Whether you’re friends and then hook up or hook up and then become friends afterward, being friends with someone you’ve seen naked generally isn’t easy. That said, it’s not impossible. Here are some tips on how to remain friends with someone you’ve hooked up with.
Choose the right person
Not everyone you date or sleep with is going to be cut out to stay friends in the long run. Actually, you’re probably better off befriending someone whom you didn’t date for long. Sure, that long-time significant other might seem like a good candidate to carry on a platonic relationship after the romance dies, but there are (probably) always going to be complicated emotions and drama between the two of you, no matter how clean the break is. On the other hand, the drunken one-night stand from last weekend might not exactly be marriage material, but the lack of emotional connection could lead to a less complicated friendship down the line. Of course, be extra mindful if you hook up with someone you’re already friends with. You never know how it’s going to impact the friendship.
Give it time
Don’t expect to go immediately from bumping uglies to BFFs. It’s probably best to leave a period of time (maybe half the time you were hooking up with the person, if you need a guideline) before you attempt to start a friendship. It’s also probably better to not dive straight into the deep end of friendship. You wouldn’t start off a relationship by delving into each other’s darkest, most personal secrets, would you? Be surface level friends for a little bit, and then work your way down, even if it feels like a step back from where you were while sleeping with the person.
Know the rules
You might be totally cool talking about the people you’re each seeing, but that doesn’t mean that your former date wants to hear about your current partner(s). It doesn’t have to just be romance-based though, maybe you spent so much of the time you were dating that person talking about your job that they don’t want to hear about work. Maybe you’re just lunch friends or text pals (is that a term? If not, it is now) or drinking buddies. Knowing what you should and shouldn’t talk about with any of your friends is pretty key, but it’s even more important when you’re starting with the awkwardness of having seen each other naked already. Be considerate of the other’s feelings, don’t talk about things they don’t want to hear about, and you’ll already be better off than most.
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Be on the same page
One of the biggest hindrances of being friends with anyone can be when they secretly want to be more than friends with you. This problem is obviously way more likely to happen when there already once was a romantic (or just sexual) spark between the two of you. It’s not the most fun conversation you’ll ever have with a friend, but it’s a necessary one if you don’t want to ruin things from the start. If the two of you aren’t on the same page as to where you stand in your friendship/relationship, it’s probably not going to work, so it may be better to just cut things off early if one person is still emotionally involved.
Get over the past
Sure, you’ll always have the memories of the one time (or several times) the two of you hooked up, but that’s in the past. Whether the two of you will ever sleep together again may still be up in the air, depending on relationship status, emotional attachment, and alcohol tolerance, but you shouldn’t count on it happening again. It might take some time, but eventually they’ll be just like any other friend, and you should treat them like any other friend. The longer you hold on to whatever you two had before (or in the middle of) your friendship, the longer it’ll take and the lower the odds will be of you ever having a normal friendship with them.
Don’t be afraid
No one is saying you shouldn’t be considerate of the other person’s feelings, but you also shouldn’t let them dictate how you live. If you two weren’t meant to work romantically but you want to try things out as friends, then you’re going to have to deal with each other dating and hooking up with other people. When it comes down to it, you should never turn down a date with someone just because of your friend — unless they dated your friend before or something like that, in which case, you’re a total monster anyway. Go forth and sow your wild seeds, ladies and gents, and don’t let your past ruin your future.