How To Not Catch Feelings When You Want To Keep Things Casual

Enjoy someone's company without any messy feelings involved.

Last updated on Dec 23, 2022

man and woman smiling at the camera Halay Alex / Shutterstock

If you're going to have a successful casual relationship with someone, you have to know how to not catch feelings for the other person.

Once feelings are involved, things can become complicated and messy and someone usually ends up getting hurt, especially if that someone ends up falling in love.

In order to have a strictly casual no-strings-attached relationship, you need to know going in that you cannot catch feelings.


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For those who can't help but get attached, here's a step-by-step guide for how to not catch feelings.

How not to catch feelings

1. Be real with yourself.

You should first ask yourself if this is something you want and can handle.


You might think you want a casual relationship and then realize over time that you aren't the type of person who can handle that because you catch feelings no matter what.

You need to go into this knowing you aren't forming a relationship with this person. It's all a basic, superficial, and non-emotional relationship based on good times.

The two of you can, of course, be sexually attracted to one another — but make sure you aren't letting yourself be romantically attracted to your casual partner.

It's possible to not catch feelings if you go into this relationship knowing and setting a goal that you're not going to catch feelings.

According to Keya Murthy, a clinical hypnotherapist and spiritual life coach, you have to care too much about yourself to care about someone else.


"You only care about others when there is something in the other that you want real bad for yourself," she explains. "If you are this person you will not catch feelings."

You also have to make sure this is a conscious decision you're making to not to catch feelings when you are out and about or with a certain one, says Murthy.

2. Set high standards for yourself.

When entering any relationship, you're allowed to be picky and have high standards, especially in a casual relationship.

Set up a list of the things you want out of this relationship and make sure you are both on the same page. There shouldn't be any room for miscommunication or for you to put them on a pedestal.


Sometimes setting random standards like being a certain height or having a specific personality or zodiac sign can be helpful, as you can view this person as 'Mr. / Ms. Right Now' instead of a potential boyfriend or girlfriend.

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3. Create a roster.

Who says you can't have more than one partner while having a casual relationship? (That is, of course, making sure you are using protection, as you don't want to put yourself or anyone else at risk.)

While practicing safe sex, you can have a couple of partners and casual relationships you go back and forth from to switch things up.


Have a guy on the back burner and make a roster of people you could have a casual relationship with just in case a partner ends up having feelings or decides they don't want to do this with you anymore.

If you meet a few cool people that are worthy of a fun casual relationship, there's no problem with dividing your time among them equally.

By doing this you can slow down your feelings for someone, as you're not spending time with only one person and allowing yourself to only think about them.

How to not catch feelings


4. Don't spend all day together.

Spending the day with a person gives you more time to get to know them and talk to them, which is something you want to avoid. You don't want to know their feelings and likes and interests, as that will further your relationship. You'll get to know them more, which is may be dangerous if you end up liking certain things you learn about them.

When you don't catch feelings easily it's called being emotionally unavailable, sensible, pragmatic, and grounded — and that's how you want to be in a casual relationship.

"Cold, heartless, and selfish, you have to be a little of that to avoid feelings in a casual relationship," says Dent.

In order to not catch feelings, you have to keep your distance. You can't spend hours upon hours with this partner because it will eventually cause you to have some sort of deeper relationship.


Although, you have to find a sweet spot when it comes to spending time with them, because according to Dent, putting distance between the two of you can be risky and ultimately lead to the casual relationship part ending as well.

"You may have to have a discussion with that person to let them know the relationship has changed on your part so you can determine how you would like to move forward," says Dent.

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5. Don't tell them everything about you.

Oftentimes, you end up catching feelings for someone after you have told them a lot about yourself and also learned a lot about them. This can create a deeper emotional bond between the two of you as you know more about each other.


"You must avoid matters of the heart," says Dent. "Once you get to know the person on a deeper, intimate level. Those things combined with a casual relationship can cause feelings to occur."

The more you tell them about yourself and get to know them you may also find the more you two have in common — and that is a recipe for disaster when trying to keep things casual. You might be attracted to the fact they have something in common with you and then that will ruin the whole point of the causal relationship.

You can't know everything about them and the same goes for letting them know too much about you.


"When you text, stick to words. Don’t use emojis," suggests Murthy. "Don’t listen to their stories from the past or dreams of the future and don’t share yours either, if you don’t want to catch feelings or slow them down."

6. Don't cuddle or get too romantic with them.

It doesn't matter how long or short a time you spend cuddling with someone — doing so releases the 'love hormone' oxytocin, a chemical that makes it inevitable to catch feelings.

Getting physically close to them and snuggling will make you want to be more emotionally close to them.

"If you have sex with the person, don’t sleep with them before or after. This makes you catch feelings," says Murthy.


For a lot of people, cuddling is something you do with someone you like or love, and therefore it's something you definitely shouldn't do if you don't want to catch feelings.

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Megan Hatch is a writer at YourTango who covers entertainment, love, relationships, and internet culture.