Falling in love with a friend and feeling the need to keep it a secret can make time spent together feel like an eternity. The fear of losing trust or affection is the main motive to keep silent. But the truth is that, even before any of the parties becomes aware of the growing sexual tension that will end up encaged the "friend zone," there are plenty of signs that anticipate its arrival. On this slideshow, we'll go through some of the most alarming signs you should pay attention to!
\#1 Being invited to their messy appartment
There's a fine line between trust and overconfidence, and that line is one of the borders of the friend zone. Empty pizza boxes protruding from the dustbin, an unmade bed with a mountain of dirty clothes on it, dirty glasses or last week's piled-up dishes in the sink are some of the clearest signs that your darling has grown all too comfortable and completely dropped any intention of charming you. If that's your style, it could be a good sign, but keep in mind that excessive comfort is not really compatible with flirting.
\#2 Her showing up without make-up on
This one will be of more interest to the boys reading this. As every other item in this list, it should be judged in context. If a girl who's accustomed to applying all kinds of cosmetics before stepping out of her front door will meet you without wearing any, you might have entered the friend zone. On the other hand, it might just be a sign of her feeling comfortable around you, of wanting you to know her for who she truly is. But who's to say what girls actually mean?
\#3 Talking to you as if you were one of his or her buddies
If a boy likes you so much that he doesn't think twice about patting you on the shoulder, swearing in front of you or just behaving like you were another one of his male friends: beware, you've entered the friend zone. He still probably considers you trustworthy and fun to be around with, but probably pays less attention than you'd like when it comes to your looks. On the other hand, the same could be said about a girl who starts talking to you about other boys, or topics men are usually not interested in, like her struggle against cellulite or her need to be taken seriously as a feminist.
\#4 Being considered "a great friend"
Being called a great friend, even if it's said with the best intentions, can be a bucket of ice-cold water when coming from your crush. Goodness is a virtue fit for mothers, teachers and even bosses. But if the compliment is uttered by the one you desire, then she or he completely misread your intentions. It's either that or they are more into the "bad boy" kind of attitude. It might be time for a change of plans.
\#5 Being invited to watch cheap Hollywood comedies
Being invited to watch films like "Superbad" or "Pineapple Express", as much as you might enjoy pop corn, chips and fizzy drinks, is a clear sign that you are right in the middle of the friend zone. While that's a perfect plan for a fun night with friends, or if you are already in a couple, getting invited to gobble on sweets and wash them down with carbonated beverages while you both laugh at the TV like maniacs is not the sign of a promising romantic relationship. But you can still have fun, right?
\#6 Being told about every single one of their troubles
Is there anything less sexy than listening to someone moan about their troubles? Nobody can escape them, whether they are about emotional, family or financial issues. But those are better suited to be shared within established couples and not with someone you've not yet kissed. If your crush tells you they are going through a rough patch, and then tells you every single detail about it, then they are probably looking at you more as a advisor than a romantic interest.
\#7 Being told "I wish I could fall for someone like you"
This has to be the number one most hated kind of expression you'll hear in the friend zone. It denotes the unavoidable rejection you are constantly facing and a complete lack of understanding about your feelings. If you find yourself the target of such a statement, it's best to disappear from the picture completely. A couple of weeks should be enough to let the person you're interested in notice they should pick their words more wisely.
\#8 Being invited to their family reunions
If your crush keeps inviting you to places like their nephew's baptism or their little sister's birthday party, where parents, grandparents, uncles and a whole battery of family members are bound to be present, take note: while that kind of invitation might be rushed for a couple who's just starting out, it's very common among friends. Don't hesitate about attending, and remember to dress your best and brush your teeth before leaving the house. But you might want to reflect on the experience afterwards.
\#9 Having your crush display his or her worst defects
This goes for whenever your crush behaves in an evidently selfish, emotionally unstable, greedy or moody way. While everybody can get a bit too self-centred at times, anybody with a romantic interest in someone knows how to avoid that kind of attitude.
\#10 Sleeping in the same bed without even touching
And finally, the most evident sign of being captive of the friend zone is this one: sleeping next to your crush for an entire night without getting to touch a single strand of hair. If faced with this situation, you know you'll have to do your best to repress your feelings. But if you're not successful at it, you might get more than a spoonful of your biggest fear: being told your romantic expectations are misplaced. That can be hurtful, so you might just want to sleep on the couch instead. Trust us on that, you'll be much more comfortable.