It sucks to meet a hottie, hit it off, and hang out all the time... only to realise you've somehow ended up in the buddy zone. Next time, use these tips to make a beeline for girlfriend territory.

Get him alone

Chilling with mutual friends is a great way to get to know a first. But if a few weeks go by and you haven't had any one-on-one time, he may start to think of you as a buddy by association. Hung out with him en masse more than twice? It's time to take action. "All you need to do is break away from the group the next time you're all out, even if it's just for 10 minutes," says Christie Hartman, Ph.D., author of It's Not Him, It's You. Challenge him to a game of darts at a bar or recruit him to help you create a playlist at a party. Then lean in close, make sultry eye contact, and let him feel your arm brushing against his.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

Say the magic word

"Men will put a woman in the friend zone simply because they assume that's how she views him too," says Jeffrey Bernstein, Ph.D., author of Why Can't You Read My Mind? To make it clear you're interested without hitting him over the head, you need to say this word: you. Instead of telling him "I had fun" or "That was hilarious," say, "I had fun with you". "That simple change will let a guy know that he's on your mind," says Bernstein.

More From Cosmopolitan

Curb the texting

It's tempting to text a crush about every funny thing that happens to you or reminds you of him. Don't. Texting is how guys chat casually with their buddies (and how women chat with theirs), so it can make your relationship feel too breezy. "Guys are intrigued by a woman they can't quite figure out," says Bernstein. "If you're texting a tonne, that mystery disappears too quickly and he'll see you more as a friend."

Flirt strategically

A lot of women make the mistake of flirt ing with every dude in the room, thinking it'll trigger a guy's manly competitive instincts. In reality, all it triggers is his insecurities. He'll assume you're pay ing attention to other men because you don't think he's as hot/funny/whatever, so he won't make a move. "Instead, make him your primary flirt target, and then briefly chat up another guy or two over the course of the night," says Hartman. "Once he gets the signals you're into him, he'll feel more com forta ble stepping up his game."

Don't play therapist

It may seem great that a sweet guy is suddenly opening up to you. But if he's spilling his guts about a past dating issue, the odds that he'll see you as a potential girlfriend down the line are getting slimmer by the second. "By listening to his romantic problems and offering your advice, you fall into more of a sisterly role," says Hartman. If he tries to go there, tell him in a flirty way, "A sexy guy like you shouldn't dwell on the past; let's talk about your dating future."

What do you think?