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We’ve all been there. You meet someone you really like, and you spend time getting to know them. 

You laugh, share stories, and hang out often. But there’s this lingering question in your mind: “Does he like me more than just a friend, or is he taking things slow?” 

It’s a confusing territory, and not knowing can sometimes be more agonizing than a straightforward rejection. The signs can be subtle, and often, our own feelings and hopes can cloud our judgment. 

For many, the “friendzone” isn’t new. It refers to a situation where one person wants to be more than friends, but the other person only sees them as a platonic buddy. 

On the other hand, “taking it slow” is when two people like each other but decide to progress at a slower pace in order to build a strong foundation before diving into a deeper relationship. 

While these situations may sound distinct, in reality, they can overlap and be difficult to distinguish.

In this article we’ll discuss how to know whether he’s taking it slow or friendzoning you.

Is He Friendzoning You Or Taking It Slow? – 7 Signs He’s Surely Friendzoning You

Is He Friendzoning You Or Taking It Slow?

1. He Talks About Other Romantic Interests

One of the most unmistakable signs that someone is positioning you in the friend zone is when they freely discuss their romantic pursuits or crushes with you. 

Imagine you’re out having coffee, and he’s animatedly discussing his recent date or asking advice on another woman. This often signals he doesn’t view you as a romantic contender but rather as a confidante.

Now, some might argue that he’s trying to gauge your reaction or make you jealous. 

But more often than not, when he’s comfortable sharing details about his love life, he’s trying to emphasize a platonic relationship. He trusts you enough to share these details but might not see the romantic potential.

2. You’re Always Part of Group Hangouts

If every time you meet him, it’s as part of a larger group, this might be a hint. When someone is interested romantically, they’ll often seek one-on-one time to create deeper connections. 

In contrast, group hangouts are safer; they’re neutral territory where emotions are less likely to get tangled.

Group settings are fun and casual. They have their moments of intimacy, but they’re usually diluted by the group’s overall dynamics. 

If he rarely or never initiates solo time with you, he might be subtly positioning you as ‘one of the gang’ rather than a romantic interest.

While group gatherings are great, if you feel a need for a more personal connection, it’s a good idea to voice that desire. It might pave the way for more intimate moments or, at least, clarify his intentions.

[Related: Why You Got Friendzoned]

3. He Avoids Physical Contact

Physical touch, even if it’s just a brief touch on the arm or a prolonged hug, often indicates a certain level of affection or interest. 

If he consistently avoids any form of physical contact, it might be a way of drawing boundaries. 

The friend zone often comes with an invisible barrier that keeps interactions purely verbal and emotionally platonic.

In the beginning stages of any relationship, there’s often a dance of physical proximity. But if every attempt at closeness gets deftly sidestepped, he’s sending a clear message. 

He might enjoy your company and the emotional connection but isn’t looking to escalate it to a romantic level.

4. He Sets You Up with Someone Else

When a guy friendzones you

When he starts playing matchmaker and is trying to set you up with one of his friends or acquaintances, it’s a pretty clear indication of where his feelings lie. 

He’s telling you that he sees you in a romantic light, just not with him. It’s as if he’s saying, “You’re amazing, and someone should date you, but that someone isn’t me.”

It’s tough when this happens, especially if you have feelings for him. He’s acknowledging your worth but also marking a boundary in your relationship. 

This matchmaking isn’t out of malice but perhaps out of genuine care. He wants you to find happiness, even if it’s not with him.

While it’s a clear friend-zone marker, it also highlights his appreciation and respect for you. It might sting, but it also underscores a deep bond of friendship.

[Also read: How to Make Him Obsessed With You (10 Psychological Tricks)

5. Conversations Stay Surface-Level

One trait of budding romantic relationships is the vulnerability and depth in conversations. Partners delve into their dreams, fears, past, and visions for the future. 

However, if he keeps steering your talks towards casual, everyday topics, he might be setting a boundary.

By avoiding deeper topics, he’s maintaining a level of distance. It’s not about hiding secrets; it’s about ensuring that emotions and attachments don’t get too deep. 

It’s a self-preservation mechanism and a way of ensuring the relationship doesn’t drift into romantic territory.

Understanding this nuance can be hard, especially if you’re yearning for deeper connections. But recognizing the pattern can help you understand his mindset better and decide your next steps.

6. He Emphasizes the Word “Friend”

When he consistently refers to you as his “good friend” or emphasizes the platonic nature of your relationship, he’s setting clear verbal boundaries. 

It might be during introductions, “This is my friend [Your Name],” or in conversations, “You know, you’re such a great friend.” These aren’t casual remarks; they’re markers.

By placing the ‘friend’ tag on you repeatedly, he’s trying to cement the nature of the relationship in both your minds. 

It’s a gentle but clear reminder of where things stand. It’s his way of ensuring no mixed signals get sent your way.

While it’s a straightforward method, it’s also considerate. He’s ensuring you’re both on the same page and that there’s no room for misinterpretation.

[Read: 13 Sure Signs Your Guy Friend Likes You]

7. He’s Reluctant to Share Personal Details

While you might know his favorite band or the kind of movies he likes, he might be holding back on personal stories, family details, or past relationships. 

This withholding is not out of distrust but rather an attempt to maintain boundaries.

Romantic relationships often come with deep dives into personal histories, sharing vulnerabilities, and building emotional connections. 

By keeping things a bit distant, he’s ensuring the relationship remains within the confines of friendship.

Is He Friendzoning You Or Taking It Slow? – 8 Signs He’s Taking It Slow

Is He Friendzoning You Or Taking It Slow?

1. He Expresses Interest but is Cautious 

Ever been around someone who seems genuinely interested in getting to know you but maintains a safe distance? 

It might not be a classic friend zone move. Instead, he might be someone who’s been hurt before or is naturally reserved. 

He’s attempting to protect both his emotions and yours by pacing the progression of your relationship. Such a guy values emotional depth and doesn’t want to dive headfirst without assessing the waters.

There’s a thin line between disinterest and caution. The key difference here lies in the quality of the interactions. 

If they’re filled with genuine curiosity, empathy, and connection but lack rapid progress, it’s likely he’s treading cautiously.

2.  He’s Transparent About His Intentions 

He might have told you outright that he’s not looking to rush things or has mentioned past experiences that make him cautious. 

This transparency is a hallmark of someone taking things slow. Instead of leaving you guessing, he provides context, ensuring you’re not left in the dark.

Being upfront about intentions might make things seem slower than usual, but it eliminates unnecessary guesswork. It’s his way of ensuring you both are on the same page as the story unfolds.

[Also read: How Long Does It Take For A Guy To Ask A Girl To Be His Girlfriend?]

3. Conversations Dive Deep at Times 

While he might maintain a guarded aura, there are moments where he lets his walls down, sharing personal anecdotes or discussing deep topics. 

These moments might be fleeting, but they’re genuine. They signal that he’s gradually opening up, laying the foundation brick by brick.

He’s savoring the journey of getting to know you and allowing you a peek into his world, step by step.

4. He Values Your Personal Space 

when a guy is taking it slow

Instead of overwhelming you with constant texts or calls, he provides you with enough space to breathe. 

This space isn’t an indication of indifference but rather a mark of respect. He understands the importance of personal time and growth.

He’s ensuring the relationship, as it grows, remains healthy and not stifling. He values both individuality and connection, aiming for a balance.

5. He Values What You Think of Him

After you both spend time together, he might ask about your feelings or thoughts about the day. This isn’t casual chatter; he genuinely wants to understand your perspective. 

He’s collecting data, ensuring that as things move forward, they align with both your expectations.

Such feedback sessions might feel a bit formal, but they’re his way of ensuring clarity. He’s not rushing through the relationship; he’s meticulously building it, seeking your input at every step.

[Related: 7 Obvious Signs He Doesn’t Like You]

6. Friends and Family Know About You 

While he might be taking his time with you, his close circle is aware of your existence. 

They might not have all the details, but they know there’s someone special he’s getting to know. It’s a subtle way of integrating you into his life, without the fanfare.

Introducing someone to friends or family is often a big step. By keeping you a known entity without pushing for early introductions, he’s marking a territory that’s still under construction but has significant potential.

7. His Physical Advances are Respectful 

Any form of physical closeness, be it holding hands or a simple hug, is carried out with utmost respect. He waits for cues, ensures you’re comfortable, and never pushes boundaries. It’s not about lack of desire, but about ensuring mutual consent and comfort.

In a world that often rushes physical intimacy, his respectful pace stands out. It showcases his commitment to building a relationship rooted in trust and mutual respect.

8. Future Plans are Tentative but Personal 

Let’s say he talks about a concert happening a few months from now or a movie release down the line. 

He isn’t confirming plans but is floating the idea. It’s his way of testing the waters, seeing your reaction. He’s hinting at a future together, but he’s not putting it in ink yet.

This is a typical approach of someone who’s taking things slow. He wants to gauge your interest and compatibility over a longer duration before making concrete plans.

[Related: 8 Signs Someone Doesn’t Find You Attractive Enough to Date You]

What is the major difference between “friendzone” and “taking it slow”?

“Friendzone” and “taking it slow” are often misconstrued, but they stem from entirely different intentions. 

Being “friendzoned” essentially means one party is interested in a romantic relationship, while the other only sees the relationship platonically, with no immediate intention to make it romantic. 

It’s a polite way of declining romantic advances without breaking up the friendship. 

On the other hand, “taking it slow” involves mutual romantic interest, but both parties, or sometimes just one, prefer to develop the relationship at a gradual pace. 

This cautious approach ensures a more profound connection is established before diving deeper.

While both scenarios involve a delay in forming a romantic relationship, the difference lies in the potential outcome. In the “friendzone”, a romantic relationship isn’t anticipated, whereas “taking it slow” sees the relationship’s progression, just at a gentler speed.

How do you get out of the friendzone?

Getting out of the friendzone can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. The first step is open communication. 

If you have romantic feelings, it’s essential to express them candidly, ensuring the other person knows where you stand. 

However, it’s equally important to prepare for any response, positive or negative. It’s a risk, and there’s always the possibility that the other person might not reciprocate those feelings.

Building a deeper connection can also be helpful. Engage in activities that both of you love, spend quality time together, and create memorable experiences. 

These shared moments can sometimes shift the dynamics of the relationship. But remember, it’s crucial to respect the other person’s feelings. 

If they’re firm about staying friends, it might be best to value the friendship you have and look elsewhere for a romantic connection.

Do guys take it slow when they like you?

Many guys opt to take things slow when they’re genuinely interested in someone. For some, this approach is about protecting their feelings or yours, especially if past relationships have been hurtful or moved too quickly. 

They might want to ensure that the foundation of the relationship is solid before progressing. 

For others, taking it slow is a way to truly get to know the other person, understanding their intricacies and nuances, which can lead to a deeper, more meaningful connection.

It’s also worth noting that everyone’s pace in relationships is individual. Some might be eager to dive in, while others prefer the scenic route, enjoying every stage of getting to know someone. 

If a guy is taking things slow, it often signifies that he values the potential of the relationship and wants to give it the best chance to thrive.

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Destiny Femi

Destiny Femi is a dating coach whose work has helped transform the love lives of countless people. With a writing style that is both insightful and relatable, Destiny has amassed a following of hundreds of thousands of readers who turn to him for advice on everything from finding the perfect partner to maintaining a healthy relationship. Through his articles he has inspired people around the world to become more confident, authentic, and successful in their dating life.

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