The main point of dating is slowly building trust and slowly letting your guard down, right? Well, they won’t let their guard down if they’re constantly thinking about if they’re coming across as “sexy” and impressing you. When dating we put up so many fronts.
But if you change the tone a bit and make the conversation more friendly then people do let their guard down and there’s an opportunity to build some trust.
Most people are actually as desperate for a genuine friend as they are for a partner. If you can be both they will fall for you.
This means practicing non judgement. Which is really hard. You need to stop thinking about them as a potential partner for a while and just think about them as a human, with fears and issues and talents and a reason to get out of bed every morning. If you make them feel like they aren’t being judged they will open up, usually. Most people are bursting to open up. Think about it. When’s the last time someone genuinely listened to you talk about your childhood? How did you feel towards them afterwards?
Talking can actually be really intimate. And in most cases they won’t “friendzone” you. They are more likely to admire you. As long as you don’t make the conversation about you and your trauma as soon as they open up.
Also, if you have a good profile of them it’s easier to tell if you’re actually interested in them. If you can get people to be authentic with you then you can make a more informed decision. It does mean switching that judgement back on which may feel deceptive, but it’s something you need to do for you.
I’ve found that by doing this I end up with relationships built on a desire to help each other develop and support each other. I believe its because we get into the habit of opening up and listening. Just make sure it’s a two way street. Don’t be someone’s therapist. This is an exchange of vulnerability, just like sex.
TL;DR gaining trust early on will help to them to open up and become attached to you, and will help you make a more informed decision on their character. Also leads to healthier relationship down the line.
Edit: okay, yes, you do also need to flirt with them and show romantic interest. If you only act like a friend you will likely be friendzoned. What I’m saying is you don’t have to flirt constantly and always be on guard with each other. Do both. Be flirty and make them feel special and desirable and all the usual tips and tricks. But also be someone they can open up to