Hold this guide as a bible!
Understand the Concept of Friends With Benefits
With westernisation taking over Indian society, we are gradually learning to embrace it instead of fighting it. And with that, we have begun to accept the existence of friends with benefits, too. But it has become so much that we have forgotten that we are not made for it.
Having commitment issues, casual relationships and moving in together are all western concepts. In India, we like having a serious relationship. We become sure about our love after we begin a relationship with someone and not before getting into a relationship with them. To summarise, we like to have love around us. So, a commitment issue is an incredibly foreign topic for us. Our culture teaches us to work on a relationship until you die. And that is also the reason that the divorce rate has been so low in India for such a long time.
This arrangement also comes with a set of rules
But things are changing. Men feel the need to be free. And women don’t want to be with someone they don’t like or know anymore. Safe to say, we are not willing to adjust now, which brings us back to the western influence. If you don’t like it, leave it. And one such influence has made its way in the Indian society called Friends with Benefits. Amidst all these emerging ideologies about relationships, having a friend with benefits is like an escape that we want. A friend with benefits is a special friend whom you can casually hookup with but have no emotional baggage for. The answer to all your prayers, no? I can hear the men agreeing.
Like all things, this arrangement also comes with a set of rules. Unbreakable rules! Rules that if you don’t follow can mess up things for you. So, before you completely misunderstand the concept and do something that you should not, let’s check out the 12 basic rules for every successful friends-with-benefits relationship.
1. Be honest about what you want exactly
This is like an unspoken rule about engaging in a friends-with-benefits situation. And it is probably the most important rule. (One rule to rule them all!!!) Although you are in this for fun and adventure, it is essential that you keep the communication channel open. Make honesty a strict policy. In fact, be as casual as you can be. Remember that they are your friend. And you don’t have to be hesitant to put across your point in a friendship.
You see, the whole problem stems out of a simple fact that people have a massive misconception about friends with benefits as an arrangement. The concept is relatively new in India. The films we watch influences us primarily. Heck, those films are the ones that end with a romantic song where the boy and the girl walk toward the sun holding each other’s hands. And once again we are assured that all casual hookups end in a relationship. Eventually. But that’s what romcoms do. They are feel-good movies. And that is why they are our guilty pleasure. They are not to be mistaken to be realistic or logical.
If you are looking for just a casual one night stand, let them know. Tell them if you tend to get emotionally drawn to a person after sleeping with them. If you don’t want them to be hooking up with other people while they are with you, let them know about that, too. Be clear and honest about what you want.
2. Keep it strictly physical if you are not looking to be emotional
Some people feel keeping your friend with benefits strictly physical is kind of derogatory. They say that it makes them feel like they are some kind of sex workers. But there is nothing slutty about satisfying your sexual needs without having to carry emotional baggage around. Firstly, you are doing it with someone who is giving their consent. Secondly, there is no monetary exchange involved (MANDATORY!!). So, as long as you are sure of what you want, you are good to go.
The biggest problem with involving your emotions in this kind of arrangement is that it makes you develop certain expectations from your partner. And it is not fair to this other person because honestly, you don’t get the right to latch your feelings onto another being like a conjured up ghost. However, if you are looking to be emotional, might as well find an actual partner because a friend with benefits would only be contradictory to what you desire. After all, it is called ‘no strings attached’ for a reason.
3. Dining out is okay but going on a date is NOT
Understand the no-nos. The things that you should not do with a friend with benefits. You cannot ask them to cuddle you. No meeting families and even if you do, you should avoid acting like you are involved in any way while you are around them. And most importantly, NEVER go out on a date with them.
First, let’s differentiate between a dine-out and a date. A dine-out does not end with either a kiss or sex. But a good date has a high possibility of ending with both. The bill at a dine-out is taken care of by both the individuals, whereas you know what happens on a date. In fact, the topics of conversation are also completely different at both these events. Dates are more personal whereas dine-outs are not something where you constantly worry about making an impression.
4. Keep no room for jealousy
If you come to think of it, having a friend with benefits is far more complicated than having an actual, emotional relationship. Such an arrangement requires a high level of maturity, honesty and above all an ability to comprehend complex relations. Being a human being (wow, that was a weird sentence), it is not easy to control your emotions or keep a check on how you respond to situations. So, slip-ups happen. Don’t beat yourself up.
As mentioned earlier, it is completely all right if you don’t want your coital companion to be shacking it up with someone else. Maybe you don’t feel it is safe enough for you. Perhaps you have hygiene issues or maybe you are not entirely fond of the idea of sleeping with someone who is involved with someone else. You don’t wish to be the other man/woman. The reason could be anything. But the point is that there should be some rationale behind it. They should be valid.
You can’t get jealous if you find your friend with benefits flirting with someone or trying to get into a relationship. That is off limits. And if your possessiveness is getting the better of you, then I am afraid, this may not be an ideal thing for you to get yourself into.
5. Don’t make being friends with benefits a habit. Keep looking for a relationship if you feel you are ready
Sure, you are just out of a long, tiring relationship. You are emotionally exhausted, and you don’t feel attracted enough to anyone to start a relationship with them. Perhaps you are mentally worn out. But isn’t that always how this type of arrangement occurs? Well, not trying to psychoanalyse you or anything but sometimes, you are just afraid of getting hurt. This is when you put up your defences. Similar to how a porcupine protects itself.
If done correctly and for the right reasons, having a casual sex buddy may serve as refreshment before the next course (still talking about relationships but good to know you are paying attention!). But just like you cannot go through an entire day with only refreshments, it is essential that you keep looking for someone whom you can date and have a complete relationship, as well. That is when you are ready to start dating again.
6. Never hook up with an actual friend just because it is convenient
Now, this is something that you must be utmost careful about. No matter how much the concept of friends with benefits fascinates you, you ought to remember that you live in a shy society. And while you would think that there is nothing wrong with casually hooking up with someone, not everyone around you will agree with it. So, if you learn that one of your good friends is looking for something that you are, don’t jump them. Take a moment to think. Things do not always end well when something like this steams up.
Are you willing to get benefits from your friend at the cost of your friendship? How important is this friendship for you? It is advisable that you avoid having such an arrangement with a friend whom you have known for a long time. Because even if things don’t work out, you would not be losing two things at one time.
Don’t be afraid to catch feels
On the contrary to what Katy Perry proposes, you should be afraid to catch feels if they are for your friend with whom you are sleeping. Besides, Katy Perry should be the last person you should be taking relationship advice from. For someone who is always in control, this might seem like a bit of silly advice because you might think that you can manage your feeling well enough to let them become a problem for you. However, don’t forget you should never play with fire. Even if you have thought twice before doing it.
The whole idea behind friends with benefits is that you get to have sex without having an emotional string attached to them. So, when you bring your feelings into the picture, it begins to get ugly. Hence, it is recommended that you steer clear from catching feelings for your arousal acquaintance.
8. Never intentionally break up an already established relationship
One of the worst mistakes that people do when it comes to having a friend with benefit is that they end up getting involved with someone who is already in a relationship with someone else. Friends with benefits is an arrangement that is ideal only for people who are single. If you not single, you don’t get to have a friend with benefit. And if you do, that would be cheating.
Always remember what your objective for getting busy with a friend is. Yes, there has to be an objective for when you are planning to sleep with someone. Is it to get over a breakup? Do you think you don’t need to be in a relationship just to have sex? Are you doing this to boost your confidence? It could be anything. But there has to be something.
9. The only calls you should be making to each other are booty calls
Before you get into a friends-with-benefits situation, you should swear by this rule! You can’t call someone you are only sleeping with to have a midnight chat. Things between the two of you should be limited only to the bedroom. Anything outside that should be strictly avoided. No coffee dates in the balcony, no meeting on the terrace to talk about your feelings, no crying about exes. This should be a fun relationship and anything apart from that would be criminal.
You can call your sleep buddy only when you want to sleep with them. Forget what you have seen in films. You can’t expect to have a close, personal relationship with them while you are secretly bumming each other. Don’t cross that border.
10. Don’t do everything you are asked to do because you feel that you have to oblige
You might do this in a relationship because they are different. In a relationship, you have to do everything you can to make the other person happy. You should be at your best behaviour and be willing to do anything that would bring a smile to their face. This is the foundation of every good relationship. Also, it means you have to sacrifice your wishes sometimes to make your partner happy, including doing certain things that they like in bed that you don’t.
Having a friend with benefits is hugely different from having a normal relationship. You are not obliged to do everything you are asked to do. Even if the person practically begs you for it. You can say no because there are no emotions involved. You are just sleeping with each other. Taking care of their feelings is not your obligation. That said, being a friend with benefit does not give you the right to be a jerk as seen in most films (where a devilishly handsome man gets away with everything even by being a jerk to the people he is sleeping with). You should always be nice to people. But you don’t have to do anything with which you don’t agree.
11. Remember that they are not your backup
A backup is someone with whom you have a kind of verbal contract. You know you can fall back on them if nothing else works for you. Of course, in Indian society, that backup is not a person. It is an arranged marriage. But you get the point. You can’t be having sex with your backup. At least that should not be the only foundation of your relationship.
You can only have a backup with a person whom you have known for a long time and actually like outside the bedroom. Sure, if the wind blows in a different direction, you may get to know your friend with benefits apart from their bedroom skills. That is if you both agree that you want to take things to the next level. But that is a different matter altogether. Till then, consider your special friend as a benefit only and nothing more.
12. Don’t expect a relationship to pop out of it eventually
Elaborating on the above point, you should not expect your special arrangement to turn into a relationship. You need to keep a check on the level of involvement you have with each other. This means you both can’t just spend so much time together that it begins to look like you have moved in together. Also, you can’t leave your stuff over at each other’s place. You can’t let yourselves feel that you have an actual normal relationship. That is a dangerous territory to get into. Therefore, unless your objectives change, don’t expect to have a relationship with your friend with benefits.