Sick Of Hearing “Let’s Just Be Friends”?

Are you a guy who always end up in the platonic-pals zone? These 7 smart strategies will change all that.

By Myatt Murphy

ew phrases can shred a guy’s ego faster than “Let’s just be friends.” Tired of being the guy all women think is a great catch, but just not the right guy for them? Try these women-approved tips on your next date to keep romance percolating:

Take control. Trying to be the nice guy all the time by letting her choose what to do and where to go may seem sweet, “but it gives a girl a sense that you lack the knack to step up to the plate and sometimes take the lead,” says Leeanne Incalcaterra from Bethlehem, PA. Even women with strong personalities like it when a guy knows what he wants to do. Plus, fighting about what to do next is something she’s used to doing with
Showing off that you have a lot of female friends can keep you in her pal zone permanently.
her family and friends—so it instantly makes her shift you into those categories. Some specifics: Offer to make her dinner, plan a wine tasting or take her to see a band you think she’d like.

Meet her only when the sun drops. What time of the day you see a woman immediately sets the tone for your relationship. Trying a more casual approach—a nice lunch date or Saturday A.M. run—may feel like a clever way to ease your way into her heart, but too many day dates only increase your chances of being her buddy. “Most girls save the daytime for their likes and the nighttime for their loves; we just naturally think and feel more romantically later in the evening,” says Beth Musselman from Hoboken, NJ. Don’t let that happen to you! Think cocktails, jazz clubs, and 8 P.M. poetry readings if you want to win her over.

Be her opposite. Having tons in common with a woman may make her feel you’re simpatico, but having too much in common is another sure way to get viewed as a friend. “Women want a guy that completes them—yet challenges them at the same time,” says June Newland
Don't always be the nice guy and do what she wants; show her you can take the lead.
from Vero Beach, FL. To pull that off, think of what trait defines who you’re with, then tap into being slightly the opposite. “If she’s shy, try to come off more bold and outspoken. If she’s somewhat high-strung, act very laid-back. If she’s cerebral, be artistic,” June recommends. Often, it’s pals who share exactly the same interests and vibe... and lovers who learn new things from one another.

Let your body speak for you. Body language can communicate that you have romance, not pal-hood, on your brain, says Patti Wood, author of Success Signals. Angle your body toward hers and point your feet and hands in her direction (to show you’re deeply focused on her), and when you talk, look straight in her eyes for at least 4-5 seconds every few minutes. Finally, as she talks, let your eyes linger on her mouth every few minutes—it subtly signals that you’re thinking about kissing her, which may well make her think about kissing you.

Don’t be her shrink. Giving her advice may seem like a nice way to get to know a woman better, but constantly playing counselor is a major friend move. It casts you in the role of advisor, not suitor. “If a guy really knows how to fix my problems, then I never want to risk losing his advice by crossing the line and dating him,” says Deanna Sibley of Columbus, OH. “Instead, it’s smarter to keep him as a friend to counsel me with other guys I may be interested in.”

Keep her talking. If you’re doing most of the yakking, you’re probably either bragging—which never works to impress anyone — or you could be giving away all your secrets. “Revealing too much of yourself makes a guy less of a mystery, which makes me way less interested in him,” says Shelby Bala from Detroit, MI. Instead, talk less and ask more. Even if she’s throwing you a lot of questions, make sure to spin a question back at her to get her talking about herself again.

Never use the F-word. No, not that F-word! We mean “friend.” Sure, most women appreciate a guy who can actually be friends with other women. Still, showing off that you have a lot of female friends can keep you in the pal zone permanently. “Some guys feel obligated to tack on the label ‘my friend’ to every woman who comes up in conversation, just so I know they’re available,” says Joanne Addison from Hackettstown, NJ, “But if I see that he has more female friends than I do, it makes me think he’ll probably be a better friend to me than a love interest.” So, guys, mention a gal friend or two, but no more. Don’t give her the vibe that you’re looking to add to your posse of female pals and instead send the message that you are 100 percent there on a romantic mission!

Fitness expert Myatt Murphy, C.S.C.S., is the author of the best-selling books, The Body You Want in the Time You Have, Ultimate Dumbbell Guide and co-author of The Men's Health Gym Bible.
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