Relationships: they are complicated as hell, and men and women have been trying to put them in boxes and label them like they’re organizing a move since time began. As a result, we end up asking the question “so, what are we?” and most of the time, the answer needs an answer.
One of my friends from high school posted on twitter today about the differentiation between a romantic interest, a friend with benefits, and a booty call. What I thought guys defined these words as was completely different from how he, and the other guys who endlessly retweeted his posts, defined them, and I was very surprised by it. Just look at the difference between what he said and what I’ve seen among my girlfriends:
Guys: The girl that you’re intrigued by and want to spend the time figuring out before you take her clothes off. She’s fun, attractive, interesting, funny, and intellectually stimulating. You really want to sleep with her, but you “want to take your time taking her panties off.” (gross) You only ask her out on the weekends because you know she has a busy life during the week, and you want to respect her schedule.
Friend With Benefits-
Guys: Friends that have sex (duh). You hang out with each other like normal friends, have mutual friends, go out and have fun, and occasionally, you guys shag. You don’t call this girl during the week late at night. If you do, you’re prioritizing the benefits rather than the friendship, and that’s not cool.
Girls: Guy that you think likes you but doesn’t want a relationship, so he just calls on occasion and you end up taking your underwear off. There aren’t supposed to be any feelings, but you’re probably in love with him and just waiting for him to be “ready.”
Guys: The girl you know wants you, so you call her sometimes to hookup, but never for a date. This is the type of girl you will hang out with on a Wednesday night because you really don’t give a fuck about what she has going on the next day. Is it Tuesday at 2 am? Yes. Do you care? No, she’s just a booty call.
Girls: A you know who only calls you once in a blue moon late at night to see if you want to come over and shag followed by a brief, non emotional goodbye until next time, “babe” watch a movie.
As you can see, there is quite a bit of discrepancy when it comes to “friends with benefits.” Girls tend to think that FWB is a stepping stone into something more, and in our weird, non-committal millennial times, it often is. But a problem does arise when one party has the expectation while the other is sincerely interested in being just friends (who sometimes have sex).
I’m sure you all have read the countless, poorly written, and highly derivative Elite Daily posts about “Why Millenials Need to Bring Back Dating” or the scathing critiques of modern romance, often being dubbed “hookup culture,” so you are aware of our collective aversion to commitment. You’re always “talking” to someone, but not dating. You get asked to chill instead of asked to dinner. It’s become the norm, and the “how long are we going to have sex before we start dating” game is so common now that you sometimes forget that the words in this questions used to be arranged differently.
While there’s nothing wrong with enjoying your youth (and other people), having such loosely defined relationships with others does come with some risks.
I’ve comforted many a friend (with the help of my friends Ben and Jerry) and helped heal the wounds of unmet expectations of this kind, and it’s usually not pretty. My girlfriends are quick to label a guy a “fuckboy” (which is one of the greatest words of all time, tbh) when these types of relationships didn’t end up how they thought they would. They feel like they’ve been played because the expectation of something more growing out of something casual wasn’t met, even if this expectation was never discussed, which tells us something about our communication skills too.
My advice for those navigating the murky waters of “defining the relationship” is to be as upfront as possible with the person you’re involved with. If you feel yourself wanting more from the relationship, you have speak up. Explain exactly what you want from them, and see if your goals line up before it gets to serious, otherwise you may be setting yourself up for major disappointment, and bitter doesn’t look good on anyone.