The 3 Types Of Friends With Benefits & How To Navigate Them

While you scrape up the last of your birthday money in order to buy small gifts for your roommates (probably mini bottles of Jose Cuervo), and you search for your hot af Mrs. Claus costume for your upcoming holiday party, you wonder to yourself if you should get Jake a gift.

Who’s Jake? He’s not your boyfriend, but he’s certainly not just a friend. In layman’s terms, he’s your FWB.

But what really is a FWB anyways? Is it someone you only sleep with on the weekends after the bars close? Is it someone you sleep with constantly, but never go on real “dates?” Is it someone you go to the movies with, get brunch with, and sleep with, but aren’t exclusive with?

According to Urban Dictionary, a FWB, or “Friends With Benefits” is “a casual relationship implying no commitment, but involving companionship and some of the physical things” (like hooking up).

If you’re wondering if you should get “Jake” or your FWB, a Christmas gift, this definition seems to spell it out for you. But is this the end-all, be-all definition of a FWB? Certainly not.

First off, this definition claims that FWB get all the “benefits” of being in a relationship, but who said that all benefits have to do with just the physical stuff? Personally, I think one of the biggest benefits is having a guy who is always there for you, rather than a guy who is only there for you when he wants to get it on.

Regardless, FWB fall into three general categories:

First, there’s the strictly the physical FWB. You don’t know anything about this guy besides his first name, where he lives, and how he likes to get it on. You have no idea where he’s from, what he does, or what he’s interested in. You only see him when all other prospects have left the bar and/or not responded to your drunk texts. Sometimes he comes over, does the deed, and leaves; whereas other times he sleeps over, but makes sure to leave early in the morning. This type of FWB is safe if you’re worried about catching feelings, but can leave you feeling pretty used if you’re not as turned on as he is.

Second, there’s the “friendly” FWB. This dude and you were pals for a bit, then one mimosa led to another and suddenly he was hitting it from behind. You guys are still friends, and you still do friendly things (such as grabbing beers or watching Netflix) when you’re not sleeping together. However, this type of relationship can get real awkward real quick in a couple of situations. First off, if one of you starts seeing someone else and asks the other for advice. Second off, if one of you starts developing real feelings, but “doesn’t want to ruin the friendship.”

Third, there’s the developing FWB. I say developing because while you’re initially just fooling around, it has the potential to develop into something more. In our backwards generation, relationships don’t always blossom from consecutive dates, they sometimes blossom from drunk hookups on a Tuesday night. You two may start of as a drunken hookup, but after a few more booty calls you guys actually start to get to know each other and bond. This could lead to sober hangouts and date-like situations, until BAM he actually takes you to a nice restaurant before sleeping with you!

While all three of these categories can lead to despair and disaster, there’s always a glimmer of hope at the end of the love tunnel. The best way to navigate the confusion that comes with a FWB is to remain clear on what you want and what is unacceptable to you. If you want more, don’t settle for less. If you’re not okay with how the guy is treating you, let him know. Nobody ever found happiness from settling or staying silent. If a FWB isn’t for you and you want to find love the traditional way, let a guy know where your standards are at.

Photo courtesy of Anna Malmberg

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