you shouldn’t have friends with benefits.

1 Jun

Recently, I was enjoying some chitchat with a Grown Woman-Friend who uttered the following sentence, “Yeah, I guess we were friends with benefits for a year, but that’s over, so whatever.” What we’re going to talk about today is the so whatever part of her statement which, by way of preview, isn’t so whatever.

Somewhere there’s a slimy fella who coined the phrase “friends with benefits”. For real, this guy should be shunned by his Jersey Shore community and prohibited from procreation. F.W.B. has come to signify a relationship between two people who enjoy hanging out and talking (friends) while every-now-and-again partaking in some measure of “benefits” or, as it’s more commonly known to idiots, hooking up – gag. In any event, there’s a culture of men who see having a friend who they neck with as the holy grail of non-committal, relational fulfillment. Grown Men, you are perpetuating a problem.

The problem is this – you’re a hunter. You love the idea of seeing a random pretty girl and finding a way to smooch with said lady. You’ll do anything in your power to take down that doe. You’ll talk on the phone for hours about “how [she’s] the only one who seems to understand who you really are”, you’ll invite her to your house over the weekend to chill with your parents, you’ll even spend money on her – now you’re really laying it on thick! The simple truth is, you’re genetically hard-wired to flirt and make a woman feel special. And you know what? That’s okay. Women are worth being pursued and doted on. The problem lies in the end game which, for you, is over with her giving in to your purported charm and delivering some “benefits”.

What transpires is that you realize you’re not ready for a relationship, which is okay, people breakup all the time. However, you don’t break up or stop treating her like a girlfriend, you simply keep the foot on the gas enough to get an occasional “movie” but not enough to worry about holidays, anniversaries, or feelings. You’re loving life while she’s simply holding on to whatever she can get from a guy who tricked her.

Grown Men, friends with benefits is a myth. You may think she’s a friend, but I’m telling you that somewhere, deep down inside, she’s invited you into a place that’s reserved for boyfriends and husbands. Because you are neither of those things, you need to vacate.

One more thing. Women have an equal share of responsibility and blame in F.W.B. relationships. But this is a blog for grown men who have it in them to do the right thing. No more, so whatever’s, okay?

33 Responses to “you shouldn’t have friends with benefits.”

  1. lookingforsomethingtofind 2 June 2010 at 11:02 am #

    I disagree, it depends on the woman, for most definitely you are correct, but for some it works. I’d say if you are exes who keep in touch, it’s a little better, women enjoy sex too.I read that in fact, guys have more difficulty with it than women (prone to jealousy etc…). Like most things it really depends on the person.

    • You're a Grown Man 3 June 2010 at 1:19 pm #

      Totally fair point, thank you for making it. The problem with trying to be funny AND speak to men is that sometimes it works better to take a firm stand rather than explore the gray area of the issue. Thanks for pointing it out…

  2. bmj2k 2 June 2010 at 2:29 pm #

    I’m not sure I agree with your reasons, but you are right- they don’t work, stay out.

  3. Julia 2 June 2010 at 3:57 pm #

    I don’t know why people pretend these things work. They never do. Only for a hot second, but then whatever happens.

  4. wenderfulwords 2 June 2010 at 6:01 pm #

    Well they never work unless you have a “Grown Ass Woman” who knows the deal and realizes what she is contributing may be equal to your contributions less expectations. Many women if not on the same page contribute with expectations as stated, however, site the “rules of the game” and live by them and forever hold your peace!

    • You're a Grown Man 3 June 2010 at 1:22 pm #

      Wonderful words, Wenderfulwords. I guess being on the same page would prevent some measure of discomfort.

  5. mct88 2 June 2010 at 6:28 pm #

    Just had this conversation with a friend (boy). Though, both may be at fault-the “man” bears the brunt of the blame.

    Thoroughly enjoying your posts. Will most definitely be stopping by quite often.

    • You're a Grown Man 3 June 2010 at 1:29 pm #

      I agree, the fault is mutual, which is a hard pill to swallow. My hope is that guys do the right thing and, at least, eliminate their role in it.

      Thanks for reading and commenting. Have a great rest of the day.

  6. izziedarling 2 June 2010 at 7:02 pm #

    Wow. Are you real?

  7. nomadie 2 June 2010 at 10:21 pm #

    I like your point of view, Grown Man. I think generally women pretend they can hang in the FWB world, but agree that in the end they get caught up (of course, there are those hardcore female exceptions who play the game). Men are much more capable of having long-term FWBs without catching feelings.

  8. MsClearance 3 June 2010 at 12:14 am #

    Grown Man,

    Honest post. Don’t forget there are those few males who take on the stereotypical female role and vice versa. When it comes down to it, it depends on the two people and how ‘mature’ they handle that FWB thing. I admit, it’s hard to imagine that person with another – meanwhile, they were just at your place last night! Yeah, that’s why I can’t do FWB and really, there is no benefit in the end. It’s a momentary thing. I look forward 2 your next post!

    • You're a Grown Man 3 June 2010 at 1:32 pm #

      I totally agree, men can take the stereotypical female role and vice versa – which is totally fine and normal. With this blog I try to speak to the most common denominator which, at times, leaves out a segment of people. Great comment, thank you.

  9. knownever 3 June 2010 at 12:26 am #

    It’s interesting. we seem to have come to a similar conclusion about the weirdness of dating in the modern times from opposite directions…
    Sometimes straight women go on the prowl for a straight (more or less) man with whom we can have and actual conversation and a casual dating relationship. Not as juvenile as a “friends with benefits” scenario because when are those people ever actually friends? And their success in this prowl is blocked by the platonic opposite of FWB. it seems like we’ve gotten to the point where men and women can actually be legitimate friends who never date or sleep together and actually hang out and talk about things (my parents are baffled by this and incredulous, “but you mean, he’s not your boyfriend?!?”). Problem is lots of straight people who aren’t ready to date get the platonic support they need out of friendships and don’t want to mess it up with sex. They get to act like they’re dating someone they think is cool (be nice to people, give people presents, talk about feelings) while still pursuing totally random hook ups with the ragingly brain dead idiots they have to pretend to want to talk to on the phone. (FYI straight girls hate hearing about how “you’re the only one who seems to understand who I really am”). Thus, everyone sleeps with people they don’t really like and all the people they do like are friends and thus not boyfriend material

  10. treiffus 3 June 2010 at 1:39 am #

    I’m in one of these now and you’re absolutely right– though both parties start out agreeing to a certain set of “rules of engagement,” it’s not long before she’s secretly hoping to covert you to the world of the full time BF– and meanwhile you’re still ignoring the warning signs and saying, “well, hey, we already agreed on how this was supposed to go.” A responsible man would say, “this has gone far enough, you’ve broken the contract with all these feelings, sayonara.” But the selfish man says, “yeah, but this is SO MUCH FUN.” And that’s how she gets hurt– and nobody wants that. I have a terrible track record on being a responsible man– but this post gives me some good food for thought. Well said, and good writing!


  11. Wharton Chiropractic 3 June 2010 at 1:42 am #

    Hello, just found this blog. I like your comments, grown man. Doing the right thing is something many of us have failed to do, as grown men. Myself included of course. Thanks for being a voice of reason… and levity! God bless.

  12. rebel24 3 June 2010 at 4:56 am #

    I agree and disagree…I came across this term when I was watching one of the episodes of Big Bang Theory…I wonder why the Label is given….Its very important for the man and woman to have a 1 on 1 conversation and define their relationship….Its ok to have a fling, and walk away or still be friends….I wonder y there is need to define…
    I hate Relationship Definitions….They complicate an already complicated relationship…

  13. G 3 June 2010 at 6:38 am #

    I think there’s no all-encompassing generalization about this topic. It would be better to just advise people to know themselves and be compassionate and considerate to others.

    For example, not all men like to spread it around, and not all women find promiscuity difficult.

    I do suspect that even within the most truly, naturally, genetically (hormonally, culturally, whatever) slutty person there is still likely to be a little voice saying, “fall in love with the perfect partner, settle down and make babies”, but still, maybe ‘friends with benefits’ is doable for them nevertheless. It’s not my bag, but I don’t rush to judgement.

  14. lookingforsomethingtofind 3 June 2010 at 10:00 am #

    I hate comment twice on a post, but people seem to be missing the concept of the friends part, of friends with benefits. There is a relationship there beyond sex, only instead of being romantic it is that of a friend. People care about their friends, hang out with them, help them out, and are loyal to them. So it, if done properly encompasses all the things a friendship ought to, plus you happen to have sex. At any point where there other friend, finds herself in a romantic relationship, and doesn’t want to be with someone else, you go back to being friends sans the benefits. It also doesn’t mean both of you are necessarily promiscuous, it just means that those romantic strings, and those strings are not just sexual strings, I would think most people who agree are more differences to friendship and romance than sexual exclusivity, aren’t there. Of course if she is the type of person, whom a friends with benefits situation would be uncomfortable for, you don’t even suggest it, you know cause she’s your friend and friends look out for each other.

    • G 3 June 2010 at 10:47 am #

      I don’t see ‘promiscuity’ as being applicable only to prolific shagging; I see it as also being applicable to loveless/casual shagging. It’s in some cases a dubious dissociation between acting and feeling.

      I feel friendly towards friends, and sexy towards lovers. Different feelings, different actions. I feel vague attraction to friends of the opposite sex, but it never builds to the point where I want to actually have sex with them, because my sex-urges are tied to relationship-urges.

      I disagree with the poster for saying that ‘friends with benefits’ are a 100% no-no, at all times, for everyone, but I also disagree with commenters who want to totally justify the concept.

      You know, maybe it’s just that in an imperfect world we would usually rather have something than nothing (hence: porn)? Fair enough; even animals sometimes accept substitutes over total abstinence, but we shouldn’t kid ourselves that it’s what we wanted all along. I think, TENTATIVELY, that in the vast majority of cases, ‘friends with benefits’ is a compromise that comes with an inevitable cost, even if the cost is an unobserved distortion of the emotions and of sexual/mating behaviours. Once again, that does not mean that I think ‘if you do this you are bad/stupid’.

  15. lookingforsomethingtofind 3 June 2010 at 12:39 pm #

    Personally I’ve had friends with benefits situations I have enojoyed and felt more comfortable in, that actual relationships, there is a lack of pressure, and I think one can be more honest with their friends than with anything else. That being said, I agree with the above poster 98 percent of the time, that friends are friends and lovers are lovers, there is that 2 percent where the timing, and disposition of the people lend the F.W.B. things to be something rather fulfilling in it’s own way. I know with allot of people, that what they call friends with benefits is just about lust, if done properly it’s a convergence of lust and friendship. In the vast majority of times it is a compromise, maybe it’s that I’m a rather unromantic person, or just peculiar but when it works it can be as beautiful in it’s own way as love, just more relaxed and more breezy. Like an on, off again thing without the intensity and same degree of emotionality.

    • G 3 June 2010 at 12:55 pm #

      Yeah, I think that’s pretty much right.

      I’ve once or twice almost gotten into that sort of situation, but I think that if you’re to go about it responsibly, the stars really have to be in alignment; the circumstances have to be just so, and to know that takes intuition.

  16. lauraruthward 4 June 2010 at 6:16 am #

    Somebody’s gonna get hurt…

  17. the fairer sex 7 June 2010 at 7:10 pm #

    Way to be incredibly sexist and assume that women all want to be wooed and married and would shudder at the thought of casual “benefits”. We aren’t all holding out for more, gentlemen. In fact, I’m hoping you won’t bother calling me the next day. There’s a gossip girl marathon on and I don’t want to listen to you complain about your day at work.

    • You're a Grown Man 7 June 2010 at 7:12 pm #

      Fair enough, thanks for bringing up that point. And, even though you don’t agree, thank you for reading.

  18. Jordan 1 September 2010 at 12:01 pm #

    Late to the party, but this post is sort of sexist. What if the woman initiates the relationship? I’m involved in a situation right now with a woman who is perfectly content not worrying about “holidays or feelings” and just wants a little affection now and then. We both know exactly what’s up.

    If, however, one party is lying and thieving their way into panties/boxers, I agree that’s a problem.

  19. Christiana 13 December 2010 at 12:35 pm #

    *cough* I don’t mean to be necro-posting, but I felt the urge to share my opinion.

    My two cents. ^-^

  20. Dan-o 2 July 2012 at 3:14 pm #

    First, the phrase was not coined by a “slimy fella,” it was first used by Alanis Morissette in 1995. Secondly, your complaints do not sound like those of a grown woman, but of a little girl who still believes in fairy tales.

  21. Stephen 4 April 2013 at 9:17 am #

    To be honest, this seems a little ridiculous. You seem to be trying to maintain a “neutral” gender stance that both parties are to blame for getting themselves into a friends with benefits situation, but at the same time you’ve almost completely focused on the men as the bad guy.
    I know there are cases where women think they can change a guy, and some guys do perpetuate this, but I think you’ve confused “friends with benefits” which implies a mutual, if not poorly advised, relationship with the understanding that the two are not a “couple” and that they remain emotionally unattached, with “players”, the guys who know how to operate with women.

    If you’re going to call on men to “grow up” and start acting like mature adults, maybe you should consider these aren’t all little girls who’ve never been in a relationship before; they’re in the same boat as the men, and if it’s a mutual relationship in which both parties are to blame, maybe you should address the women as well.

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