how to get out of the friend zone with an ex? learn the antidote!

are you in the dreaded friend zone with your ex? do you still have romantic feelings for them, and therefore want to escape the friend zone?

i hear you. it is painful to encounter what appears as unrequited love from a boyfriend or girlfriend you once shared intimacy with.

unless you desire and accept friendship with your ex, of course. in which case go forth and treasure it.

and i’d say, “good for you and good for your ex!”


if you do not desire nor accept friendship?

if you actually desire more than that?

if you think it is an outright injustice to both your ex’s and-yours potential, to remain merely as “friends?”

then you have yourself an itch you surely need to scratch.

and i’d say, “maybe you outta do a proper job of that?”


and i’d tell you to go learn how to do just that.

which brings us nicely to this article 🙂

aside: this article assumes you are not in a “friends-with-benefits” situation. which is different.

is the friend zone always bad?

so here’s something i’ve noticed over the years:

there’s this exciting point in the journey of two separate people who’re destined to rejoin.

and that point is…

the “we’re just friends” point.

and look at this quick illustration i made:

illustration of typical path back together

step #2 isn’t to be feared.

reconciliation is a journey. not an event. it contains many steps.

now —

this friendly back and forth you have?

if you were to ask the one who initiated the breakup, “hey, what is happening here?”

they would essentially describe friendship back to you.

“hey, we’re just friends. we talk, hang out sometimes. but nothing more than that.”

just friends hanging out…

and sure. it does look an awful lot like friendship.

and the one who was on the receiving end of the breakup? they would also describe it as friendship (reluctantly.) they want more, but alas it isn’t to be.

(and it’s at this point i get an email describing the hopelessness of it all, with the reader’s conclusion that “no more can be done.”)

maybe you are in this place now.

but you see, the reality is that they —and you— might be taking score too soon.


because in all the breakups that makeup, taking a walk through the “friendship zone” to get there is par-the-course.

some do it quickly.

some do it slowly.

and some do it not at all.


but it is not the words of your ex that tell you which it’ll be.


if you are in communication with your ex, regularly, and even hanging out?

but not going out?

yes. maybe your ex told you, “i’m not looking for a relationship.” (?)

and yes, maybe they’ve told you they don’t regret their decision to finish with you?


if so —

don’t believe everything you hear.

tip: don’t believe everything your ex tells you.

humans lie.

every. one. does.

especially to themselves… and you can read plenty of examples of that in any popular psychology book or website.

and i’ve seen enough “no way’s” change to “ok then!” to see that pan out in real life.

after all, we are all deciding what to do based on how we feel at the time. nothing more than that.

frankly, we’re as consistent as our feelings are.

the antidote to “just friends”?

as i said above:

because in all the breakups that makeup, taking a walk through the “friendship zone” to get there is par-the-course

in case it wasn’t clear?

being friends with your ex does not signal the end for you both.

no way.

which is why:

(i’ve seen enough “no way’s” change to “ok then!” to see that.)

so what now?

i’ll tell you —

i literally created a guide to escaping the friend zone with an ex, called:

the antidote to “just friends”

(it deals nicely with the “just friends” pandemic many face on the path to get their ex back.)

and if you’ve not been making progress with your ex despite weeks/months/years (!) of being “friends” with them, it is a no-brainer.

armed with my words, and borrowing my experience…

those who read it will slay the ghoul of ambiguity that has plagued them thus far.

e.g., “should i wait for my ex or move on?”… “will i ruin my chances if i do, or if i don’t?!”… and, “what the devil do i do to win back my ex when we are friends?” etc.

that ambiguity will make your head spin.


living with uncertainty is certain to punish you.

thus my new guide was written to kill uncertainty stone-cold dead.


the nuggets i’m sharing in this “how to have fun with just friends” guide will ensure you, gasp… have fun while being friendly with your ex.

how about that?

and all for the betterment of the reader’s odds of success in leaving the friend-zone.

(and should that reader be you, you’re welcome..)

how to get it?

i share more details with my email subscribers and you are welcome to email me directly to ask.

but look —

i’m still going to give a few tips here for the browsers passing by today 🙂

fair enough?

let’s go.

— 1. don’t fear a friendship with your ex

for starters, in many cases, friendship is just a convenient label more than anything else. it is a word used to describe something when another word can’t be found.

undo a breakup art: do not fear friendship with your ex

so when you and your ex hang out but are not going out, and people ask what is happening?

you —or your ex— gives them a descriptive word. the f word.


so don’t fear it.

further, when your ex explains to his or her friends and family, what is happening, what are they more likely to say?

frankly, it is just easier to call you both” friends” and leave it at that.

and consider the possibility that your ex-boyfriend or girlfriend will not want their family or close friends to know they might have feelings for you.

don’t fear the label.

— 2. get a plan to escape the friend zone with your ex

in life, if we do not have a plan to follow, we will drift along aimlessly.

without focus, we give up certainty for the hope of serendipity.

undo a breakup art: get a plan to escape the friend zone

this is not how you escape the zone.

the routine of continuing to do whatever it is you are doing with your ex will be your downfall.

because without a destination to arrive at… you will arrive at nowhere.

typically people stay in their situations until something forces them out of it.

we are the same when it comes to relationships.

even when couples are unhappy, they can drift along for years tolerating the misery.

distracted by day-to-day routine.

and i am seeing this same pattern play out in breakups.

i was talking to a client last week who’s been single now for coming up 8 months.

i asked him why he wasn’t dating.

you know what he said?

he said, “i’m holding out for my ex.”

he went on to say she was talking regularly to him. quite friendly… you know. so he figured something might come of it.

so he’s waiting. and waiting and…

well, you might see the problem.

sure enough, i soon found he had no plan or destination dialled into his “sat-nav.”

he really was just drifting along, like so many of us will do without a plan.

and… he was not entirely aware of his predicament because he too was distracted by routine.

not good.

so i gave him access to the best plan i know:

the antidote to “just friends.”

because if he does have a chance with his ex?

drifting along without a plan is not how to maximise that chance.

worse, he is suffering needlessly with his current approach.

this man was on a trip to nowhere, and it was taking a long time to get there.


so what about you?

you don’t need to follow my plan. you can make your own.

just make sure you have a plan.

tip: the minimum you should do is implement a time constraint whereupon you will move on from your ex if you fail to escape the friend zone.

hint: if you don’t have boundaries in life, you might be bound for nowhere.

— 3. let your ex see you move on

sometimes we only miss what we have when it runs off with another guy or girl 🙂

when you are friends with your ex, and they show no signs of affection for you, maybe they are comfortable knowing you are just there and you are not going anywhere.


so you see, being seen as “conquered” is a sure way to stay trapped in the friend zone.

consider giving more signs that you are in fact quite available, and are seen that way by others.

dating can be useful here.

— 4. fix obvious turn-offs

make a list of what your ex does not like about you.

remove all the items that are not positive for you to keep around.

if you smoke, for example. quitting it is good for you. and if your ex had issues with it as well, bonus.

anything you can do to improve yourself that will also be seen as “better” by your ex, is a win.

make it harder for your ex to be just friends with you.

it’s hard to be friends with the one you love

it’s tough fighting tooth and nail to establish a friendship with your ex, and not be able to take it any further than that. this is called one way love and it sucks.

so, when the relationship status with your ex remains ambiguous and unclear?

draw a line in the sand.

if you can not make headway by the time you reach the line, take stock and consider where you are going wrong.

it’s hard not knowing whether to keep fighting or quit already. but, you have to draw the line somewhere.

in the end —

there’s nothing wrong with friendship.

quite the opposite, actually.

friendship is to be treasured. i am eternally grateful for mine.


when we’re talking about friendship with an ex-lover?

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About the author: i’m a relationship coach specialising in breakup recovery. i’ve been doing this for 12+ years helping thousands worldwide. i created the Breakup Dojo, a popular program with over 1,000 members. i’ve authored several in-demand breakup recovery products, drawing from my deep fascination with psychology. i also publish the “ex-communication” newsletter that’s packed with actionable advice to over 10,000 subscribers worldwide.