When it comes to love and relationships, there are few things that people dread more than being friend zoned. If you've never heard the term before, it means that you are in the awkward position where you are highly attracted to someone and they see you as nothing more than a friend. Often, they have even considered a relationship with you and decided against it.

Knowing you are in the friend zone is bad, because it means that your feelings will probably never be returned. Thinking you are in the friend zone, but not knowing for sure is worse, because you experience all the anxiety of being in the friend zone and additional stress that the anxiety may be entirely a construct of your self doubt. Usually the best way to move forward, whether as friends or potentially in a relationship if you are wrong, is to determine whether you have been friend zoned by looking for the presence or lack of the following 4 signs.

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Before tackling the signs of being friend zoned, we must discuss one important point. Just because you have feelings for someone that doesn't mean you are entitled to be in a relationship with them. A relationship is a two way street and if both parties don't feel the same, then it isn't going to happen. Similarly, no matter how nice you have been to someone, how much you might have done for them, or how long you have waited to be in a relationship with them, you simply aren't owed a relationship.

If you determine you have been friend zoned based on these signs, you must accept that and accept the agency of the other person in the decision making process. This doesn't mean you can't attempt to change their mind, but don't do it through guilt trips or unreasonable pressure. You need to be direct and honest about your intentions and respect their wishes if they wish you to cease expressing interest. Generally it is better to simply accept friendship and make the best of it. If you can't accept being friend zoned, remove yourself from the relationship entirely and seek counselling.

1. You've Been Turned Down For Dates

The simplest way to tell that you've been friend zoned is that you've been turned down for dates. Of course, this only works if you have clearly asked your love interest out on a date. Friends often spend time together. However, if you have clearly asked the other person out on a date, and been turned down for any reason other than pre-existing plans, odds are you are in the friend zone. If you've never asked the other person out on a date before, you could try, which will answer the question quickly.

2. He or She Talks to You About Relationships

Do you often find yourself in conversations about dates or relationships that the other person is involved in? If so, it is likely you are in the friend zone. You are so trusted as a friend that he or she will discuss intimate details of their life with you. Usually these are details that they don't feel particularly comfortable discussing with someone they are actually dating. That is bad news. The worse news is that discussing relationships with a friend is often a subtle way to intentionally make it clear they have been friend zoned after the person has recognised unwanted signs of romantic attraction.

3. "Like a Sibling" / "Like Family"

If somebody starts thinking of you like a family member, you are pretty much assured to be in the friend zone. Society teaches that we don't have romantic relationships with family members, unless you are 14th century nobility. The moment someone refers to you as "like a sister" or "practically a brother" you pretty much know you have been friend zoned, and shouldn't expect it to ever change.

4. They Casually Undress Around You

While this could be a sign of physical attraction and flirting, it is much more likely to be a sign that they have stopped thinking of you as a potential romantic interest. The main reason we are shy around the other sex, in general, is because we generally think of every member of that gender as a possible love interest. It is part of why we are less shy around our own gender. Thus, if someone considers you a completely platonic friend, they are likely to be comfortable around you in less clothes (possibly even no clothes). Do not take this as invitation to touch. There is probably no quicker way to destroy a friendship.