The friends with benefits (FWB) relationship is one of the coolest arrangements in which a guy can find himself. We can prevent the, ahem, loneliness that often comes with being single and simultaneously avoid the sometimes unwanted limitations of having a significant other. In honor of this weekend’s Friends With Benefits—starring Justin Timberlake, Mila Kunis and Mila Kunis’ butt double—here are five tips from our team at The Art of Charm to help you set up a drama-free FWB situation.
1. Talk It Out
Honesty is (damn near) always the best policy when it comes to dealing with a woman’s emotions. Our girl Sadie, 27, notes that it’s much better to chat about the type of arrangement you want before you hook up the first time. That can be scary/tricky to pull off, but you will want to discuss things sooner rather than later…within reason. If you’ve just slept together, handling this over breakfast is better than bringing it up the second you roll off of her. That’s just cold, son.
2. Maintain Respect
Diana, 28, mentions that, even if you start to lose respect for her because, hey, she’s sleeping with you and she’s not your girlfriend, you must always show respect anyway. Spend the night at her place after sex instead of simply bolting out the door. Buy her breakfast every now and then. Note: We said breakfast, not visits to the zoo and weekend trips to meet the fam. If your FWB relationship starts to look like a ’90s rom-com montage, you’ve got a girlfriend, not a f*ck buddy. Additionally, if she decides she wants to be in a committed relationship and you’re simply not that guy for her, don’t lead her on. Let her go find someone willing to provide what she needs and deserves.
3. Be Considerate
One issue with FWB situations is that her status as a significant or not-so-significant other is in limbo, with no real established rules on how she should be treated when you’re out with other friends. Here’s a bone for you though. If you’re out with her in a social setting, and you absolutely must hit on someone else, secure a buddy to flirt with her and keep her entertained/distracted. Kim, 32, a female coach at The Art of Charm, assures us that if you’ve followed the advice above, she knows she’s not your girlfriend, but that fact doesn’t need to be shoved in her face.
4. Date Other Girls
Saying you’re “not looking for a relationship” and then proceeding to see her four times a week exclusively is a classic example of actions speaking louder than words. Seeing other girls will make it as apparent as possible that you’re more of a friend than a boyfriend. Besides, pretty much the whole point of the FWB arrangement (besides no-strings-attached sex) is being able to date around. So, lean into it!
5. Be Ready to Eject
FWBs tend to have a short shelf life. At one point or another, someone (usually her but it’s been known to happen to both sexes) catches feelings and wants to take things to the next level. If you’re getting hints that your casual relationship is turning into something else, bow out and end things amicably before it’s too late. That said, if you’re actually happy with the changes, congrats. Just don’t keep changing your mind back and forth. You’ve gotta be honest not only with her, but with yourself. Good luck.