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Having a female friend is great but there should be one major rule: no sex. It complicates things.

Even when both parties are fully aware of the “rules” prior to the interaction, once the penis is inserted into any part of  your homie’s body this weird thing called emotions (which are not always rational) start to shift. If you’re a fan of HBO’s hit series Insecure, or surrounded by them, you may know that one of the main characters, Molly, is now banging her male bestie, Alejandro (aka Dro). But the charismatic thirtysomething is no bachelor.

Dro says he’s in an open marriage (we haven’t seen the wife since this declaration so we don’t really know what’s up), so having sex with another woman isn’t his flagrant foul. While it might seem like a selfish decision, it also doesn’t seem like a fair representation of all open relationships. Clear and consistent communication between each party are the main things that it takes for an open relationship to work.

Open relationships included, being a real dude, a real friend or a person with truly good character requires insight and forward thinking. Take Dro’s case for example. While immediate gratification, like knocking down your sexy friend because you can, is an easy win, maturity should force you to think about what the other party will ultimately lose. What happens after a few sexual episodes when lines become more blurred? How will your wife feel about you being intimate with someone so close to your circle? What happens to your friendship when your bestie—who wants a husband—decides that she either needs much more or less?

Being a “good dude” requires enough discipline and judgment to consider more than just yourself. Dro is a great example of how “nice guys” end up creating drama. Are women absolved of their responsibility when it comes to placing themselves in poor situations due to short-sightedness? Absolutely not. However, it’s important for dudes to start looking at how poor choices are often the catalyst to creating “messy situationships.”

It’s easy to spot a scenario that’s going to lead to clear and present danger. Need a little help developing your no-go zone? Here are some tips.

5 Ways to Avoid Being a F*ck Boy (It’s Really Kinda Simple)

1 Don’t date, or have sex with, women you know you’re not feeling.

If you don’t want to be with a woman, why use up all of her time and emotional energy?  It won’t end well. You’ll say, “she’s crazy” or “I told her XYZ” but all she heard is how your voice sounds in her head when you send the “What are you doing?” text—which she happens to interpret as “I miss you” and not that you’re bored. Not enough of a reason? Well, try asking three dudes who have less than ideal relationships with their wives or baby mamas how they ended up there. The answer will likely start with, “We were kicking it and…” Message: stop kicking it with chicks you’re not in to.

2 Don’t date, or have sex with, women whose life goals don’t align with yours.

In most cases a bird doesn’t shed her wings and that square girl won’t round out any of her sharp edges. If someone’s lifestyle and ambition is too wild or mild for your liking, keep it moving.

3 Don’t accept favors from women you’re not feeling.

You think eating her food is harmless. It’s not. Whether a woman is cooking and keeping house for you, paying your bills or blowing you, she’ll want a return in her investment. The thing is, you can’t predict what the interest payment will be. It may be more dates or it may be she wants you to allow her to keep the baby you guys “accidentally” conceived. Either way, every debt has to be repaid.

4 Don’t dump all of your emotional baggage on her.

If you’re old enough to drink alcohol you have some understanding of how most women operate. So if you’re spending your free time talking, sharing and supporting a woman you’re in some kind of relationship with her—whether you want to accept it or not. Let’s make this more plain: getting too emotionally close with a woman you don’t like is almost worse than having sexing with her. This means you are not allowed to pick a woman you’ve relegated to the “friend zone” and have her act as your therapist, mama and cheerleader. You’re dumping out of convenience and she’s scooping it up out of love. Expect a meltdown.

5 Don’t say you don’t want to be in a relationship, but give all the perks of one.

Working as a freelancer has a lot more benefits, like higher pay, flexible hours and less accountability, than having a full-time job. Still, most freelancers eventually want to be made full-time for one reason: the title. Making it official gets you something more valuable than perks and that is respect. Any woman who likes you, and more importantly herself, will eventually want you to put some respect on her name. If you’re not into her, keep it extra casual the whole way.

S. Tia Brown is a journalist and licensed therapist. She’s also pretty practical—in most cases. Follow her @TiaBrownTalks.