other… which I’m sorry to say ended up with me flirting heavily with him and sleeping with him way to soon and I feel because Of this he lost respect for me and lost interest… Even though we continued too see each other he never took me out on dates and our quality time alone dwindled away.. I only saw him when he had his kids (Three teenagers) I chalked his time issues up to the fact that he has a lot on his plate.. He just started up his own business which is very demanding of his time, his girls played hockey several night a week, and several personnel issues… He went from texting every day to once at the end of the week.. When he would invite me to come over on sat night… When I did see him I always tried to live in the moment and truly enjoyed spending time with him and the kids and his friends that where always there. But in the back of my head I know I was consumed with doubt, and feeling unsure. There where little things that he did that made me go Hummm.. One being he always acted like he wanted to see me when he text me but when i got to the house he would never make the initiative to give me a kiss I always had to be the one to approach him… I got to the point where I wouldnt make the initiative either… I wanted him to chase me… but I guess that truly ended when I slept with him… My question is is there any hope for changing this around… I havent seen him in over eight weeks and in that time I only text him once to wish him a happy birthday.. I will have to see him all summer because we have boats at the same marina and there are always parties going on and we raft our boats out with several other boaters all summer long…. I really have strong feeling for this man and we have so much in common.. It really hurts that i changed the whole dynamics of our relationship by sleeping with him so soon instead of taking things slow and letting the relationship unfold naturally.. Before we got intimately involved we could talk to each other… real one on one communication disappeared after that.. Please Help….

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Jeannine. This could be a wonderful relationship on an emotional level if the two of you decided to commit to each other wholeheartedly. Unfortunately, it seems he puts a high priority on the physical attraction aspect of his relationships. You can be the most physically attractive person in the world, but if the pheromones don’t cause a biological attraction, you can end up with that feeling like someone is a sibling…even while being very aware of how attractive the person is.

      I generally advise people to pursue relationships where there is at least a moderate degree of “chemistry.” Even if you feel attracted to him in that way, if it doesn’t work the other way around you will probably end up feeling miserable in that relationship eventually. As a result, I suggest you pour your energy into other relationships.

      If you go on with your life without pursuing him, he will stop running, and he just might wander back into your life again. If he was less than truthful about his reasons for disappearing out of your romantic world, something might shift in favor of his decision to pursue you again.

  9. Wow, you are describing my relationship for 9 months. Over the past 2-3 months I mainly see him when he has his kids. He doesn’t take me around his parents or his work friends. However I do know and see his best friends. But the relationship has chilled with lack of affection. He calls me 2-3 times a day, but no effort like before to see me. He said we were dating so I was texting him a couple of times a day and I have stopped that and I’ve stopped making the plans, like dinner or lunch. I thought we were doing great. I don’t understand. So I am just going on with my life and friends but feel in limbo with him.

  10. carol jones said:

    l love your articles you give great advice how do I contact you

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Carol. I will have a team of coaches available to you within two or three weeks. They have learned my ideas and principles for relationships (but I am not currently taking new clients myself).

      James

  11. JLopez said:

    I have been friends with this guy for some time. We don’t go out too often, but when we do, it’s a great time. Laughs, talk and the occasional flirting with each other. More recently, I started having some different feelings for him, but am not sure that he would be interested in taking the friendship in that direction. As I mentioned, we flirt and have kissed a few times and even the talk of going further has come up. I haven’t taken it there because I am afraid of messing up a really good relationship. How could I approach this with him without pushing him away?

    • James Bauer said:

      Great question. Do you mind if I use this question in my weekly Q&A email that I send out on Fridays? (without your name or email of course).

      Here’s my brief response. It depends. It depends on whether he is the kind of man who has a history of going after women he has romantic feelings for. If you have seen him pursue other women when he is romantically interested, then that probably means he does not feel that kind of chemistry with you and would rather keep you as a friend.

      If he is the kind of man who treats relationship formation as an equal responsibility between the male and female partners, then it’s just as possible that he has been wondering the same thing about you. In that case, you might choose a path that goes something like this…

      You: “I’ve been thinking about you when we’re apart.”
      Him: “Um…really? Is that a good thing or a bad thing?”
      You: “Well, yeah…I mean, we’ve been hanging out for a long time, but I’d like to spend more time with you.”
      Him: (trying to remain noncommittal cause he’s not exactly sure where you’re going with this yet) “Okay…I’m cool with that.”
      You: “But I have one concern. If two people spend a lot of time together it’s natural that other…deeper sorts of feelings can come up. I don’t want to spend a ton of time together unless that would be something you’re okay with in case it did happen.”

      This is sort of a middle-ground way of inviting him toward something without making things awkward if he declines to “see what could happen.”

      Good luck!

      James

      • JLopez said:

        No, I don’t mind if it’s used. Thanks for the response. He has “pursued” other relationships, with my knowledge and, sometimes, even asking my advice. I try to be the “friend” and help him out. Luckily, he hasn’t asked for any recently. I tell myself he asks because he wants me to say “no, don’t go after her, I’m right here” (chuckle) but I never say this out loud. It seems I need to “grow a pair” and just approach, as you said, in a middle-ground sort of way. I appreciate your time and thanks, again!!

      • James Bauer said:

        No problem. I think you are on the right track. I hope he wakes up and recognizes the value of having an insightful person like you in his life.

        James

  12. Waterfall said:

    Hmm.. This is really very unclear to me. What about friends first? I don’t want to start romantic relationship right from the first interaction I want my future husband were my best friend first of all it’s very important to me. I Agree that sexual alluring is important but probably it needs the right time? Otherwise I don’t realize how to react on routinely simply questions like how was your day or how are you without sounding friendly? No routine talks allowed?

  13. Ana said:

    This is my exact situation… I have been with this man for 3 years now. I was in another country for work he travelled all the way there i fought with my boss for vacations to be with him travel with him across countries. We even discussed Marriage he agreed to me coming back home then we would take it forward. I prematurely came back.. And now he has suddenly dissapeared doesnt want to answer me.. Just wants to be a friend it surprises me what and where went wrong ? We talk but not like everysingle day as before he use to tell me everything before.. Bit now I do not even know what and where and how is he doing for days.

  14. Merredith Zarsadias said:

    2 months ago i stopped connection with a guy whom i had an on and off relationship for almost a year. We met thru a friend n we had so much chemistry that we got intimate too soon but no fornication at all thru out our on and off relationship. Then the following year we decided that we will be friends. Until he kissed me by surprised, after the kissed he was asking me where do i wanna live and to promise not to be mean to him and not to be demanding too much. I responded by saying where ever he wants to live while we were hugging and then i just dig in my face to his chest. Few days after i asked him what he meant by being mean so i asked him what did i do that i was mean to him. He didnt really gave me a direct answer and this caused him to ask me about our relationship status, friends or romantic friends. I asked him what he wanted it to be and he said he does not want to b in a relationship w/ me and wud like to stop hanging out w/ me bcuz he wanted to see someone and is afraid that he will b thinking of me when hes on a date or has a girl friend. Then he asked me, what do i want from him. Since he said that he didnt want to b in a relationship just like u said with self esteem preservation, ofcourse i said friends but also that i will not deny that in the back of my mind i would like to be in a relationship with him but i cannot impose myself to him. A wk after he started dating other someone online. When i found out about it he was saying there was no chemistry. Dont know if he was trying to make me jealous but i did not act to be bcuz we were not in a relationship. But it did changed on my thoughts about him and trust and felt that he didnt value me. The next day i send him a text saying i wanna stay connected n b friends if hes ok with it and to let me know. He did not reply for almost two weeks. Then text me a greeting on thanksgiving day. I replied n said that since he did reply i assumed that he didnt wanna n friends n that i was hurt. hos reply was ‘start anew is what i can do’. I just had it with him n text back telling him to refrain from texting me. That he is confused. That since he decided to see other girls, i realized i have to guard my heart. And that the next time he decides to text me i will interpret this as he would like to try to see if we will be good together.
    I have not heard from him since then (about 2 months now). About 2wks i just joing this dating site noted he checked my profile. I dont really know if i shd try to get him back.

    • James Bauer said:

      It seems he enjoyed physical chemistry with you, but did not want a relationship. Then he told you as much. So unless that’s what you want, I do not suggest you give him any more of your time or attention.

      Being with the wrong guy scares off the right guy. There’s someone out there who wants a relationship with you. Wait for that person.

  15. aila said:

    hello james,

    i have met this guy in online dating sites for like a more than a year now we are still communicating. On the first ten months we are just happy texting until we finally become a couple like four months now. we became friends in facebook and he likes my pics sometime and me too but then later on he told me that i have to removed my likes on his pics coz people around him or his friends and family started asking question who i am to him.he said he was afraid of people getting to know him and me coz things gets messy.i was upset during that time but i did what he said. he’s from turkey and i am from phillipines.
    i was trying to put a distance in him the way we talk from that day. i am not more sweet girl like before. what to do? do i have to let him go and cut our communication for good? im trying but i cant help it sometime but to reply his messages.
    Though we are planning of meeting soon but now i changed my mind coz i was thinking he’s not that committed to me.he wants me to keep as his secret girlfriend online..

    • James Bauer said:

      This might sound strange to you, Aila, but here’s what I think. This is a perfect conversation to have with him! Usually, trying to keep a relationship secret is a bad sign. But in this case, it actually makes sense because he was probably being made fun of for having an “online relationship” with someone he has never met.

      Instead of make an all-or-nothing decision, ask him if he thinks its worth it to keep private communication going. But only do this if you or he would be willing/able to move to the same country one day.

      James

  16. Brianne said:

    I have been dating my boyfriend for 6 months now. We had the best relationship. I couldn’t have ask for anything more. He has treated me better then any guy I have ever dated. He’s very respectable. I really feel like he could be the one. Well a month ago he told me he’s not sure if he wants kids now. He said he is feeling old. He’s 39 and I’m 37. He has an 8 yr old little boy who is the sweetest and my boyfriend is the best dad to him. It’s one of the reason I love him. When he told me I was surprised, shocked, and cried. I made that mistake instead of talking it out. It is a deep wound for me because I would love to have a child. We have talk about this in the beginning of the relationship and he told me he would love to have a little girl someday. I’ve never mentioned kids again until he pop this on me. So long story short he had a lot of stress in his life with his ex and job. That’s when he told me this about not being sure about kids. I more recently told him that he doesn’t have to tell me for sure right now. We should just live in the present and have fun. I told him I’m not planing the future. He said I’m not understanding his feelings. He doesn’t want to be the person that keeps me from having kids. He doesn’t want to take that away from me. Which makes me love him more for that. This has been the 3rd guy that has told me he doesn’t know about having kids after saying he wants this in the beginning of the relationship. I must be doing something wrong. We still text everyday but now from seeing him a few times a week to once a week. I feel like I’m his friend now because it’s been a month since we have been intimate. He only sees me when his son is there so we can’t be. He doesn’t want to talk about it. I tried telling him I just want to have fun and lets go on a fun date. I try to get him to plan one. He says he will and then breaks the date with an excuse. I keep thinking we will just break up and then he keeps the communication up with me. I love this man. I just don’t know what do now. I don’t know how to get him to let me back in and stop feeling like friends. Now I feel our relationship is never going to progress to more. I have done this twice before and it never works out. I would love your advice. Thanks.

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