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If you ask me: Rules of friends with benefits

On September 14, 2010

Friends with benefits. Everyone has heard the saying. Everyone knows what it means and most of us have had at least one, with varying degrees of…intimacy. While it isn't always the smartest and/or well executed concept it can be a functional one. IF you know the rules and keep your wits about you.

A lot of us have before and are currently doing this all wrong. No one wants the drama that comes with that. Except maybe me, I don't want it for myself but it is fun to watch other peoples sometimes. What can I say? I'm a writer.

Even still I'm going to give you some rules that make things go a little smoother at least that's what I read.

First, be smart. It's friends with benefits, not a prelude to a relationship. You are friends. People that know each other, acquaintances that sometimes spend time together. And even if it does end up as a relationship you probably shouldn't start thinking that until the other person mentions it.

Another thing to be smart about: if there is going to be any exchange of any…substances, you may both want to get a cheek swab, finger prick, some blood drawn…something. I once heard this great slogan "If it's wet and it's not yours don't touch it!" That may have been about something completely different but it's no less awesome and relevant.

Second, no girlfriend/boyfriend behavior. I think this is the worst one. I see it all the time. No nicknames. No sharing meals and going to movies. Why are you cuddling?! Why are you hanging out and meeting each other's friends and family? Nobody needs to be asking for or performing any favors that don't fall under the friends with benefits definition.

You need a ride to the store? A couple extra bucks? Help with your homework? Call your real friends. The things that you said on day one do not cancel out your actions after that. If you're not in a relationship don't act like it because that's how you end up holding the phone with a grown man crying on the other end…or so I read.

Third, be honest. You don't have to love them. In fact I'm almost convinced that it's better if you really don't like them but you do have to respect your "friend." What can it hurt to let them know the deal? They have no rights to anger but they do have a right to know what they're getting into. At the same time don't share too much. They don't need to know about your childhood or your life's passion. Just give them the basics and keep it moving.

Fourth, know the rules and stick to them. This is the rule that people probably skip the most. You can't just enter one of these situations without an agreement. And it can't be an unspoken one. You have to say "I'll do this but not that." "I'm ok with this but I won't take that." "I'm allergic to this so we have to get that."

Listen, I don't know the specifics but whatever the specifics are you have to say them. Do you want to end up with a stalker because you thought you were just hanging out and they thought you were on the road to marriage? No? Well then you should probably mention that.

Fifth, if you really like them just date them. I know, I know it sounds crazy. But If it's that important to you to have all the benefits of a relationship outside of the ones outlined by the words "friends with benefits" just be a normal adult and date the person of interest.

Here is a truly radical concept to contemplate: It can't be that bad. After you get past the initial discomfort that being responsible brings, it can be fun. Not to mention smarter and safer. I actually prefer that dating and relationships thing. But it's been all but proven that I'm a weirdo.

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