Sean Goedecke is a freelance writer trying to visit every cafe in Australia. If you enjoy his articles, it can't hurt to click the 'like' link at the bottom or subscribe.
Published May 18th 2013
How to turn a friendship into romance
So you meet someone. You're getting along really well – going to movies together, hanging out and talking – and you think that soon you'll be able to take it to the next level. The romantic level. But you've waited too long to make your move, and that special someone now sees you only as a friend. This unpleasant situation is what people call the "friend zone": where the person you're attracted to sees you more like a family member than a romantic partner.
From Marcus Stone's "Two Lovers"
Like some trapped animals chew off their own leg to escape, being caught in the friend zone can drive people a little crazy. You'll be tempted to do stupid things, like blurt out your creepy undying love – or, even worse, hang around in the hope that over time they'll see how attractive and awesome you are. Instead, play it cool and wait for the right moment. You'll want to find things to do together that blur the line between a friendly outing and a date. Fortunately, there's plenty of opportunities for that in Melbourne, starting with:
Winter Walk Along the Yarra
Don't believe the poets when they go on about spring. Cold weather is the perfect weather for lovers – in fact, the colder the better. You can cover up your unsightly body with layers of clothing, it's tempting to huddle together for warmth, and everybody looks good in a coat and scarf. The walking track along the Yarra River is the perfect route, too. It strikes a good balance between secluded and public: you're close enough to the city to relax, but you'll also be spending plenty of time with just the other person. The view of the river is pretty romantic, too. Just make sure you don't schedule your walk at the same time as the rowing club schedules its training. The sight of so many fit, muscular bodies on the river might put your friend's mind on romance – but not with you.
Brunswick St Concerts
A concert is a great place to turn a bromance into romance: everybody's drinking, there's dancing, and good music always puts people in an amorous state of mind. It's also a totally innocuous thing that a friend can do with another friend. Brunswick St is a great place for it, since it's near a load of great bars and restaurants to frame the night with.
Friendzone-smashing music at The Old Bar (picture by Kate Seabrook).
The Evelyn has live music all the time at very cheap prices. The Old Bar on nearby Johnson St sometimes has really good acts, and Laundry Bar next door plays a lot of hip-hop. This option is great if you're not much of a talker. After all, the music's too loud anyway.
If you know how to ice skate, this option is a real gem. It's a fun activity that most people want to do but never get around to, and it's bristling with romantic opportunities at the same time – especially if it's your friend's first time. Go to the Icehouse in Docklands and offer to guide them around the rink with your arm. They'll be scared and excited and thankful for your help. It's a great way to demonstrate your value as a potential lover: if you can coordinate enough to move together on the ice, you might coordinate as well in the bedroom. Make sure you know what you're doing, though. Falling on ice hurts and ice skates are pretty sharp – this one could end in tears.
Group Dinner in the CBD
Here's a much easier option: just organise a big dinner with all your friends, including the one you've got feelings for. There's no pressure, and assuming you have any friends it's a good way to show off what a social butterfly you are. It's fun and you can bring alcohol too. What's not to love? Well, it can be hard to carve out some alone time at a group outing. It's easy to fall into the trap of being creepy here, too. Don't try to go home the same way as your friend – it's weird and there's nothing less romantic than public transport.
There's a wild party going on in there (picture by Bahnfrend).
Instead, make sure your dinner is in the CBD and suggest quietly that you and your friend go out to a nice bar afterwards. That way they decide what level of alone time they're comfortable with and everybody wins.
Swim at St Kilda Beach
Yes, cold weather is romance weather, but there's also something to be said for the height of summer. Everybody's forced into skimpy clothing, and if you've got muscles to show off this is the time to do it. Make sure you pick a dead sexy bathing suit. If you're concerned about lack of definition in your abs or deltoids, wear something that covers your top – or take the risky option and touch your muscles up a bit with pen or permanent marker. This is also a good time to show off your swimming abilities, but don't gloat. Nobody likes a bad winner.
Do you know any good places in Melbourne to escape the friend zone? Share your advice in the comments. At the moment, too many people try bad strategies – rock climbing, seeing movies together, being an interesting person – and ruin their chances at dating success. Let's see if we can change those odds.