There's no shortage of Hollywood movies about friends with benefits that describe how hooking up with a friend changes the relationship. Though rom-coms generally show two endings to this story — they either hate each other or end up getting married — in real life, hooking up with your friends can come in all shapes and sizes.
From kissing one time and deciding to never do it again to sleeping together and navigating polygamy, there are millions of ways to go through the motions of getting frisky with a friend. Of course, without clear communication, hooking up with your friends can get a little dicey. If you've secretly been in love with your bud for a year and they're not actually looking for a relationship, or you're on different pages about what the hookup meant, getting physical with a friend can lead to some major heartache. While sometimes things can happen in the heat of the moment (trust me, I've been there), discussing boundaries and intentions before turning up the heat can save everyone from some unwanted awkwardness.
Elite Daily asked 25 people if hooking up with a friend changed their relationship, and what they said really covers it all.
1. We don't talk about it.
I guess it wasn't a complete game-changer. But it's weird that we don't really talk about it at all.
— C, 27*
2. It was nice!
I mean, I guess... I've dated someone that I was friends with before, but I don't think we were really 'hooking up' until we were, like, dating. Honestly, it was nice to already know them as a person before knowing them as a partner.
— Mora, 29*
3. I'm bad at keeping those boundaries separate.
I am bad at keeping those boundaries separate in my mind, so I've learned to just try to never go there. The last time, neither of us said anything and later, he tried to deny that it happened and it was really painful for me.
— Dena, 26
4. That was about it.
I hooked up with my friend and then we were friends who had seen each other naked and that was about it.
— Rachel, 26*
5. They Make Me Feel Safe
Hooking up with a friend I had a bit of a crush on made me realize that while we are not a good fit romantically, they make me feel safe and heard — and that’s been a constant in our friendship ever since!
— Cassidy, 23
6. It's just part of our friendship.
I'm poly and my best friend is not. A few years into our friendship, we started hooking up here and there. We can talk about anything and are always really open and honest about when we are going to have sex and what type of sex we're looking for (we switch on-and-off who is the dom and who is the sub). It's just a part of our friendship now.
— Addy, 25*
7. I respect that she didn't want more.
So, me and the lady in question have been good friends for the last 10 years and have regularly hung out. Friday night, one thing led to another and we ended up sleeping together. Anyway, Saturday morning we woke up and cuddled. Nothing was said when we got up and we both drove home separately to our hometown. I received a text this morning saying:
'I'm just going to say for me, I'm not sure how I feel about Friday. We get on so well as friends and I enjoy doing things with you but I'm not looking for a relationship and I don't want to give the wrong impression. I hope you understand. Sorry for saying that I just feel like I need to.'
I respect what she said and would never do anything to make her feel uncomfortable.
8. Everything was fine.
So I've being friends with this person for over a year now, we became friends because our partners (at the time) were best friends. One night we went out for a drink and ended up sleeping together.
I wasn't surprised and didn't regret it at all but I was anxious as to how she was going to react the next day. She was fine about it and everything seemed normal, we even talked about it but she just said it was a bit of fun which was fine by me because I didn't want to ruin out friendship.
9. I'm down for anything
My best friend is only in town once a year. We both confessed we found each other attractive, and we agreed to be friends with benefits basically saying 'I'm down for anything.'
10. I don't feel bad.
Open relationships are pretty normal in my social group, and this friend isn't usually monogamous. Apparently her current boyfriend insists and it makes her very unhappy. She came on to me; she clearly wants to assert her independence by cheating, so it may as well be with me. I know I should probably feel bad about this, but I don't.
11. It felt amazing.
It was my first time [having sex] and his second time and it felt amazing, like nothing I have ever felt before.
12. I'm concerned about what my other friends think.
I don't feel guilty, but I do feel concerned about what my other friends think of me. Some of them know, and I'm worried that they're secretly judging me.
13. He knew exactly what I liked.
He knew exactly what I liked. When you're friends, you can talk about all the stuff you like and intimate friendship things, so you're really comfortable.
— Kayden, 25
14. I should have kept them in the friend-zone.
I met someone on Tinder and had kind of 'friend-zone' them after a couple times hanging out. Eventually, one night I slept over and we ended up hooking up. I should have kept them in the friend-zone.
— Aria, 23*
15. The friendship is kind of over.
Honestly, it was not good for me but appeared great for him and he said he wanted to date after and I wasn't into it. The friendship is kind of over.
— Kate, 29
16. I was so hurt.
My friendship had been shipping us for, like, ever and we eventually hooked up when all my friends rented a beach house. In the morning, he acted like nothing had happened and I was so hurt.
— Danielle, 26
17. We were honest after.
We were completely honest after and both were like... this was bad? And we've been friends since.
— Emma, 23
18. It's been amazing.
After listening and being there for each other for years and years and watching each other go on so many bad dates, it was like, you know me the best. What have we been doing? And we started dating. It's been amazing.
— Kelly, 30
19. Things were weird for a bit.
Things were weird for a bit, but I wasn't sure if they actually were or if it was just me.
— Staci, 26
20. It was f*cking awkward.
I wouldn't mind if it was good but it was just soooooooooooooooo f-ing awkward. Like really.......
21. We didn't talk after.
We've been friends for a few months and been incredibly attracted to each other since we met. Sex happened, got a little awkward the next morning, but I laid out that right now I just want us to be friends with benefits. He said he wanted the same thing. Awesome!
The next few days he messaged me less and less, though. After that he basically didn't talk to me at all.
22. You probably won't continue to be friends.
Not gonna lie, you probably won't continue to be this person's friend. Not saying it's going to happen, but keep that as a possibility.
23. We've agreed to pretend nothing happened.
I was visiting a group of friends to have a night out in a city where another friend of mine happened to live. I invited her to come out with us as we don't see each other that often.
As the night goes on...I end up back at hers where she comes on to me.
We've agreed to pretend like nothing happened and we haven't spoken about it since.
24. I feel used.
Ok so yesterday me and my friend were hanging out at my house. He started to tickle me here and there while we were watching Netflix. Then things escalated. After sex he said I couldn’t tell any of our friends about this. I thought he was actually interested in dating. But now I feel a bit used.
25. We both want each other.
Been best friends with this guy for years. I decided to ask him out. We ended up sleeping with each other that night. And we tried to move on from it, but ended sleeping with each other a month later, and then again a few months later.
We're getting to a stage that we're confusing and hurting each other emotionally cause we both want each other.
Hooking up with a friend can change your relationship in all sorts of ways. Although ideally, you discuss intentions and future plans before getting frisky with someone, sometimes things just happen. Of course, no matter how long you've been friends with someone, it's still necessary to get active consent as you turn up the heat. At the end of the day, your friendships are your own and you get to decide just how friendly you want to make them.
*Names have been changed.