You’ve hit it off with a girl. Things are going well—you see her once or twice a week (maybe more) and have some fun hook-ups.

But you’re still going out and meeting other women, and at this point, you’re not ready to give up your freedom for something exclusive. You’d much rather keep things casual, and continue having a fun time with no strings attached. And it seems like all is going according to plan.

That is, until she brings up the topic of “us”. It’s the dreaded conversation that is usually bound to happen at some point.

Granted, it doesn’t always happen—sometimes you can hook up with a girl for months and months and still avoid it. But other times, a girl will want to know the answer before you even hook up with her. She wants to know: Are the two of you dating? Exclusive? Are you looking for a girlfriend? Where is this going? How do you define “us?”

Upset pair of lovers.

This conversation can go one of three ways:

  • Exclusive relationship. You don’t want to lose the sex, so you cave in and start dating her.
  • Friends with benefits. You handle the conversation the right way, and she basically agrees to continue on and keep things casual.
  • End of the “fling.” You handle the conversation the wrong way, she gets offended or angry, and decides to stop seeing you altogether, or to just be friends.

Assuming you want to keep things casual, you’re aiming for the second outcome (friends with benefits).

So, you need to know the right way to handle the conversation to achieve this outcome.

That way, when the conversation does inevitably come up, you’re well prepared and handle it with composure and poise…instead of fumbling around like the average guy.

I used to have A LOT of trouble with this conversation. I didn’t know how to explain that I wanted to keep things casual, without upsetting the girl. I’d end up either caving in and dating her (which was always a mistake because I didn’t really want it), or just ending things with the girl altogether (which usually sucked because I liked hooking up).

But that all changed a few years ago. When I started going out every weekend, I made it a point to hang with guys who were more experienced and understood women better than me at the time.

And I started learning a TON.

But one of the best, most actionable things I picked up was a simple routine for converting girls into “friends with benefits” relationships (AKA fuck buddies).

As soon as I learned about it, I knew it was gold. And it hasn’t let me down. In fact, it’s worked for me almost every time I’ve used it—and my friends have had the same results.

Sometimes, I even bring up the “us” conversation before she does, so I can use this technique to lay out the expectations from the outset.

It’s called the “Grey Area Routine”. Read it, learn it, use it. It’ll make those conversations SO much easier.

Not only is this routine great for forming fuck buddy relationships—it can also be the difference between whether you sleep with a girl the first night (if you use it correctly).

Here’s how it works:

“The Grey Area Routine”

no-strings-attached

You: “You seem like a very ‘all or nothing’ kind of girl.”

Her: “Yeah I guess you could say that.”

You: “I used to be like that. I dated a girl for a long time, but since we broke up, I’ve just been living in the “grey-area.”

Her: “What’s that?”

(This next part is KEY.)

You: *Raise your hand at about neck level* “If you think about relationships, and you say up here is a long-term relationship, with full commitment.”

*Put other hand a foot below the top hand* “…and down here is just a one-night stand, where there is no emotional involvement at all. Well, this area between the two…”

*Point to the area between your hands* “…is a grey area full of all sorts of interactions and relationships that two people can have. This can be just as fun or fulfilling as the other two extremes—both people just have to be honest about their expectations.”

Her: (They almost always say something like this) “Wow, I’ve never thought of it that way.”

You: “Yeah, and you can move back and forth in this area as the relationship evolves.”

Her: “I like it.”

You: “Me too. I think it’s perfect for people our age, and in our position.”

That’s the basic outline of the routine.

It works so well because:

  • It sets expectations. It lets her know that you care about her, even if you’re not fully committed to her and it also clarifies your expectations of the relationship.
  • It’s clever. There’s no chance she’s ever gotten a response like this before, so it makes you stand out and look more intelligent and mature.
  • It makes her comfortable. She doesn’t feel like a “slut” for continuing to hook up with you without the commitment of a label.

Get this routine down, and the next time the “us” conversation comes up, you’ll be able to handle it like a champ. The result will be an awesome casual relationship with a cool girl.

Read More: “You Didn’t Have To Make Things Awkward”