Rules of Engagement: 5 Things Friends with Benefits Is NOT

A friend of mine was recently thinking of delving into new territory: the complicated land of friends with benefits. She’s been in a bit of a drought but has a hectic schedule, so she isn’t looking for anything serious. Thinking this setup could give her the best of both worlds, she asked for advice on how these relationships work—as if I’m some sort of expert. But the more questions she asked, the more I realized she’s just not cut out for this type of situation. In an effort to prepare her before she took the dive off the deep end, i.e., stop her from getting her feelings hurt down the line, I had to lay out five things friends with benefits are not entitled to.

No. 1: Dates
If “friends with benefits” meant a man was going to take you out and spend money on you, it would be called dating. That’s not to say you can’t ever grab a bite to eat—on the way to the house—but traditionally, wining and dining is not a part of the equation. If you want food, you’re going to have to get it on your own time and own your own dime, before it’s supposed to go down.

No. 2: Casual Conversation
“But can I call him just to talk?” When my friend asked that I had to pull an elementary school teacher move. Sure, you can, as in you have the ability to. But if it’s too far before the sun goes down, don’t be surprised if he doesn’t answer. Conversation with a friend with benefits buddy will most definitely be causal. It should go something like this: “What are you doing? Nothing? Come Over.” Or, “Are you busy? OK, I’m on my way.” You’ve probably got about a 3-5 minute max on any phone conversation before you get to the bottom line: when are we meeting up? The same goes for texts. Sweet “Good morning,” “Goodnight,” “Hope you have a good day” texts aren’t really a part of the deal. You can send them if you like, but don’t expect it to be reciprocated.