“Let’s just be friends” is one of the most dreaded text messages someone can receive from their ex after a breakup, and if you’re reading this, you probably know what it feels like to be on the receiving end of these words.
Today I’m going to dispel some myths about this post-breakup “friend zone” and make sure that you know what your ex means when he says this, and how you can use it to your advantage.
And probably the best place to start our quest for the truth is by looking at the two possible mindsets your ex may have when they drop the friend zone line on you.
Two Things Your Ex Might Be Thinking
In my experience there are two things your ex might be thinking when they say “let’s just be friends.”
- They actually mean it (but only in the moment)
- They want to keep their romantic options open with you
Let’s take a moment and explore.
Thing # 1. They Actually Mean It But Only In The Moment
So essentially, they just really want to be friends.
They know you’ve built something together, and they want to keep in touch with you because it’s hard just to let go.
More often than not, when an ex tells you that they want to be friends with you, they really just want to remain cordial after the breakup so they can retain some semblance of a relationship with you.
Does this mean there’s no chance you’ll ever get your ex back?
Not at all.
In fact, a lot of our success stories have been in this friendzone, and they’ve managed to make the most of it and make their exes regret breaking up with them in the first place!
But I’ll dive a lot deeper into that later.
Thing # 2. They Want To Keep Their Romantic Options Open With You
This is when your ex might want a “friends with benefits” situation with you at some point down the road so they want to keep their options up.
They say they want to be friends, but they’re still doing everything as if you were still dating.
In an odd way, they’re priming and testing you to see when you’ll break that coveted line and sleep with them.
Once you sleep with them, you’ve cemented yourself in a “friends with benefits” situation, and they think you’ll do it all the time.
Simply understanding your ex’s reason for wanting to be friends doesn’t really answer the core question in your head though:
When your ex says let’s be friends, should you actually be friends with them or decline right off the bat?
Early on in my career, I made it clear that I was not a fan of becoming friends with your ex, but after seeing a few people navigate these friendships, I’ve realized that, just as with everything in life, when it comes to befriending your ex – your mileage may vary.
So, being friends with an ex can be good or bad, but as a general rule of thumb:
Being friends with your ex is actually a good idea ONLY after you’ve done a no contact rule.
Now, if you don’t know what a no contact rule is, I have several articles, videos, and podcasts going in-depth about it, so I recommend scrolling through exboyfriendrecovery.com to read all about it.
But here’s a super-condensed version:
The no contact rule is a period (usually 21 to 45 days) when you cut off all communication with your ex.
So, it is absolutely essential to take this time of no contact to clear your head (and let your ex clear his) before you consider any kind of friendship. Now let’s suppose you’re done with the no contact rule…
Is It Possible To Get Your Ex To See You As More Of A Friend If You Purposely Friend Zone Yourself?
Whether you realize it or not, when you go through a breakup, and your ex says “let’s be friends”, they’re negotiating your status with you.
Most people see this as a negative, thinking, “Oh God, my ex looks at me as just a friend after everything we’ve been through.”
They see it as a sort of rejection, and if you’re one of those people, I’m here to tell you that you’re looking at it the wrong way.
More often than not, when you’re constantly trying to get your ex back by pushing them into a relationship, it makes them more defensive and less likely to indulge that possibility.
Taking it slow is almost always the best option for getting your ex back.
In fact, this is why I came up with the “value chain” and “value ladder” in my program.
The “let’s be friends” trick is a classic negotiation tactic where your ex lets you know that they want to stay in touch as friends.
They’re communicating that your relationship meant something to them… but not enough to be romantic anymore.
Now you might take this as a setback because you ideally want them to say, “let’s get back together,” so hearing a “let’s be friends” can be hard.
But what if you saw it as a stepping stone?
Them giving you a “no” with this gesture can open up a great conversation that allows you to work your way back to their lives in a romantic way.
Think of it like when you go to buy a new car at the dealership.
The car salesman is going to slide you an outrageous offer that’s WAY higher than what you had in mind.
What do you do next?
Say no and walk out?
You counter with a lower offer which they’ll counter, and then after a few times of haggling, you’ll eventually settle somewhere in the middle.
Being friends with your ex is a little like that. If you want to get out of the friend zone and be back in a relationship with your ex, you need to embrace the “No’s” your ex gives you and start seeing them what they are … opportunities.
A no is not a failure; a no can mean many things like:
- I’m not comfortable with that
So instead of taking a no at face value, you need to recognize a no for what it is… a signal to put the brakes on, a yield sign that lets you pass after slowing down as opposed to a stop sign.
Their “no” is a chance for you to start negotiating, but the first part of being a good negotiator is having leverage.
How Can You Get Leverage In Negotiating Your Friendship With Your Ex?
It often boggles my mind how little attention people pay to themselves during a breakup.
Breakups tend to bring out the worst in people as they cycle through the stages of grief and find it impossible to focus on anything else.
But consider this: what if you could use the time after a breakup to become a better version of yourself?
There’s nothing better than using that time to focus on yourself.
You can even evolve in ways that intrigue your ex and make them realize what they’re missing out on.
A helpful trick I tell my clients is that if they’re getting more attention from men or women other than their ex, it means they’re doing something right!
You’d think that the concept of working on yourself would be instinctive, but most of the time people who are going through breakups (especially if their ex broke up with them), waste hours obsessing over what their ex might be doing or thinking.
The key to winning a breakup and getting your ex back is to move past these trivial thoughts and actually evolve, so everyone (including your ex) gets drawn to you.
This just creates a circle of positivity around you that can help give you the ego boost you need after the breakup (and being friendzoned).
The biggest problem people face in this process is that they try to get their ex back before they’ve either evolved/changed in a meaningful way or before they’ve had the chance to show their ex those changes.
In purposefully being friends with your ex, you can ensure that your ex watches your evolution through their very eyes, and you can friendzone them in return to make them want you more… therefore giving you leverage.
This is your way of turning their no into a yes, turning their “I’m not comfortable being in a relationship” to “don’t you remember how good it was when we were together.”
Now, this definitely isn’t an overnight process, and you’ll probably fail more often than not. That’s because it’s designed not to be easy. If everyone could get their ex back, everyone would be doing it.
People mostly fail at this because they fail to see their value and to see the process for what it really is – an opportunity to improve your life—a chance to use this breakup to better yourself by learning from your mistakes.
Also, let’s not put men on pedestals so much because they don’t deserve to be there. You should spend the time after your breakup, making yourself your number one priority, so a man never has the power to hurt you so deeply again.
Why Being In The Friend Zone Can Work
Being in the friendzone makes your ex feel safe like they’re in control and have all the power.
By doing what they want and agreeing to be friends, you let your ex maintain this façade of power.
They slowly let their guard down, and that’s when you can do everything our program teaches you!
After all, the first step of getting your ex back is disarming their negative beliefs about you, and what better position to be in for that than being friends?
Whether your ex wants actually to be friends or they want to keep their options open to be “friends with benefits,” don’t worry about it. Being in the friendzone gets a bad rep for no reason. Its really what you make of it and if your friendzone journey can go through these steps, you’re golden:
- Purposefully be friendzoned
- Work on yourself and evolve to the point that others want you
- Friendzone your ex back
- Take him off the pedestal
This is how your ex will go from thinking he’s in control to realizing what a mistake he made.
The friendzone gives you the perfect opportunity to gain leverage over your ex, so don’t see it as a defeat and don’t freak out if your ex wants to be friends with you.