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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.18 – How To Get Out Of The Friend Zone

How To Get Out Of The Friend Zone

  • David Tian Ph.D. tells us that the easy way out of the friend zone is to become more attractive to the girl.

  • David Tian Ph.D.describes another way to get out of the friend zone is to be more explicit with your compliments.

  • In this Man Up episode, David Tian Ph.D. reveals another reason why a guy is in the friend zone is because he’s not very sexual. 

In episode 18, I answer the question, how to get out of the friend zone?

[Intro music]

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

[Fade music]

Hey, welcome to episode 18. Episode 18 of Man Up, excited to get started and answering questions from the Facebook group. So we have one from James. James asks, “How do I get out of the friend zone? It seems every time, even with subtle flirting, I always land in the friend zone.”

This is a pretty common question. In fact, it’s so common that in the Aura – in our university vault for our members, we have an entire module, an entire course that’s two hours just on this, just answering this question because it’s so common. I actually walk the guys through four different strategies to make sure that you’re never in the friend zone or if you find yourself one and you’re troubleshooting, how do you get out of the friend zone.

I’m not going to do a two-hour video right here for you but instead I’m going to talk about it more in a sense, in a more high level. So the overall answer for getting out of the friend zone is that if – let’s take it from the girl’s perspective. If you were to ask a girl this question, most girls would just say it’s because she doesn’t like you enough. You’re in the friend zone with this girl because she’s not attracted to you.

So the easy way out of the friend zone is to become more attractive to that girl. Every girl has different tastes just like every guy has different tastes so in some cases it’s just that you guys don’t click or the chemistry is just not right or those two individuals just aren’t going to be a good match. So maybe that’s a good thing that you’re in the friend zone.

But even if you’re attractive or the girl might like you at the beginning, but because of certain things you do differently with that one girl, you end up in the friend zone. That’s also a very common case but a more specialized one. So what’s going on there? When a guy likes a girl he tends to start acting differently from how he normally acts.

It’s a good thing that you’re in the friend zone, by the way, because at least you’re a friend. In other words, she likes you enough to want to hang out with you. That’s a good thing. Usually, if you are in the friend zone that actually meant that you had a chance at the beginning.

So here’s what happens, here’s the problem – when a guy and a girl first meet, there’s this period, it’s what I call – you’re in the “attraction flux”. So there’s a period of time in which the relationship dynamic has not been set yet, it hasn’t been determined yet. That period is when – there’s a lot of flux. What happens is guys who are – when they’re in flux and there’s a possibility for the girl in the girl’s mind for something to develop, he waits too long and what happens is that relationship dynamic settles into a friend dynamic.

Roughly, somewhere between ten to twenty to thirty hours of contact time – contact time means the time where you’re interacting with the girl – you could count texting time, you can count obviously counting time when you’re talking to her, this would also count phone time. Somewhere between ten to thirty hours of this sort of time together that relationship dynamic gets set and if you haven’t taken it out of just the fine dynamic, it settles into a friend dynamic.

The only way out of this is if there’s – or the only exceptions, I should say, is if there’s some kind of barrier. If she has a boyfriend or if you have a girlfriend or if there’s this like – maybe you work in the same workplace. Maybe like a friend of a friend, maybe your mutual friend likes one of you and so out of respect for that you keep bringing that up as the barrier. With a barrier in place you could keep a friendship dynamic going on for a very long time and still not be technically in the friend zone.

Because of that barrier, there’s always that excuse for why this tension, the sexual tension would still be there. But if there’s no barrier, in other words, there’s no rational reason why if the two of you have gotten along or if the two of you were romantically attracted to each other that you wouldn’t hook up. If there’s no barrier and yet you don’t hook up then that clock starts ticking from the moment you guys meet. You get like ten to thirty hours or so to make it happen and if it doesn’t happen, you get set into this friend zone dynamic.

So what on earth could cause a guy to wait ten hours to escalate, to take things to another level? Well, one is, he’s playing it safe. So one of the things that people, not just women, but people need is to be told that somebody likes them. Now a lot of guys don’t realize this.

They think, “Oh, she must just get it. She must just feel that I like her.” It takes a lot of balls to in the early part of a relationship, just say I like X about you. I like such and such about you. Don’t focus on her physical traits because – just show that you appreciate her for her personality. You’ve got to actually state it explicitly, “I like this about you.” That’s not even at a platonic level, right? I like that you’re so spontaneous or I like that you’re so thoughtful or I like that you’re cultured, something like that. You have to say those words. I like you – and what it is that you like about her.

But taking it beyond that platonic level you then have to say that you think it’s sexy or that she’s cute or that you find her pretty. Then you add that in there so that takes it beyond the platonic. Now she knows, “Oh wow, he actually is thinking about me in that way.” You actually have to say that, you’ve got to take a risk.

So you see these guys stuck in the friend zone thinking if they just are really good friends to her that at some point she’ll be like, “Oh, he’s a really good friend to me. I might as well sleep with him.” It doesn’t work that way. You have to step up. Not just with your words but also sexually.

Another situation that’s quite common is a guy who gets stuck in the friend zone a lot because he’s not very sexual. He’s just like a good brother type of guy. And a guy like that needs to come and get some coaching, he needs to get – he has to examine his identity and his self-conceptions. As well, a big part of it is his lifestyle. Is he leading a sexy lifestyle? Is he in touch with his masculine essence? Is he challenging himself physically on a regular basis? Is he expressing himself artistically on a regular basis? Is he emotionally intelligent in expressing and exploring his emotions on a regular basis? What’s his fashion and image like – is he conveying a sexual image? Is he also comfortable with sex and sexuality?

All of those factors will contribute to making a guy sexy. If you’re not sexy then naturally girls won’t think of you in a sexual way. So you’ll keep being put in the friend zone.

James’ situation here is that it seems every time, even with subtle flirting, he lands in the friend zone. I focus there on the “subtle flirting” part. Your flirting is probably too subtle. Make it more explicit. I cover this in our e-books, there’s one called Dating Decoded and you can get that on our site,

Go there for that. But take it out of the friend zone by being explicit with your compliments. “I like this trait about you.” Put those words in there,”I like you.” Then take it up a notch and say, “Not only are you sexy but you are also X.” That’s really cool. “Not only are you a pretty face but you’re also X. Not only do you have this hot bod but you’re also X.” And then that will subtly, but more explicitly than probably what you’re doing, James, but more explicitly but still subtly showing your interest in her.

Okay, cool. So that’s a quickie answer to how to get out of the friend zone. Like I said, I actually have a two hour course on that but that’s just a quick answer for James’ question specifically. So now what you need to do is to go and join our Facebook group. Make sure you go click on that link, it’s probably below this video and join the private Facebook group where you can ask your questions. James asked his question on the private Facebook group and now I’m answering it. So that’s the best to get a hold of me and to get me to answer your questions. All right, until next time – man up.