If you were to take notes from any teenage romantic comedy, you might conclude that every single relationship will face the struggle of,

“The Friend Zone.”

Now, many of us aren’t singing love songs in the halls of our high schools (as much fun as that may be to imagine – I’m looking at you, French class guy!), and yet we still live by some old-fashioned misconceptions. Men don’t know what they want; women just want commitment.

The reality of course, is that all people want connection, and getting there can be vastly more complicated than it needs to be.

In fact, science shows that women are often the ones who prefer to take their time with enjoying casual, getting-to-know-you contact and even (gasp!) sex before committing to their partners. In my own experience in working with thousands of clients, I see women weighing their options as they date – they decide to invest in a relationship if it has possibility – if it has staying power.

So, when two people decide that they want to be together, why is there disconnect?

Well, it’s often because, once we decide that this relationship is what we want, whether it’s driven by us or them, we begin to pursue it through a ‘get’ mentality. How can I get what I want?

Then, the internal, invisible checklist shows up. We evaluate our partners’ behaviors and what those behaviors mean to us. If he does this, I will do this. If I get this, I will be happy.

That sounds pretty conditional, doesn’t it?

At the heart of things, most men (and women) want to know that they are accepted and loved as the individuals they are. That they are valued, honored, and respected, even when they aren’t perfect. Even, perhaps, especially so.

That they are more important than the relationship itself.

After attraction, chemistry, connection, and mutual respect, how do you show your partner that you want him more than simply wanting a relationship?

By treating him like a friend. Cheer on his successes. Laugh at his misses. Enjoy his company. Get curious about each other; ask questions. Be present, instead of forcing the future.

Contrary to popular belief, this doesn’t put you in ‘the friend zone.’ In fact, when you make this switch and start to really value him as who he is, and when you focus on the experience over the expectation, guess what happens? He perks up. He wants to win you over.

Who wouldn’t? At the end of the day, we all want acceptance. When we find it, we want to keep those who accept us closer. ♥️