Thought Catalog

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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    • http://www.oneyearintexas.com Perfect Circles

      These are the best rules for this I have seen compiled in one place.  However, I have to give the same advice I always give to those who might consider it down the line: don’t bother.  Not worth it.

    • Sophia

      haha love the last line.

    • jinks

      soo. don’t suppose you have any tips for if your friend with benefits is also your ex-boyfriend, who’s in another relationship?

      • Anonymous

        Does anyone?

      • http://twitter.com/iamthe0nly Jordana Bevan

        self respect

      • Roy

         Break Up. For real.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VYDVROKY4PUBOKUHB3QF42FH2Y Paul S

      This defines logic. How can you sleep (or even just make out) with someone who you have no romantic feelings for? It might be lop-sided, but it has to be there at least somewhat.

      • Kj739

        how much making out do FWB’s actually do, I feel like that in itself is pretty intimate and while it may be a good way to start things off I would imagine these people to kiss a lot less than a couple in a real relationship would. 

    • Margaret Thatcher

      I don’t understand “friends with benefits.” I understand f-buddies, and I understand being in a relationship, but to me, if you’re sleeping with someone, going to the movies, getting coffee, gazing at one another, talking on the phone all the time, etc., you’re DATING.

      If you want NSA, that’s fine, but if you don’t keep that in the bedroom there’s going to be trouble.

      Further…if you like someone enough to hang out with them a lot, and you’re attracted to them enough to want to sleep with them, why AREN’T you dating?

      • miccamissa

        I almost completely agree with what you said, except this:  I’m current in this sort of friends w benefits situation because my “friend” and I live far apart and neither of us is confident enough to maintain a long-distance relationship. As another friend describes it, “so I guess you guys’s status is like.. ‘if you are in the same city, you get first dibs'”. Unfortunately, that is the case. 

        • Roy

           “first dibs”. That’s funny. And kinda sad. Maybe that’s where we’re all headed.. having ‘first dibs’ relationships with different people in different cities around the world.

      • Tara

        Liking someone enough to be friends with them and liking someone enough to be in a serious relationship are fundamentally different things. 

    • boherubi

      sounds like the copy of that horrible movie called, friends with benefits, starring a former nsync-er who cant act.

    • Brooke

      Never works, ever! Someone always gets hurt.

      • Guestropod

        not true

        • Claire

          I’ve had a friend with benefits for 10 years and it’s awesome.

        • Roy

           yeah, that’s cuz after 10 years it’s easier to say that you’ve had an awesome 10 year FWB status, instead of saying that you’ve had a 10 year long relationship with zero intimacy.

        • Claire

          I have a boyfriend, he has a girlfriend. It works.

        • Alex

          And that’s what we call cheating…

        • Claire

          No shit.

        • Elizabeth

          Not if both relationships are open.

        • Sam

          Open relationships… Something I may never understand.

        • Guestropod

          I’ve had several short-term friends with benefits things and it’s always worked out.  My one friend and I still hook up if he’s in town, but he’s a committed bachelor and I have a boyfriend so there’s no angst and shit.  

        • Claire

          Exactly. It can work. It doesn’t always, but it can.

    • Guest

      Entirely true in process, but practice usually falls apart (for me at least) at the feelings. Thanks for making me come to a few realizations about my own place. 
      I also just read this while listening to The Scientist, probably not the best recommended combination.

    • Anonymous

      Never sleep over. Waking up next to someone is exactly the kind of intimacy FWBs should avoid.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=612170317 Christina Carroll

      To me, a bullet proof platonic relationship and a sexual relationship are pretty mutually exclusive.

    • Ella

      I have a friend with whom I suppose I have some sort of understanding, though the supposition means we never spelled it out and therefore already broke the first of these rules. When another person asked us what was going on between us (lucky rule 13 violated) he put it as succinctly as I ever heard it: if we end up hooking up, that’s great and it’ll be fun, but if we don’t, we’ll still have fun. thing is, I don’t see him enough to be “seeing” him; don’t talk to him enough to be “talking to him, and yet we can pick up like old friends do whenever we run into one another. Maybe you just have to be on the same level of commitment phobia: enough to balk at the idea of changing your facebook status, but not enough to be a complete social cretin and avoid being friends with people you get along with and are comfortable enough to be naked around.

      • Ella

        Or maybe we’re the social cretins for being so comfortable as to get naked together, whatever.

    • http://www.rtylergray.com/ TylerG

      Combine this with the ladder theory and the D.E.N.N.I.S system and then you’ll really have something 

    • abbey

      had a friends with benefits thing that lasted over 5 years and then got dumped/replaced unexpectedly. never again. at least with a relationship you can get some kind of closure; in FWB arrangement, both parties technically do not have to be held accountable for their actions

    • http://www.facebook.com/discobiscuits93 Kayla Ann Stockman

      Even with rules… not worth it.

    • http://twitter.com/tannnyaya Tanya Salyers

      It only works for that exact time period, someone always gets feelings – especially if you do the whole “friends” thing to “not feel used.”  Having tried and failed multiple times, I suggest not trying.

    • Annamorous

      So how do u not feel something for someone you’re willing to sleep with?

      • http://twitter.com/emilcDC Emil

        Quite the opposite. Sometimes you care a lot for someone, and have strong physical chemistry, but you know that dating them would ruin the friendship. If you don’t care for someone, don’t even try sleeping with them.

        • Jake

          I’m guessing this leaves out one night stands all together ?

        • http://twitter.com/emilcDC Emil

          Different set of rules for that. Nowhere near as nice.

    • curious

      Im actially dating my former fwb. Is this wrong?

    • Waicool

      “benefit buddies”

    • Brad

      There are only certain a select few types of girls that can handle a friends with benefits relationship. And those are girls with family issues, daddy issues and just plain sluts. But without these misfits, there wouldn’t be so many happy guys out there who got to bang so many girls. These kinds of girls also happen to be the best in bed and the most adventurous. It goes without saying that dating one of these creatures is a terrible idea. I know quite a few of them and bang them whenever I’m bored, which is often. They know that I’m not interested in dating them and stop pursuing to save face. What a great deal!

    • Peter

      Men and women are equals. This does not mean that they are equal in every single thing they do. For example, men are, on average, physically stronger than women. It is much easier for a semi attractive (even a 6/10) woman to go out and get laid. The same cannot be said about men. Men have to work at it, have some skill (game) and thereby get a woman to sleep with them. It is a LOT harder for an equally attractive man to get women than it is the other way around. This is one of reasons behind why we, as a society, naturally celebrate men who are successful in bedding multiple women; while at the same time shame women who bed multiple men.
      Let us briefly visit the topic of virginity from both perspectives. Virginity in a man is not a desirable state or label when it comes to an attribute that the opposite sex wants. This is because he has obviously not been preselected by other women. However, female virginity is not looked at negatively in the least by men. If she looks decent, no man cares if the girl is a virgin or not. In fact, a female virgin is often wanted more.
      Now don’t get me wrong, men LOVE sluts. We will never turn down an opportunity to sleep with a good looking slut. Partly because she’s good in bed, partly because it’s sex. But any decently intelligent, self-respecting man will know that it is a terrible idea to emotionally involve himself (i.e. date) a slutty girl. That would be a very dumb move. Why would any man want to get emotionally involved with a girl who’s had 15+ sexual partners? We would just be setting ourselves up for failure. There are many nice worthy girls out there who don’t have daddy issues and haven’t slept with an entire fraternity house. But, by all means, fvck the brains out of sluts in the meanwhile.
      Most guys can detect when a girl is a slut by the first few dates and by what he hears about the girl from other people and from the girl herlself. We put this information together and figure out if she is dating material or not. If not, I like most guys, will still go in for the prize but have no intention of following through with dating the dirty little tart.
      To put it simply, a lock that can be opened by many keys is a useless lock and of little worth. But a key that can open many locks is a master key and is valuable.

      • Noelle Fielding

        Oh yes, sluts are females who don’t have emotions. And nice work with the penis metaphor in those  last 2 lines. Misogynist.

        • Chewa_11

          I’m a self respecting woman, and I completely did not read those last two lines as misogynist. The way I see it, everyone (man or woman) guards their hearts. Those who do not guard them well and let anyone in is likely to have been used and may be broken. Those who guard their hearts well, and is enough of a catch that many other people want to let him/her in is valuable.

        • Noelle Fielding

          But the point of this article is that sex does not have to equal “letting someone in your heart”.

    • Claire

      Mine has lasted for 10 years.

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/XK2HMWXAT4SMO74IPXPTU5RKTE Peter

        nice. 10 years of free sex. Most women would have gotten something more. But that’s good for the guy. Although your value does decrease quite a bit after 32-35.

    • Mark

      “I missed my ex bad.  My family and friends were tired of me being so upset one of them actually ordered a Love Spell for me From Agbon temple I had no idea what they had done. They ordered the indiapowerfulspell@gmail.com as it your best and most powerful and effective Love Spell. Needless to say, I was shocked to see my wife at the door a week later with her eyes full of tears,  .I cannot believe how well my spell worked.  I recently ordered a Money Spell because who doesn’t need extra money?”

    • http://twitter.com/gypzAndy AndreaCarmona

      I found this very useful.

    • Mary

      you nice respected women just can’t enjoy sex, that’s why you call sluts women who can, anyone can have sex with no emotions, …the “respected, uptight women” can’t, maybe because they see sex as a violation of their bodies,…you probably think of yourselves as sluts even when you have sex with your husbands, actually maybe that turn you on, just remember to pray after that,
      as for the men who boost about banging sluts, …don’t be pathetic!
      you don’t bang anyone beside your wives

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      […] the first time six years ago. The truth is, something has happened between us by now. The truth is, he asked me if he could kiss me while we stood on the curb outside of my house six years ago — and I said yes. The truth is I […]

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