A Friends With Benefits Arrangement Can Work—Here’s How To Do It

In movies and TV shows, friends with benefits relationships always end either with people getting emotionally attached and falling in love or one person getting heartbroken. I’m calling BS.

I’m not saying that those things aren’t a possibility, but as someone who has maintained a handful of FWB relationships in my life, I know that it’s very possible to have a physical relationship with someone without anyone’s feelings getting hurt if you do it right.

Be Honest And Upfront

man and woman sitting and talking
Photo Credit: Pexels / Time Douglas
Photo Credit: Pexels / Time Douglas

From the get-go, make sure that you and this other person understand the relationship between you two is purely physical. Clarity will help make sure that neither party is entering the agreement with the intention of making things a romantic, emotional affair.

Additionally, don’t agree to an FWB situation if you already have feelings hoping that, through your interactions, the other person will want to be with you. All you’re doing is setting yourself up for disappointment.

Choose Your FWB Carefully

woman on top of man on bed, both smiling
Photo Credit: Pexels / Pixabay
Photo Credit: Pexels / Pixabay

This is crucial. Your friend with benefits should be someone that you foster a strong physical attraction to, but I would warn you not to choose someone you like on any other level.

The way that I choose an FWB is that they are always a total hottie, but they have a “personality flaw” in my eyes that I could never emotionally overcome. That way, I am never at risk of getting emotionally attached to them.

Compartmentalize Your FWB

woman and man under bedsheet looking at each other
Photo Credit: Pexels / Andrea Piacquadio
Photo Credit: Pexels / Andrea Piacquadio

By this I mean that your friend with benefits should not be part of your regular life—this means they shouldn’t be a coworker or part of your social circle.

Not only does it prevent things from being uncomfortable or messy if the FWB arrangement ends, but it also helps you maintain healthy boundaries with your FWB—they are only there for when you want physical intimacy.

Don’t Start Doing Other Things With Your FWB

man and woman embracing on top of bed
Photo Credit: Pexels / Ana Maria Moroz
Photo Credit: Pexels / Ana Maria Moroz

Keep things strictly in the bedroom (or the car, or whatever you prefer). Don’t go for dinner with your FWB before hooking up, and don’t linger too long after.

Once the lines start getting blurred, it’s easy for either party to get confused about the nature of the relationship or even start growing emotionally attached. Keep it strictly business and get to know your FWB as little as possible.

Don’t Read Into His Texts

woman looking down at phone screen, texting
Photo Credit: Pexels / Kaboompics
Photo Credit: Pexels / Kaboompics

If your FWB says something nice to you via text, don’t try to look for deeper meaning in it or take it as them wanting an emotional connection with you. It’s likely just an offhand comment they made.

An FWB isn’t for you to analyze and overthink: they are there basically for a transactional agreement. You should keep your texts functional (a classic “you up?”) and take theirs the same way.

Don’t Feel Like You Have To Be Available

woman sitting on bed reading magazine
Photo Credit: Pexels / Daria Shevtsova
Photo Credit: Pexels / Daria Shevtsova

If your FWB asks if you want to link up but you’re busy, tired, or just not in the mood, you can just tell them you’re not feeling it. The whole point of an FWB relationship is that you don’t have to be accountable to each other all the time.

You get to decide mutually when and where things go down, so don’t feel like you have to answer their every call.

Don’t Pillow Talk Or Cuddle

man and woman facing away from each other sleeping in bed
Photo Credit: Pexels / cottonbro
Photo Credit: Pexels / cottonbro

While some would say that sleepovers or any interaction after the naked tango should not happen at all, I personally think those things are fine if kept at surface level.

That said, you shouldn’t be cuddling your FWB at any point or having late-night deep conversations after you do the deed. Either put on your clothes and head home or roll over and sleep on your own side of the bed.

Don’t Get Jealous

man and woman sitting next to each other at the bar
Photo Credit: Pexels / cottonbro
Photo Credit: Pexels / cottonbro

Let’s set the scene: you’re out at the bar one night with some friends and you see your FWB flirting with another person across the room, getting touchy. What you need to do is just turn the other way.

They aren’t your significant other, and you have no right to get angry at them or jealous for giving others attention. If you do start feeling jealous, perhaps you’re a little too emotionally invested.

If You Or The Other Person Starts To Get Feelings, You Have To End Things

man and woman sitting on bed with backs facing each other
Photo Credit: Pexels / Alex Green
Photo Credit: Pexels / Alex Green

Like I said earlier: it’s not an inevitability that this will happen, but there is always a chance that it might. If you or your friend with benefits starts to feel things beyond physical attraction, it’s only responsible to cut things off.

If you’ve started to feel emotionally attached, I suggest just being honest and upfront about your feelings in case they feel the same and, if they don’t, it’s time to part ways.

There Are Other Reasons FWB Situations End

road sign says
Photo Credit: Pexels / Ana Arantes
Photo Credit: Pexels / Ana Arantes

I mean, more often than not, friends with benefits situations end because of reasons beyond emotional complications. It could be that one party moves away, one party gets into a romantic relationship, you decide to pursue other options, or really anything.

Overall, the ending of an FWB arrangement is pretty nonchalant and easy—unlike what you see in the movies. Not everyone is cut out for a friends with benefits relationship (and that’s okay), but there definitely healthy ways to pursue one if you’re interested.