Over the holiday weekend, I had a discussion with some friends about their expectations of a “friend with benefits” and was immediately confused. Mainly because some of what they described seemed more to me like a f*ck buddy. I think I discovered that people tend to define them differently. So I’ve taken it upon myself to lay out the biggest differences and similarities from my perspective.
1. Buddy vs Friend. Yes, I know those words seem very similar but they truly aren’t. A friend is someone I can rely on in times of need; I can hang out with them on any given day and enjoy the time I spend with them. A buddy is NOT a friend. They’re someone you’re cool with; they’re not a terrible person but they’re probably the last person you’d call if you were in need of immediate help. The difference between the two when sex is involved is that your FWB may stay around all day, all weekend, or heck all week and you actually enjoy spending time with them in between sex. You may even go out with them at some point during your escapade because you’re friends, so honestly no one would think anything of it. Now a f*ck buddy is way more limited than a friend with benefits (FWB.) They come over for sex and leave. No spending the night, no outings, no dinner, nothing. They have one job and one job only. I don’t care about your opinion on social issues, let alone who you’re voting for, because it just…doesn’t matter. If we see one another in public you may get the cordial head nod, but not much more than that.
2. FWB is riskier. Let’s be honest, your feelings will be involved because you’re involved with someone you care about. While you may not want to be in a romantic relationship with them, you’re not necessarily just platonic anymore. The definition of a platonic relationship is one marked by the absence of physical or sexual desire. Being in that place of limbo can be very confusing. You may start to feel like you want more. You may even start to feel like you’re in a relationship. My suggestion would be when you start to have those feelings, talk about them immediately. Having this discussion sooner than later can be crucial to saving your friendship after the arrangement is over, or continuing a strong relationship throughout the arrangement. Make sure that the both of you are clear on feelings and the limits of your relationship, because if other friends find out, they will bring an entire new level of pressures.
3. The most obvious similarity is sex. At the end of the day that’s the whole reason people get into either situation; they need a go to person when their needs are urging to be met. The issue, for some, is that it’s not necessarily consistent. You could get some this week and have to wait another month to get some again. Or you could get some three times every week. It really depends on how buddy-buddy or friendly you are with one another. Also, neither guarantee exclusivity; otherwise, you might as well be in a relationship with one another. While you may not want to know about or hear about the other people your partner is involved with, you must realize that it’s always a possibility. And you honestly don’t have a right to get into your feelings about it because hey, we’re not in a relationship pal. If the non-exclusivity bothers you, then I’d suggest you stick to a f*ck buddy, this way your feelings won’t be as hurt if/when you find out you aren’t the only one.