It’s OK to switch friend­ship camps.

When you think about flings, you mostly re­call those short-but-sweet dis­trac­tions based on an in­stant con­nec­tion, a few good times in the bed­room and, um, not much else. How­ever, not all flings come in the form of a smooth-talk­ing stranger with Chan­ning Ta­tum-es­que abs. In fact, you may find your­self in a brief dal­liance with some­one who has an en­vi­able col­lec­tion of high heels, can ap­ply false lashes in five sec­onds or less, and shares your love of Pinot Gri­gio. Yep, we’re talk­ing about a friend­ship fling. Like the dat­ing equiv­a­lent, friend­ship flings are all about a good time, not a long time.

When 26-year-old teacher Kate met ad­ver­tis­ing exec Alex, 29, they hit it off straight away. “I’d just been through a break-up when I met Alex,” Kate ex­plains. “While I’m gen­er­ally quite shy, she is su­per-cool and con­fi­dent. Most of my other friends are cou­pled up, and soon Alex and I were hit­ting the town to­gether all the time. When­ever I was in the mood to go out, she was al­ways right there with me, even if it was a school night. But af­ter a few months, I found it hard to keep up with Alex’s par­ty­ing and I re­alised that’s all we re­ally shared.”


This isn’t an un­com­mon sce­nario when it comes to a fleet­ing friend­ship. “Friend­ship flings are of­ten pla­ton­i­cally pas­sion­ate,” says psy­chol­o­gist Sue Pratt of Lifeworks Re­la­tion­ship Coun­selling and Ed­u­ca­tion Ser­vices ( au). “Im­plicit within the fling is a sense of fun and ex­cite­ment. It’s all about an in­tense con­nec­tion.” Ac­cord­ing to the ex­perts, we are more likely to have a friend­ship fling when we’re feel­ing lonely or are go­ing through a ma­jor life change and find­ing it hard to re­late to other friends. “Th­ese types of tem­po­rary friend­ships can also of­fer sup­port dur­ing life tran­si­tions like the break-up of a re­la­tion­ship or mov­ing to a new place,” says Pratt. “Your friend­ship fling may also be ful­fill­ing needs you have at that time that aren’t be­ing met by your other friend­ships.”


For Am­ber, 24, mov­ing from her home­town to the big city for work lead to her friend­ship fling with Tiffany. “Tiff and I met when I moved to the city but coin­ci­den­tally we both grew up in the same home­town so that gave us an in­stant con­nec­tion,” says Am­ber. “Our friend­ship was very ac­cel­er­ated. We were act­ing like best friends even though we’d only just met. But I soon re­alised Tiff was pretty in­se­cure and needed con­stant re­as­sur­ance about ev­ery­thing. One day she spent al­most an hour ask­ing my opin­ion about what out­fit she should wear to go out for cof­fee! Al­though she was re­ally sweet, hang­ing out with her soon be­came ex­haust­ing. We still hang out oc­ca­sion­ally but our friend­ship has def­i­nitely faded.”


In the cases of Kate and Am­ber, both friend­ship flings helped them deal with a pe­riod of tran­si­tion in their lives. How­ever, some friends broaden our hori­zons even if just in pass­ing.

This was the case for Rachel, 29, when she be­friended a fel­low trav­eller while hol­i­day­ing on her own for the first time. “It was like the friend­ship equiv­a­lent of an amaz­ing hol­i­day ro­mance,” says Rachel. “Even though Sam lives on the other side of the world, some of the con­ver­sa­tions we had over a week changed my life for­ever.”

Ac­cord­ing to life coach Ann-Mhayra Aleck­son (, there’s absolutely noth­ing wrong with hav­ing a friend­ship with an ex­piry date. “We all put th­ese ex­pec­ta­tions and judge­ments on cer­tain things, like a friend­ship is sup­posed to be like this, and a re­la­tion­ship is sup­posed be like that – when in ac­tual fact they should all be what­ever they are for the time that they are.” While friend­ship flings may be short and sweet, it doesn’t mean they don’t im­pact our lives like a life­long friend­ship. “I’ll al­ways be grate­ful to Alex for the way she helped me get back out there af­ter my ex,” Kate points out. The mea­sure of a friend­ship should ul­ti­mately be how spend­ing time with your friend makes you feel, re­gard­less of whether you met two weeks ago or you’ve known each other since Pri­mary Two.

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