Battle of the sexes: Does friends with benefits work?

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What she said…

Allison Salzberg

Friends with benefits: if you don’t know what it means, take a minute to look it up on urbandictionary.com. I will spare you the intimate details of this well known phrase, but I will give you some insight on whether this idea of a “friendship” can really work.

Last January, No Strings Attached, a movie starring Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher, was released in theaters and made almost $150 million worldwide. In July, the film Friends with Benefits, starring Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake, was released and pulled in almost $100 million worldwide.

Clearly, movie goers are interested in this idea of “friends with benefits.” Some of us have had friends who have been in this situation, and maybe some of us have been in this situation ourselves. In any case, having a “friend with benefits” does not work.

There are two possible outcomes for this situation. First, and most common, one person in the noncommittal agreement will start to develop deeper and more meaningful feelings for the other. This case is often the most upsetting because definitely one,  if not both parties end up getting hurt.

The second possible outcome is the one that most people would root for. Both people in the beneficial friendship realize that their feelings have developed into something more than just a physical connection. Once one of the people works up the courage to tell the other that they have feelings for them, the other person will admit that they also have these feelings. This is the best case scenario because both people win. This is also the scenario that is usually played off in Hollywood films.

So, if you find yourself in a situation such as this, make sure you are willing to accept what may be the outcome of this questionable scenario.

His side…

Tom Hansen

When my Co-Battle-of-the-Sexer, Alli, asked me, “Hey Tom, how do you feel about friends with benefits?” My response was short and to the point, “I think they’re awesome.”  The beauty of an F.W.B. relationship is in its simplicity. A mutually beneficial  agreement between two people in which there is a free exchange of casual dates, good conversation,  and the occasional dose of kanoodleing.

Perhaps the best way to show its power is to simply break the phrase down.  The first word, friends, is something that we all have.  Who doesn’t like having a good friend to pal around with and have a good chuckle now and again?  It is crucial to have a good friend in your life, and what better way to be friendly with someone then to engage in the second half of the phrase.

“With benefits” is the frosting on the cake of friendship.   Assuming I do not need to go into what the word “benefits” entails, I imagine that most reading this newspaper are not against the idea.  It is a simple component of life, and the participation in such is something that many enjoy doing.

While some would argue that there is little room for this kind of relationship in decent society, I would argue the exact opposite.  Engaging in a “friends with benefits” relationship allows people to get to know someone on an intimate level, but still gives the opportunity to explore the world and all its options without feelings of guilt or awkwardness.

Sure, there are issues with the institution of F.W.B., but there are problems in every kind of relationship.  Agreeing to enter this type of relationship affords the opportunity to “try it before you buy it.”  Many people I know (my opposition in this column being one of them) harp on it for being a “cop-out” and even a “thing that is for suckers.”  I find this to be most unfortunate, for they are walling themselves out of a great institution.

One could even argue that it is, if anything, a phenomenal example of a Great American Tradition.  So, to all my loyal readers, I command you to make new friends and get your benefit on.  However, do not do it because I told you to, do it because it’s the American Way.

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