“Should I Get my FWB a Christmas Gift?”

My FWB is not just some random hook-up; we dated years ago but things ended for a multitude of reasons. I see him a few times a week, we do have sex occasionally but we also do “friend things” like go to dinner and rent movies. I know this time of year is hard for him because his father passed away around now a few years back and I would like to get him something to cheer him up. I’m just wondering what your opinion is on getting gifts for your FWB? — Gifty FWB

Everyone likes a gift. Here are holiday gift suggestions for every man in your life, based on your relationship (including FWBs!).

*If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com and be sure to follow me on Twitter.


  1. Wendy is totally right here. I have a guy friend who was in a FWB situation and she bought him an Xbox. He was totally freaked about it and so were all his friends. He kept saying, “she knows what it is.” and we all were like, “no, she clearly doesn’t.” He ended up cutting her off because things got “too serious”.

    1. I hope he returned the Xbox…

      1. Landygirl says:

        My exact thoughts.

  2. atraditionalist says:

    FWB are different than friendships – if you bought him a present he would probably think you were into him in a romantic way – and let’s be honest LW – you are and that is why you want to buy him a present.

    Before buying him a present consider this: would your feelings be hurt if he didn’t give you one back?

    You’re already having sex with him with no strings attached – I think that’s generous enough already without adding a Christmas gift on.

    1. “FWB are different than friendships – if you bought him a present he would probably think you were into him in a romantic way – and let’s be honest LW – you are and that is why you want to buy him a present.”

      I can’t speak for the LW, but I don’t agree that you can automatically assume that. They dated years ago, and they’re friends…I’m sure she cares about him, but that doesn’t mean she wants something more than what they have right now.

      Why is it that when you’re FWB, you have to act like you’re completely indifferent to the other person about anything other than sex, or it means that you harbor some secret agenda to trap them into a relationship?

      1. I completely agree. It seems like people automatically assume that a FWB sort of relationship (and I relationship in as platonic a way as possible) is not close, and only constitutes sex. I’ve had sexual interactions with a number of people that I wasn’t interested in being in a relationship with, and many of them are still my friends, first and foremost. Sex and caring does not constitute wanting to be in a relationship. I think there’s an extra… intimacy, even beyond the physical.

      2. atraditionalist says:

        I think you have to act like you are indifferent because when you start acting like a couple you start feeling like a couple and it blurs the line. There are always exceptions but in general I think the fact that she does couple-y things iwth him, sleeps with him and wants to buy him a gift suggests she has more than friendly feelings

    2. Disagree…besides, some people just like giving gifts – I LOVE giving presents. For no particular reason, I just do…doesn’t mean I want to have a relationship with everyone I give presents to.

      1. I do, as well, and as I give gifts to people I don’t even know (through giving trees, etc.), I find it unfortunate that I couldn’t give a gift to someone I actually know because they might misinterpret the meaning.

  3. “I see him a few times a week, we do have sex occasionally but we also do “friend things” like go to dinner and rent movies.”

    To me, it sounds like they’re mainly just friends who only occasionally have sex, so the friendship is really the main focus of their time together. If the LW is the type of person who buys gifts for her friends, I don’t think it’s inappropriate to buy him a small gift. If she thinks there might be some misunderstanding about why she gave him the gift (or his need to reciprocate), then she might want to explain her reasons when she gives him the gift. To me, her expecting something from him is a bigger sign that she thinks it’s more than what it is.

    1. atraditionalist says:

      Going to dinner, renting movies, and having sex with a person does not sound like “friends” things it sounds like “date” things. I really don’t buy it that they are just friends – I think givent the fact that they hang out together often, have sex, and enjoy each other’s company suggests that there are romantic feelings there – at least on one side of the equation.

      This might be my problem with FWB in general though – I think they are usually a sham unless it is solely sex. I don’t understand how someone can be sexually attracted to someone and like them enough to hang out with them but not want to date them

      1. “I don’t understand how someone can be sexually attracted to someone and like them enough to hang out with them but not want to date them”

        It’s not really that difficult to understand. Maybe the person you’re in the FWB relationship with doesn’t have the same long term goals as you, like wanting to get married or have a family. Maybe you really like them as a friend and think they’re good looking, but they don’t have any of the qualities you want in a boyfriend/girlfriend. Maybe you like having someone to hang out with and hook up with but dont’ want the responsibilities that come from having a “real” relationship. I was in one of those situations for about 8 months- it worked out great for us- we were friends before and we’re friends after. That situation met both of our needs at that point in our lives, and when it stopped working for us, we stopped doing it.

      2. Agree. I’ve been genuinely friends with a fwb before. We were friends before we started hooking up and we were friends after we stopped hooking up. And I had no desire to date him at any point in our friendship. I tend to think of a regular non serious hookup as just that, a casual hookup. I think fwb does imply actually being friends with the person.

        LW, you’ve known this guy for a while. You used to date, and now you’ve been good friends for a while. Is he a good enough friend that you’d give him a gift anyway? Have you gotten him Christmas gifts before, since you broke up?

      3. I’m going to disagree and say that it’s perfectly normal to be friends with someone, want to sleep with them, but not want to date that person. I say this because I had exactly that type of relationship. He was a friend – we could go to the movies, help each other install window air conditioners, have lunch together, text and talk and tell each other things, and yes have sex too. But there were no romantic feelings. He was a great guy, that’s why he was my friend, and I did think he was hot, that’s why I had sex with him, but he definitely would not have been the right boyfriend for me.

        And no, I don’t think we acted couple-y because we had no problem discussing dating/sleeping with other people. I could even take a call from the guy I was going on a date with the next night in front of him with no problem and vice versa.

      4. Normally I wouldn’t agree with you about what a FWB is, but I do think this case is a little different, because of the amount of time these two are spending with each other. I personally feel they are spending a little bit to much time together to be a FWB, and my guess would be that in at least her case she isn’t leaving a whole lot of time out there to meet other people, and go on dates, and he could be doing the samething too, but I haven’t heard his side of the story here. I know if I were single, and I had a FWB situation, I wouldn’t be setting aside 3-4 days a week for that, because it pretty much defeats the purpose. I think getting a gift is going to make this feel a lot more like a relationship for this guy, and that guy backfire, and make him pull aways. Unless you get him some porn, or a coupon for a free blow job, and anal sex.

      5. you dont go to dinner and rent movies with your friends? thats pretty normal behavior…

  4. If you get gifts for all your friends then there is no reason to exclude your FWB. If he is the only one on your list though – then you might want to think about why that is. If you just want to be there to support him during a tough time of year for him as a friend – then do that. You can casually tell him that you know this time of year is rough for him so if he needs to talk, you are available – or alternatively if he distinctly needs NOT to talk and wants a distraction then you are game to hang out. And then leave it up to him. That’s what a friend would do.

  5. I think it’s also important to consider that the LW mentioned that his dad recently passed away. It’ll have to be a tough Christmas for him, being the first one without him and, although I do think it’s ok to get him a present, I would be very careful. Nothing girlfriend-y: no clothes, home stuff, etc. And while I think Wendy’s bar idea is a good one if this guy wasn’t probably going to be depressed on Christmas, you probably shouldn’t give him the opportunity to get drunk off his ass on something top-shelf for the holiday. Or maybe you do, I don’t know…

    Anyway, I would stay away from anything you wouldn’t give your brother/uncle/father and I would also avoid anything sentimental, like a framed picture of them together. If you were his girlfriend, that’d probably be ok, but don’t do anything that can be misconstrued. Maybe a gift card to Target with a sticky note attached saying, “Seriously, I’ve smelled your shoes. How about you buy yourself a pack of new socks?”

    1. Passed away around this time a few years ago. So still tough, but not the first one.

  6. fast eddie says:

    If you live near a city that has musical theater a pair of tickets would fill the bill. A football game if he’s a fan would be a hit. If your wanting more then sex a weekend get away to someplace romantic would convey the thought. By romantic I mean somewhere that shopping isn’t a main attraction. Los Vegas, Reno, Atlantic City are possibilities. Depending on your finances, don’t overspend. A credit card debt for this that’ll take more then a month to pay off would likely be a huge disappointment.

    1. atraditionalist says:

      IMO: This sounds more like what a man would do for a woman that he was sleepign with. I could see a guy feeling weird about a girl taking him on a vacation to las vegas.

    2. I think those things would all be too much for a FWB. Those are boyfriend-type presents. Plus, if she’s wanting more than sex, then buying tickets to a romantic vacation is not a good idea.

      1. Yeah, I think a cute/funny “Secret Santa” budget gift is the way to go.

      2. I agree – expensive tickets or a trip is definitely a gift you give a serious partner. Any gift should definitely be in the low budget range. But honestly, since they’ve been friends for years – give what you gave last year – or at most a Christmas lottery scratch and win stocking stuffer type of thing.

    3. fast eddie says:

      Lots of solid ideas herein, I’m still thinking theater or concert tickets to something they both enjoy. That may be out of her price range. NO BODY should take on debt for a fling when there’s not reciprocal deep feelings. In our small town there’s Xmas concerts for cheap. But if your pockets are deep enough what better way to celebrate the season then splurging with a friend. Keep it warm and loving and above all KEEP IT REAL.

      Happy Holidays to the DW community.

  7. Give him a small gift if you are also giving gifts to your regular friends too. Give them out all at once so there’s no pressure on his gift, and all is good. Yiy guys are friends, so treat him like you do your other good friends when it comes to gifts.

  8. LW,

    I echo Wendy’s advice.

    I was once in FWB relationship a few years ago. We were really good friends before we did the benefits thing. We spent most of our time together. He helped me out through a really rough time the months leading up to Christmas. I was headed home for the holidays and I wanted to do something special to show my appreciation. Let me preface by saying I LOVE buying gifts for people. Anyway, I got him a stocking and filled it with a couple small bottles of liquor he enjoys, a book, a movie, his favorite candy and maybe a couple other small items. He was so happy to get it. It was low key and he really did enjoy the gift. I didn’t get anything in return, but I wasn’t expecting anything either. It didn’t strain the relationship. By the way, we’re still friends today, without the benefits.

    I like Wendy’s idea of a small, low key token you know he would like. It worked in my situation. Maybe it will work in yours.

    1. I should also add that I did this for two other friends who helped my out during this rough time.

      I actually filled the stockings and hid them before I left town. It wasn’t weird b/c I was living with two of them and the FWB, well I had a key to his house and I spent 4-5 nights a week there. I texted them on Christmas Eve and told them Santa left a present and where. All three loved it and were very excited to get a visit from Santa. Also, we were all around 27, give or take. There’s something about the holiday’s that makes acting like a 5 year old acceptable IMO.

      1. That’s a really cute idea! I think if the LW did something fun like that he would appreciate it.

      2. yea i think liquor is always a great gift for a guy friend. they’ll definitely like it, and it isn’t romantic.

  9. Wendy’s advice is right on. If you two are truly friends, just ask him straight out — do you feel like exchanging gifts this year? Because if you get him a gift and he doesn’t get you one, it could be awkward. As Wendy said, be careful about the message your gift conveys.

  10. If I were you, I’d give him something small, something funny or jokey. If you keep things light, I’m sure he’ll appreciate the gesture while recognizing that you’re not trying to get serious with him. (Er, you’re not, right?)

  11. In agreement with the others that suspect something more is afoot – but I’m just as biased as those claiming nothing more is going on due to my personal experiences.

    LW, just keep it small and impersonal if you are actually friends and you think nothing is going on underneath the FWB guise…

  12. Do as Wendy says…decide that depending on your relationship, if it’s more than FWB… if he really is a good friend, talk to him. You’ve obv been supporting him t/o the difficult time…

  13. It sounds like you are close friends so I don’t see the problem with buying him a Christmas present. I would make it a small gift, for sure. I’m sure he will appreciate the support in this rough time. Not everything has to be about sex just because you having it! If you are first and foremost friends, then definitely celebrate the holidays together.

  14. Miss Lynn says:

    I had a sort of FWB situation with a good guy friend that I knew for a while, I had always thought he was cute but we were just buddies at first and I never really considered anything more than that. But one night we ended up having a drunken hook-up and niether of us felt weird about it or regretted it the next day, we still remained good friends. The fact that niether of us was looking for a relationship obviously was a factor but these random hook-ups continued on and off for a few months until he moved back home. To this day we’re still friends and I’m planning on going to visit him when I go home for Christmas. So it doesn’t always have to mean you want a relationship just because you’re good friends with someone and you care about them. If I were to get him a present for Christmas there’s no doubt in my mind he would return the favor.

  15. Sue Jones says:

    I would get him a small gift, something fun and casual and in the $10-$20 range to let him know that you are thinking of him but nothing serious and expensive so as to convey the wrong message. How about a used book that he may enjoy? Or a used DVD? Something quirky, funny, retro, that jibes with your shared sense of humor, on the lines of ” I saw this fun thing and just HAD to get it for you”…. Why would you NOT get a present for an intimate friend. Just because someone is FWB does not mean we have to treat them like trash!

  16. bittergaymark says:

    I say, YES. But keep it silly and light and fun. No X-boxes, please! Think instead of a dvd or something you know he would enjoy. And not some sappy romantic comedy either. Again, keep it light and fun. Like your playful relationship. A guy I used to mess around with (and one I often REALLY miss) once came over with about a good hundred dollars worth of super decadent artisan cheeses and hard salamis. He said he was simply tired of feeling like a big mooch since we always chowed down on whatever I had handy. Now, this gift was completely out of the blue. No holiday or any thing on the horizon. Still… I knew it was exactly just what he said it was. It didn’t mean he secretly wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. No. Instead it merely meant that he wanted to enjoy cheese plates in style with me post bang. Hey, I was stoked. A boy like me can never get enough fancy hard salami…

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