Friends with benefits – or FWBs if you will – is one of those terms that has bumped and grinded its way into modern chatter in recent years, but what exactly does it mean?
Webster’s dictionary (probably) defines it as, ‘the act of two people doing the bed boogie together but with no actual commitment existing between them.’ They are not in a relationship, they are still free to date other people, one of them can call the whole thing off if they want and there are pretty much no obligations.
Sounds good right? Well, while having an FWB is undoubtedly awesome and the sex is good for your health, it does come with a non-existent list of unwritten rules. As long as both of you have read and at least tried to get your head around these rules, we reckon you’re probably good to go.
Ditch the title
‘Hey guys, this is my FWB,’ or, ‘wow, we’re such good FWBs.’ Err, no. Even if you’re one of those people who needs to put a label on everything, friends with benefits needs to be where you draw the line. It’s more one of those tags that other people use to describe your relationship, or something you keep to yourself; it’s not really an expression you should actively use when describing the situation between the two of you.
Besides, the chances are the other person knows what’s going on, and they don’t need your constant – and, let’s face it, slightly awkward – reminders every time the opportunity presents itself. Relax, enjoy your FWB for what they are, but be respectful of how they feel.
Borders and Boundaries
Being friends with someone and getting to have sex with them sounds like a win-win to us. But that’s pretty much as far as it goes. In order to avoid confusion and some potentially messy situations down the line, you need to keep in mind what exactly you’re getting yourself into.
Contrary to what a couple of Hollywood releases in 2011 might suggest, friends with benefits and no strings attached are not the same thing and while casual dating and having one night stands is great, they also get wrongly thrown into the mix. The sooner you define your boundaries the better.
Mind the Gap
We can’t always choose who we are attracted to, but we can choose who to be FWBs with, and there are a few things to consider that make the whole thing a lot easier.
A housemate, neighbor or actual friend (and by actual, we mean a friend that you’re not sexing) for example is probably not the best idea as one of the most important things for FWBs is distance. If yours lives in the room next door or goes to the same places as you and your friends to party, you’ll find yourself noticing what they’re up to a hell of a lot more than you want to, which is not what good FWBs do.
This one’s a toughie, and it’s where most people normally come unstuck because developing feelings for someone you’re getting it on with seems like the natural order of things.
So if you really want your FWB relationship to stay just that, you need to keep a lid on your emotions. Don’t meet your FWBs family, don’t learn too much about them and don’t look for excuses to empathize with their life because all these things make your connection stronger, which is kind of the opposite of what this is all about.
It’s just sex, keep it that way.