Can Friends With Benefits Ever Really Work? [He Said/She Said]

Simple answer: Yes. Yeah, the majority of cases don’t work out – people get too attached, it gets too complicated, there’s judgement from other people, or it just ends awkwardly. However, as long as people go into FWB relationships being completely honest about what they expect and what they can handle, it can totally work out. So basically, there just need to be some solid rules, and agreement from the get go that both people are happy with the same arrangement. Here’s what needs to happen for the whole friends with benefits thing to work:

1. Firstly, both people need to be honest about whether they’re the type of people that can handle this kind of relationship. Do you love dates, cuddling and PDA? Maybe no strings attached isn’t for you. But if you’re single, don’t have time for a relationship and just want to get some action now and again, perfect. You should go into a FWB relationship expecting just that — a friend with benefits, nothing more.

2. When choosing a friend with benefits, be careful. It should be someone you feel really comfortable with – the great part of having a sex buddy is that you can try new things and not be judged – but not someone you really want to date. Maybe a frat bro who’s fun, but completely irresponsible. It absolutely cannot be your long term friend who you’ve always secretly thought you’d end up with. It cannot be the perfect guy for you. It cannot be a guy you really liked, who rejected you and now proposes a casual fling. Also no one that your friends or family love, there’ll be way too much pressure and it will just get awkward.

3. Related to that point, be nice when choosing your FWB. Don’t choose a guy you know is in love with you, it will just be really, really sad.

4. Set up some rules. It sounds formal, but it’s completely necessary. You need to decide exactly what the terms of your relationship are before you can start having fun. For example, would you both be okay with hooking up with other people? Can you be each other’s dates to events? Is it okay to hang out without hooking up, or is that venturing too far into relationship territory? You need to make sure you’re both on the same page to avoid anyone getting hurt.

5. Be respectful of said rules. Don’t exploit your FWB; use them for exactly what they agreed to, which means not calling them up crying and drunk, but also not treating them like your own disposable sex toy.

6. Work out exactly what you’re telling people. This doesn’t seem that important, but it really is. Are you telling people you’re hooking up? How many people? Be wary of telling your more romantic friends, they’ll put ideas in your head and say things like ‘you guys totally belong together!’. Both people need to be on the same page, you don’t want random people asking you about the arrangement if you thought you were keeping it private.

7. Be prepared to cut things off. The friends with benefits relationship probably won’t last forever, and the general case is that someone gets too emotionally involved and then it’s awkward for everyone. OR both people get emotionally involved and they start dating. If you feel like the situation is getting a bit much, or just isn’t fun anymore, cut it off immediately to avoid any serious problems. Hopefully if you do it early enough you can still be friends.

So that’s my opinion, friends with benefits can totally work out – it’s a great option for the busy college girl who doesn’t want commitment but still wants some fun. But obviously, some people are cut out for it, others aren’t. You shouldn’t feel bad if it is, or isn’t for you, the friends with benefits relationship is meant to be fun, so enjoy the option!

Do you think friends with benefits can ever really work? Leave a comment below and click here to see what He Said about no strings attached sex!



  1. jess says:

    Think you're forgetting one: Ex's should not become fwb unless you *know* all feelings are dead on both sides. If it was an emotionally loaded relationship and/or you seriously considered marrying them? Instantly put em on the no-go list. Fwb's are supposed to fuck your brains out, not fuck em up

    1. Ellen - University of Manchester says:

      Totally agree, considered putting 'no exes, EVER' but I figure maybe, in some unknown case it's actually worked out… But definitely, if there have ever been any serious feelings, complete no-go area

  2. inthewarofmylife says:

    I have/am definitely not good at setting these rules or following them. I am happy that you guys brought up the Ex's because that has been such a problem for me and so many of my friends. I think that the important thing to realize when picking a FWB and making these rules is that you have to respect yourself enough to pick someone who respects you, and ditch someone who doesn't respect the rules, or else it all goes to shit.

    1. Ellen - University of Manchester says:

      So true!

  3. aimee518 says:

    I think you make great points here, especially about not being FWB with someone you actually want to date. If either of you have expectations that it will turn into more, there's a very good chance that it will never work out because you are constantly disappointed by the fact that they other person doesn't have those feelings. Great post!

    1. Ellen - University of Manchester says:

      thanks, glad you liked it! :)

  4. Anonynous says:

    Yeah, giving excuses for people to seek shallow satisfaction. Really mature of you. Slut.

    1. SmokyApple says:

      Again….someone who cannot separate the message from the messenger. Who gave you the right to insult the author of this post ? Grow up !!!

    2. SmokyApple says:

      Oh and it was SO brave of you to not put your name where your mouth is…anonymous posting…really, how dare you !!?

  5. Outsp0ken says:

    I am considerably older than college age but FWB is a delicate balance that is rare at best. In my experience, men are the ones that cannot handle the situation and resort to lies. Tell me the truth no matter what it is; I can handle the truth over a lie any day. Keep in mind there is a difference between the truth and being intentionally rude, mean, and unnecessarily hurtful. Bottom line this is really about not obeying, following, and honoring the rules for FWB that you both agreed to in the beginning so be very selective about your choice. Make sure it is someone that you know and can truly trust as with all intimate relationships. As for me, I have only ever had one FWB situation that was a successful arrangement and we are still friends to this day, twenty-eight years later.

    1. Ellen - University of Manchester says:

      Agree with all of this! And very cool to know that in some cases it can work out!

  6. […] Can Friends With Benefits Ever Really Work? [He Said/She Said] ( […]

  7. You fooling yourself says:

    It does not work and cannot. And it is the guy who cannot handle it. The best thing in the world is being attracted to a girl you want to be around besides the hook-up time. This is what make a long term committment possible. I think people (usually just one side) are afraid to "commit", are afraid their friend will reject them b/c they do not feel the same way and/or suffer from "grass is always greener" syndrome. I ended up marrying my FWB almost 20 years ago (I got here from a link to the 10 D-bag types – sounds like parents night). We are very happy and the only regret I have is the pain I caused by openly hooking up with a few other girls that lasted one-night or few days. I got a taste of my own medicine (although it was just my imagination – she never did it) several months after. If you are friends and are attracted to each other – what more could you want. The damage will kill a good thing or haunt you forever. trust me – I still feel bad when I think of the look on her face that I was too stupid to recognize in my drunken D-Bagness and it comes up in arguments to this day.

  8. Carmen says:

    Being FWB will never work. Because eventually feelings will start to form, whether its the female having feelings for the male or the male having for the female.

  9. […] Can Friends With Benefits Ever Really Work? [He Said/She Said] ( […]

  10. Antonietta says:

    So basically, there just need to be some solid rules, and agreement from the get go that both people are happy with the same arrangement. Here’s what needs to happen for the whole friends with benefits thing to work:

  11. Lara says:

    I really do think that there is a fine line here. He may not be the ideal guy, whether he smokes/drinks, unemployed, x/ druggo with mental issues or tattooed…you can still develop feelings for one another that will leave you wanting more and very sad. I thought it would be a quick fling drunk at a party with a male friend..there was that instant chemistry..the love bubble…where we are like magnets…want to be around eachother a lot..becoming addicted to the serotin love chemical perhaps? We both know there’s a high chance it won’t turn into anything serious coz he has his issues and I have mine. The hardest and best thing is that we have stronger feelings for eachother that don’t really go anywhere. It’s a convenient option that can cause some distress when you realize your in love with someone your not supposed to be with. If you want to try this establish some guidelines…you must be self-disciplined, mentally strong and stick to what you want…don’t let others opinions drown your plans..its your own choice and you should be responsible for whatever happens. USE protection!!! Make sure you respect eachother cameras or other people. Chances are you will develop some feelings but these can be controlled by reminding yourself why ur not with that person..hang out with them in a group of friends, avoid touching or flirting outside of sex-time? Don’t see or contact the person too much? Sex 1-2 every 1-2wks?

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  13. blogc2011 says:

    if you’re single, don’t have time for a relationship and just want to get some action now and again, perfect. You should go into a FWB relationship expecting just that — a friend with benefits, nothing more.オーダースーツ

  14. a3060395 says:

    I’ve said that least 3060395 times. SKC was here…

  15. […] Can Friends With Benefits Ever Really Work? [He Said/She Said] […]

  16. Sammy sweet says:

    I actually lost my virginity to my FWB. We hooked up for a couple of months, but he said he didn't want a relationship ( I know I felt used ). We still talk sometimes but I know he had feelings for me, I still care about him very much even though I have a boyfriend and he has a girlfriend. During that time, we were living different lives it just wasn't meant to be. I would never recommend this to anyone, it really hurt me not worth the pain for a few fun nights.

  17. Jules says:

    It can get complicated. I've had a FWB that was just that. I used to work with him, we flirted a bit but we were in relationships. Then couple of years later we hooked up and did for a while. I was attracted to him but I almost disliked him (too strong a word). But it was perfect because I've known him long enough not to idealize.
    Second was a guy I met through a dating site. He was to move overseas in couple of months. Only FWB but feelings developed. I stopped seeing him when it came out.
    And the current is the most complicated. I actually like him. I'd be inclined to say that we are reasonably close friends- though our acquaintance is closely tied with sex.
    I genuinely like him. Possibly in a romantic sense. We've always been really open- though I can't really bring myself to tell him I like him romantically. It's a little confusing because he's nice past what I'd expect from a fling, but that's perhaps because he is genuinely a good friend.
    Long story short- I've admitted to myself that I am into him. I have also wrapped my mind around it. I am okay with him hooking up with other people (though I don't want to discuss it in great detail). I think that for now I can go with our 'rules' even though it was me putting them in place originally. If it gets too much I'll just break it off.
    But yeah. FWB is something quite complicated and less than ideal. I think the most important part is treating each other fair- my request was that he doesn't mess with my feelings, I have already consented to have sex with him, no need to play with my head…

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