The Dos and Don’ts of Friends with Benefits

By Lauren Feldman

For those not in-the-know, Urban Dictionary defines “Friends with Benefits” as “two good friends who have casual sex without a monogamous relationship or any kind of commitment.”

For those in the loop, it is a best-of-both-worlds combo of camaraderie and pleasure so good, it seems destined to fail.

With a dating scene at Harvard that can seem as futile as Quadded freshmen hoping to “wish” themselves into a new abode on Housing Day, the elusive FWB relationship can seem pretty appealing. But in order to avoid having a friend with goodies turn into just another disappointing Harvard hook-up, here’s what you need to know.

Friends Forever:

Do: Make sure you’re actually friends with your partner beforehand. The purpose of FWB is to add on to a rapport that it is already there. This relationship should be strong enough to weather the storm when sex is thrown into the equation.

Don’t: Make it all about sex, no matter how good the sex is. FWB should be supplemented by platonic, friend-y activities. Hanging out with your partner in larger groups is a good way to avoid the temptation.

It’s Free, You’re Free:

Do:  Feel comfortable relying on your FWB for emotional support. Doing so is crucial for ensuring that your friendship lasts while and after the benefits dry up. However…

Don’t: Use your FWB as a crutch. A good rule of thumb: If you wouldn’t cry to your partner about your goldfish dying prior to becoming FWB, don’t do it now.

Snap Out of It:

Do: Avoid using relationship-y labels. No matter how adorable “pookie” may seem when he/she flashes that smile, terms of endearment like these make the line between “just friends” and “more than” even murkier. Also, your mutual acquaintances will be grateful.

Don’t: Get jealous when he/she expresses interest in other people, or upset when he/she is suddenly less interested in you. For FWB, your status is “friends,” and you’re both still single.

And the ultimate rule:

Don’t: Be FWB with someone you’re interested in romantically. FWB is all about navigating the fine lines. Unless you’re absolutely sure you don’t want a full-blown relationship, FWB is not for you — someone will end up hurt, and you’ll both regret it.

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