Some might disagree with me but the friendzone isn't real and that kind of thinking is part of why you have no "game" or stuck in a loop. If you're going on dates, its not about initial attraction, so you have to stop thinking this is a rational problem solved by rational solutions. Being too nice a guy or too plain or whatever other examples you believe to be a hindrance are probably a huge part of why you even got those dates to begin with, not why they went nowhere... To overcome this (imo), you need to start listening to your gut (vibes) and work on understanding what they are saying to you. You sound kind, humble and smart - you have more than enough potential to overcome this. Stop rationalizing and start feeling.