On the Soapbox #1: Friends with Benefits

I’m going to try something new on the Grammaniac blog. I’m starting a category of “On the Soapbox” posts, in which I will choose an issue related to words, writing, or grammar, and I will dedicate a post to my true feelings on the subject. Hopefully, it will provide at least a tiny morsel of entertainment to some of my regular readers.

I recently read an article in which two women faced off on whether or not “friends with benefits” is a good idea. Personally, I’ve never been a fan of the concept—if I’m putting time and effort into a man, he’d better be all MINE.

However, a strange thought occurred to me after I read the article. I have several “friends with benefits.”

Why do we have friends? For companionship, for support, for someone with whom to share our interests. Does anyone seriously want to tell me those aren’t considered “benefits”? What’s a friend without benefits? The kind that borrows money and never pays you back? The one who only calls when they need a designated driver, or when they want some action? Oh, wait…that last one IS the friend with benefits. Silly me.

I find it interesting that a regular booty call is dubbed a “friend with benefits,” when the real benefits of friendship have nothing to do with sex. In fact, most FWB situations I’ve seen have ultimately led to the detriment of what was once a real friendship. We should be calling these pseudo-relationships “friends with sexual incentives” or “friends who screw each other.” But friends with benefits? Any real friend is going to provide you with some benefit. And that doesn’t mean you get naked together.

That’s my two cents.