(10) "Friends with benefits"... a conversation

Ahh... The good ol' "friends with benefits" thing. It is where two individuals are not in a relationship and are free to do what they will separate of each other with other people if they choose, but are casually making sex here and there as well.
See, they're "friends," per se, in that they're acquainted and familiar. The "benefit" is naked time. There has always been a question as to whether or not this arrangement actually ever WORKS for the better of any individuals involved. It is hotly contested, actually, and is usually split right down gender and/or age lines.
Ever the one to incite a riot get people talking, on Tuesday I presented the Book of Face with today's Question of the Day:

"'Friends with benefits'... Can it work, and if so/not why or why not?"

And waited to let the people slug hug it out...
As usual, all responses are presented with no editing on my part, other than for the proper use of quotation marks...

First respondent was Roger, with...
"Like communism, it can work in theory, but human nature throws a monkey wrench in an ideal situation, lol. to be specific, i don't think it can work because either a) one person catches feelings OR both do, which murks the friendzone or b) one or both meet other people, which does the same. I am ignoring the obvious grey area in my reply b/c the definition of "friend" can vary greatly in this regard"

Next was my sister, with...
"Well put James Roger, my feelings exactly. Somebody always ends up wanting more and ends up with hurt feelings."

Then Brandon, with...
"Yeah I been trying to counter or expand Rodgers answer.... I'm coming up blank. Even the analogy is solid. Lol. Ima just through a big +1 on that"

Next was Joi, with...
"I think it can work if the individuals are mature and communicate properly. It's about being open and having realistic expectations...

In all honesty I've dated someone who was dating another woman... he was open and honest with both of us and just in that getting-to-know-you dating phase... he was seeing if we would be compatible or figuring out what he wanted and because he was open about it and communicated it properly, I had no expectations except that if he decided to be in a realtionship with either of us he would be honest and let go of the other person. He made his choice to step things up with her and I respected that... I actually got invited to their wedding...

Just saying... mature ppl who communicate well can do it... "

Next commenter was good friend Sybil, with...
"Nope....it has nothing to do with maturity, and I concur with the gentleman's statement-this is analogous to communism. The idea in theory is cute but wouldn't work. Emotions cannot be void in a situation whereby the initial attraction was obviously more than simply physical. The more you "do" something the more familiar...the more familiar the more one gets used to something it becomes habitual. Need I say more? BTW I love the Phlip ;)"

Roger returned...
"@ joi, if im understanding what u described correctly, im honestly in a similar situation, and its part of the grey area of interpetation imho i wasnt going to address. A friend can be a person u are romantically interested in to just a homegirl/homeboy u wouldnt date for whatever reason. I think most opinions lean toward the latter, but your point/situation is valid as well. I guess we'll see where this is going when phil hits us with blog, lol"

[Phlip note - why yes, yes I will]

Joi came back to the discussion, with...
"@ James - friends make the best lovers so it's natural to want more... but if you're aware that there is a possibility of not having more and you weigh the odds... I was happy to have him in my life as a friend... he was a cool guy and I liked hanging out... if it would have turned into something more then I would have been open to it because I was lonly and we got along great but it is what it is...

and the attraction was there... I met the guy because I thought he was sexy as hell and he introduced himself... I couldn't get him out of my mind... but I'm one of those girls who doesn't rush, doesn't get attached easliy, and is thankful for whatever reason he was placed in my path... We discussed the possibility of a relationship, how things would work... I even met his fam. But bottom line is that when things happen they happen for a reason and it was cool for what it was... Maybe I'm just not that emotional...

I'm sure most opinions lean toward it not working... but that's based on the individual... If you're one of those chicks who starts looking at wedding dresses after a couple of dates then I think you should avoid this kind of thing... I roll with the most strong, independant professional sistahs in my city who are too busy saving the community, getting education, or working crazy jobs to stress about where a man is or what he's doing... but sometimes on a Saturday night those same chicks get lonely and want a lil company... they are honest and by Sunday morning it's back to grindin'...

Just depends on the person...

Good luck with your situation James! "

Next was Tiffany, with...
"Sure, it works....as long as both continue to reap the benefits. Women have a hard time sexing without emotion though, by nature we are emotionally attached to our...uh...lady parts. Men aren't. That is why when men cheat, they sometimes do it for the sex, plain and simple...women cheat out of spite and to me, that makes it worse when we do it. Sexist? Maybe, but women's equality or not...we are never gonna be equal, we just aren't wired that way....I can say it, cuz I am a woman."

Roger returned with...
"@ joi, i meant that to say most people, and possibly phil, consider friends with benefits a few steps beyond a jump-off, someone your cool with but dont see in that way romantically, but arent at dateable status. I dont know if someone u fully intended to date counts if it dont work. Cause backing off wouldnt see any benefits, right??. Thanks @ good luck"

Joi came back with...
"@ Tiffany - I agree!!!

@ James... if I was completely intending to date him I wouldn't have been cool with it... he was attractive, I was lonely... I was open to the possibility of more becuase I was lonely but relationships like that never work out anyways... I'm really honest with myself and others about why I do the things I do... I know when my emotions control a situation and I'm the first one to admit that I am selfish when I want to be...

Back in the day when I used to go to clubs (and by that I mean a couple of years ago...lol) one of my girls had a fwb... they would leave the club together every weekend but didn't talk during the week... I suggested she date him and she said nope, just wasn't her type in terms of settling down. The physical was good, and he was cool enough to chill with for the night, talk to, hang out... but she couldn't picture a future with him and she let him know she was focused on getting her degree (actually her third, cause my sistah is working on the fourth now... just so you understand where her mind is at). Dude was cool with it... he liked not having to worry about random groupies trying to lock him down... They ended it because they both got busy and stopped going to clubs... ... See More

My point is that even the most ideal fwb situation has to back off at some point..."

Brandon volleyed with...
"Reading all the replies here sir Phlip left that kind of open. The Range of answers here also leads to the question define FWB. Is it that chill friend you sometimes sex? Or is it that person you never call unless it's for sex? Does benefits mean sex or could it be just a good ol fashioned middle school make out session after dinner? How do these levels effect your answer"

[Phlip note - salient point, yellow man, but I left nothing to interpretation... Put a pin in this point, I will discuss it later]

Joi answered him with...
"@ Brandon - mine refers to whatever you want it to be... If you just need a lil foreplay and the other person is cool with it then leave it at that...

I am referring to someone that you're cool enough to chill with and by that I mean that if there was no physical this is someone who you could possibly hang with."

Liza commented with...
"i have to agree with both joi and james....i have what i consider a fwb situation...he works out of town a lot b/c of his job bt we'll get together for a night when he gets back into town....he's not looking for a boo and i'm not either...said all of that to say that if you are honest and good lines of communication it can work....btw this person has been a fwb for 5 yrs give or take...we went our ways when i got into a serious relationship and linked back up once it was over....."

Next was Andre, with...
"It can work as long as the two are adults about the situation. "

Last commenter before I stopped counting then was Derek, with...
"There's gonna come a time when you have to love yourself more than being a fwb. There's truly no benefit in being friends with benefits, especially when you have children. Your main focus should be creating a positive family environment for your offspring."


I did leave some of the back and forth out of this one, things that were exchanged between respondents to clear things up.

As for me?
There's a reason that Roger and I are best friends, we very often think exactly alike...
As a result of real-life experiences, I subscribe to a set of governing disciplines that generally leave my answer somewhere between "probably not," just plain "no," or "I wish" and usually somewhere in the neighborhood of "hell no." I spent large amounts of time perfectly and happily single doing what I wanted to do in the world. Everyone I came involved with was made perfectly aware that I was not "looking" for anything more than, unless I carried it as such. Rarely in a real rush to bed a chick, but not likely to turn down advances, my life was a bit of a maze of "friends with benefits" arrangements, each to be jettisoned as soon as the "friends" side of it was violated outside of mutual agreement to do so.
And that is the thing. It is HARD for all involved parties in such an arrangement to want to remain JUST "friends with benefits," instead treating it as if it will absolutely be a springboard to something more. Frankly, it should be the springboard to something more, unless you just don't really like the person like that, at which point you might wanna pause and question the "friendship" aspect in itself... Unless you like the idea of selling yourself short.
[Phlip note - you know, because everyone is the PERFECT partner for whomever they should so decide to be that to... /sarcasm]
Just as difficult is to be the other side of that with no real intentions of taking it there, but no less having the bait-and-switched feeling that comes with being presented as such. Seriously, it is difficult to quell such a situation without putting it to an end altogether.
In the grandest scheme of things, we're all sinners and are perhaps wrong for even being in the "friends with benefits" situation to begin with, but we're also humans and the flesh is weak. Don't judge me.

There seemed to be a bit of confusion as to the definition of "friends with benefits," so I must reiterate that if you're just hanging out with someone, going out and/or biding time without sex -- and not just some foreplay and heavy petting -- involved, then you're just friends, but the "benefits" are not there. "friends with benefits" equals "casual sex," which is the defining element. Sure, two mature people can hang out or even date just fine, but once nekkidness is involved, problems occur more often than not, and usually it is because someone caught feelings and the other did not.

So as to not be so serious here, the situation is presented humorously from an entry I read a while ago:
http://www.flyguychronicles.com/wp-content/themes/flyguychronicles_v2/fgc/images/newarticlepics/6497.jpg

As it were, I am more than pleased with where I am now than I was with prior arrangements, but I guess the right person will do that for you, no?
While the whole Friends With Benefits thing might look GREAT on the surface and does happen to work sometimes, the possibility of it continuing to work and being worth a shit is just not terribly realistic.

Also, I think I need to ask Roger to wait until a couple people have responded, perfectly placed analogies suck all the wind out of what could be an interesting debate, lol.
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