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For over a decade, David Tian, Ph.D. — a uniquely qualified therapist, life coach, and former university professor — has coached tens of thousands of people from over 87 countries to achieve happiness and success in their relationships, dating, psychology, and lifestyle.

Dr. Tian has been featured in international media, as well as co-hosting a radio show on national radio and a weekly dating advice column in a national newspaper in Singapore.

The show, “Man Up: Masculinity for the Intelligent Man” (, is David’s way of helping as many people as possible enjoy empowering and fulfilling lives, while contributing to the global understanding of masculinity in modern times. In the show, he takes your questions posed in the Man Up private Facebook group ( and answers based on his experience coaching tens of thousands of students around the world for over a decade.

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“The Man Up Show” Ep.33 – How Do You Get Out Of The Friend Zone (again)

How Do You Get Out Of The Friend Zone (again)

  • David Tian Ph.D. describes the main strategy when a man is in the friend zone and he wants to get out of it.

  • David Tian Ph.D. clarifies why men being in the ‘just friends’ category is not good.

  • In this Man Up episode, David Tian Ph.D. urges men to be honest in these situations, to tell her the truth. 

For the first episode on “How to get out of the Friend Zone,” click here.


In episode 33, I answer the question of how do you get out of the friend zone again?

[Intro music]

Masculinity for the Intelligent Man. I am David Tian, Ph.D., and this is: Man Up!

[Fade music]

Welcome to Man Up, I’m David Tian, Ph.D. and this is episode 33 of Man Up show. For the first time since we started shooting I am actually self-shooting with my camera here without my team. It had to come to that at some point. I travel a lot and I’m currently in Korea, in Seoul. And literally, in 15 minutes, I’ve got to hop on a bus, the shuttle bus to the airport and I fly on a long flight to Canada. I know I need to knock these out – it’s something that’s been on my to-do list all week and, of course, leaving it for the last minute but here we go. So this is episode 33 and I got a question from the Man Up Facebook group from Vincent.

And he’s asking about – it’s another question about the friend zone. It’s funny because part of our research on finding – getting questions from guys, not only do we get them from the private Facebook group but I’m also looking for inspiration for what guys are asking in other forums that I’m in or the groups that I’m in or on Reddit or friends who asks me questions. And a theme that I’m seeing over and over is this friend zone thing. It’s even stronger – like, it’s growing. It seemed to me, anyway, maybe just on the places I look.

But three, four years ago, I actually created and recorded a whole program on how to get out of the friend zone and stay out of the friend zone and to prevent it from ever happening again. I think it’s an hour and a half long. I obviously can’t deliver it here; I’m aiming for 5 minutes on these things.

So I guess it kind of makes sense that I get questions on the friend zone repeatedly and this one’s actually building on an earlier answer. I’m going to answer this now because it’s building. It’s a sign that Vincent’s listening. Which is always good – I’m looking for that – guys when they ask their questions that they can reference earlier episodes or other work that I’ve done so I know that I don’t have to repeat myself over and over.

So Vincent asked: Something which has been puzzling me lately, how should you react or what should you do when the girl who friendzoned you contacts you again in the context that he wants to escape the friend zone and he’s trying to implement what he calls the abstinence rule where you change how you are before you answer her again. So that strategy, I recommend it. It’s one that’s worked pretty well.

There are four major strategies and a minor one that I recommend and walk you through in the friend zone course. Which we haven’t really – I shouldn’t be teasing you with the friend zone course but it’s there, it’s in our Aura University vault. So the guys who are in the Aura University or in Limitless eventually have access to how to get out of the friend zone.

But the main strategy that I recommend to most guys is that the reason you’re in the friend zone is because the vibe that you projected wasn’t sexual enough or that you didn’t escalate earlier enough and show your intentions clearly enough that she slotted you into, in her mind, into a certain category which is theonly friends’ category.

Because it’s great to be friends, by the way, it’s great to be friends. Women marry friends, women have sex with friends – it’s great to be friends but to be ‘just friends’ is bad. When she says, “Hey, hey, we’re just friends,” that means you just failed in an escalation attempt to take the relationship further and she resisted that. So being just friends is not good.

So she puts you in the ‘just friends’ category and when she does that – and when a person does that, when a guy does that to a woman, it’s the same thing – it’s hard for them to break out of that category and that’s just part of human psychology. So the way to actually make it happen for real rather than just tricking her or manipulating things, but for real getting out of that category and into potential lover category or full-on lover category is destroying or having her forget that bad impression from before.

So that’s best done by taking time out so that she can forget it. Let’s say that you’ve known her for six months, it’s best to take half that time a minimum. So a minimum of three months for her to forget the impression you made and cemented in her mind as a platonic friend for that six months. If you’ve known her for two years, I’d kind of disappear for a year.

Now the questions Vincent’s asking is he starts to disappear and the normal thing is she reaches out. So what are you supposed to do? Well, you need to maintain that distance because what she’s doing is she’s looking for the comfort zone, the security blanket of her friend, right, so that’s you.

That’s the guy who’s getting friendzoned. She’s going to keep looking for you as a friend because it’s good for her that you’re a friend. She’s keeping you as a friend for a reason, because it benefits her in some way. It makes her feel good, you’re there for her, you might even do her favors, right? And you’re there to listen to her problems and all these. You have to not do that anymore. You have to have that gap in the vacuum.

So there are many ways to deal with actually what to say – guys are always looking for what to say, that’s the dumbest question ever. But instead they should be thinking, “What should I be thinking and feeling?”

What you should be thinking and feeling is you have your own independent life and you’re going to get on with it. And you’re going to have a purpose to your life, you’re going to have things that you really enjoy doing and that you can see build value for the future and you do those things. And you say – you just sort of disappear from her life.

Now here’s what to say, because all guys look for what to say, just say that you’d love to but you can’t that time, you’re busy, have a good excuse, right? If she says, “Hey, come out to the barbecue on Sunday.” Say, “Thanks for the invite, I got this other thing coming up.” Or, “I’ve got this other thing that’s pressing on me.” Or, “I have this other important thing I have to take care of but when I’m free I’ll reach out to you.” Or, “When I’m free, I’ll buzz you.” And you just don’t buzz her for like whatever amount of time that you need. She’ll keep reaching out to you, of course, because you’re her friend.

If you’re very good friends, if you’re like the best platonic friend she has because you drive her everywhere, you do all these favors for her and yet you’re stuck in the friendzone – because that’s not a really good friendship, by the way, even then, feeling like you’re being toyed with.

But if you spend a lot of time with her then you kind of owe her an explanation and you should just straight up tell her, “Look, I’m interested in you beyond just friends. I know you’re not interested in me that way and I need to go and deal with my shit.” And she’ll get it because the vibe already is going to be uncomfortable to her.

So just tell her, “And here’s what I need to do, I just need to have my own space for a while and I just don’t want you to think that if I don’t reply or go out to these meetings with you or take up your invitations, don’t think that it’s not because I don’t want to. I really want to but for my good and for our relationship’s good, I’ve got to get over this crush I have on you. And I’m going to be doing that by getting my shit together.” And that’s the truth.

That’s actually the freaking truth. I always recommend telling the truth. Honesty is the greatest aphrodisiac and it’s also the best way to live. If you spend everyday together then you kind of owe her an explanation because that’s somebody in her life that sort of disappeared. And if you’re spending everyday with her for a month or more, you should be at that level of intimacy where you can tell her the truth.

So let’s end there. Tell her the truth. And then just be disciplined, get on with your life, move on to other greater things. Join Aura Dating Academy and learn about social skills and psychology and develop social intelligence and emotional intelligence. Those are all great things to do when you’re working on yourself, so to speak, right? Go to the gym, all that great stuff. That’s what you should be doing.

Always be honest.

If you’ve been seeing her on a regular basis do that talk. Don’t do that talk if you only see her once a week or something or you’ve been admiring her from afar. Don’t do that. It’s just too much drama, it’s too much pressure. She’s going to be like, what? Just play it cool if that’s the case. If you’re somewhere in the gray zone like you see her maybe once, twice a week, err on the side of being conservative and just kind of fade out of her life politely and just stop showing up to stuff. She’ll get the idea and stop inviting you because you don’t come out anymore.

In the meantime, you’re getting your shit together and then when you’re ready you can happen to show up serendipitously at the same event she does or she is. It’s pretty easy to orchestrate that if you were indeed friends before.

Okay, man. Be honest, that’s the moral. So here we go, hopefully, I stayed under – damn I’m way over time. Join the Man Up Facebook group, the link is somewhere this way or this way. You can ask me your personal questions there and it’s a private Facebook group. You can also message me at All right, man, until next time – man up.