Two hands holding rainbow hearts

Being in the friend zone is hard enough, but being gay and a long-term resident of the cursed limbo comes with its own set of extraordinary challenges. We asked members of the LGBTQIA++ community what the dating scene is like and what it takes to bust out of the dreaded friend zone.

Know and Love Yourself

For PR manager Ean Sanchez, navigating the tricky dating scene means prioritizing self-love. “You have to know and 150% before even trying to date someone. Because if you don’t, you will end up losing yourself in the process,” he says. Knowing your worth and not letting anyone else dictate what you deserve helps. In the same way, Ean explains that recognizing other people’s worth is also essential. “Get to know someone before you judge them and be open to possibilities.”

He shares that dating is a tiring scene to navigate and you can be pulled, and pushed in different directions. “If you think you’re tired, rest. Don’t be pressured by the couples around you. Be happy for them and believe that one day you’ll meet someone worth it.”

Let Things Flow — and Go

AJ Jorquin, who does sales and marketing for an art gallery, has much to say about the LGBTQIA++ dating scene. “It’s very small — a ‘My ex dated my other ex and my current used to date my ex who used to date my ex who happens to be the ex of my current and his ex’s too’ type of situation,” he says.

He describes being single as fun but also lonely. Sometimes, it can be a case of jumping from one guy to the next. “It just makes everything feel like an endless race. NSA (no strings attached) is such a norm in our community. The instant gratification of dating apps is to blame,” he surmises.

It makes things extra messy if you hook up with someone who sees you as just a friend. “It gets even messier when one starts having feelings for the other, and messiest when you want something more but also want to keep the NSA relationship.” His tip on getting out of the friend zone? “Just don’t expect. Keep in mind that nothing is permanent. Let things flow and go,” he says.

Keep an Open Mind

Writing Michael Rebuyas reveals that trying to date when you’re gay and single can be tough. “A lot of guys are closeted and maneuvering around that can feel like walking on eggshells,” he explains, adding that a lot of guys are also averse to commitment. “This often leads to , especially when the other person is not comfortable with communicating how he feels.”

He confirms the dating pool is, indeed, very small. Everyone knows everyone, at least in the Metro, which can complicate things. “The upside to this though is that it's easy to have your friends vet the person you're dating for any red flags because chances are they've already had prior interactions,” he shares, seeing a silver lining.

For him, getting out of the friend zone is about good communication and establishing boundaries. “You also have to be in a healthy place to date. Get in touch with your and accept the possibility of rejection.” He adds that it helps to have an open mind. “Just because you have a type, doesn't mean you won't find people outside of that box attractive or worth dating!”

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Getting out of the friend zone can be tricky when the dating pool is small and mutual friends are everywhere, but there is hope. Take it from our friends from the community: Love yourself first and be open to possibilities. The rest, as they say, will follow.