Every situation is different. If you aren't positive that desire has been reciprocated, you're ineligible in terms of my very general advice.
It's said that the first five minutes will dictate the nature of your relationship for the remainder of its existence. Not true. It's also said that attraction, if not immediate, cannot be created. Not true either. If it were true I wouldn't be dating the love of my life today, or for the last six years.
Perseverance can win! But first I must explain the friend zone, and the references that are associated with it:
1. "I wouldn't want to ruin our friendship."
Stop. A person always has plenty of friends. When serious about someone, and when approaching a love interest, if interested, it's always worth the risk. This person wants a bond of intimacy without the commitment. The safety of the friendship is not at risk; it's very plausible to return to friendship if things don't work out as long as both parties are willing.
2. "I'm just not ready to date right now."
Stop. This person is just not ready to date you specifically. They're looking around, but they're definitely looking through you. This is a legit issue. The good news is that they're looking at all though. Because of this, and with a little effort on your part, they may eventually come to the realization that while looking around they were ignoring the one person best suited for them- you.
3. "Hahaha, you're so funny. I love when you joke."
Stop. This isn't a rejection. This is stalling. It's not great, but it's definitely not bad. The persons just not made up their mind on which way to swing yet.
How to escape the friend zone with some smooth manueverability:
1. "I have enough friends, and I certainly want to be more than friends with you."
And this is true. Who wants to be friends with the one who holds a special place in their heart like no other? And who wants to watch another take up that persons attention? No one!
2. "You never truly know a person until you've dated them."
And this is true. You dont. We put much more emphasis on our relationships once having paired off. It's then viable to dote on one, to put the utmost effort into conveying the depth of one's feelings and devotion.
3. And three is my personal favorite after having put my boyfriend in the friend zone for a year before dating, "Dating me would be like a friendship.
It'd just be called 'dating' instead." This statement holds a special place for me. It made me realize just how strong my bond had been with a person, and how much I was willing to give, without actually admitting to the fact.
The friend zone, though a comfortable place, doesn't have to be the final destination. You can level up! Patience and sensability is key. Good luck!