Thought Catalog
March 6, 2012

Rules For Friends With Benefits

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Friends with benefits are real and attainable, and do not take a planetary alignment to occur. But its execution requires discipline, respect, trust and communication. Any deviation from these rules and you will find your friendship ending up like Icarus: screwed up beyond recognition after flying too close to the sun.

  • Never assume anything. Set the rules from the get-go. Yes, it’s not exactly the sweetest thing in the world to do, but actually spelling out what you both expect from the arrangement will make things easier on you both in the long run.
  • Key word in the phrase: “Friends.” Not “guy/girl I only want to sleep with and never date” or “someone who has had a crush on me for years.” The only feelings involved in a friends-with-benefits arrangement must be purely, completely, bullet-proof platonic. The other person must be someone you consider a true friend that you care for and respect, and who in turn treats you as such. Otherwise you’re literally and emotionally screwing with people.
  • Likewise, do NOT agree to a FWB arrangement if you have feelings for the other person. This is masochism at its worst. If that person wanted what you wanted, you would be getting it. As fantastic as the prospect of bumping body parts with the object of your affection might be, you’re just setting yourself up to be disappointed in the long run. Yes, you will. This is not a point to be argued.
  • Trust is the coin of the realm. Be honest with the other person at all times.
  • There is no right way to suggest a FWB arrangement. It just happens. This makes it even more important to discuss rules and boundaries at the very beginning. And yes, “at the very beginning” also means after you’ve slept together for the first time. Don’t let it go beyond tryst numero dos.
  • There is a beginning and an end to FWB. If this arrangement were meant to be sustainable indefinitely, you’d be dating. Ideally, a FWB relationship where two people are in constant contact will last from one to three months. Any longer and things get complicated. And complication is the exact opposite of what you want a successful FWB relationship to be.
  • There are two sides to the equation. You can get your “benefits”, but don’t forget the “friends” part: talk, laugh, discuss, share a pizza, play some Mario Kart. Get to know each other in a non-biblical way. Nobody likes to feel used. Nobody. Not even you. Treat this as any other kind of (small-r) relationship, not as a transaction.
  • That being said, booty calls are entirely appropriate, as long as they don’t become the standard for your interactions.
  • If you’ve both agreed to see other people while your FWB agreement is still in place, you have no right to be jealous.If you can’t help but be jealous, talk about it.
  • If you start feeling something more than just friendship for the other person, you owe it to both yourself and him/her to come clean. You might start dating. Then again, you might go back to being just friends. But you’ll get your answer.
  • By the same token, if you think you’re interested in someone else in any serious manner, break off the arrangement. You wouldn’t want to feel like a placeholder for someone else, so you shouldn’t make your friend feel the same way.
  • Always take precautions. But hey, you’re an adult, you know that, right? No. Get it in your head: always take precautions.
  • Don’t EVER boast to other people about your arrangement.Especially when you share the same group of friends.
  • Never mention Mila Kunis, Justin Timberlake, Ashton Kutcher and/or Natalie Portman to describe your current situation to your FWB.

If, and only if, you have the capacity and maturity to abide by these rules, give it a shot. If not, don’t even try it. You’ll only end up heartbroken, without a friend and, most poignantly, without benefits of any kind.

Godspeed, and may the Force be with you. TC mark

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