When we hear "Friends with benefits", our minds go directly to the concept of two friends who enjoy a mutually enjoyable sexual relationship but aren't involved emotionally. There have been many arguments and articles about the level of care and involvement but that is not what I'm going to talk about today.
I value the friend who for me finds time on his calendar, but I cherish the friend who for me does not consult his calendar.— ~Robert Brault
Friends with Benefits
I always associate this term with the cliche meaning. Until recently that is. Not too long ago, my friend, a new and avid reader, was telling me about a book that he was reading. He told me that the author wrote that we are all in relationships, friendships, etc. for what they can do for us. Essentially for how they can benefit us. My first reaction was to be indignant. That's not fair! Can't I just be friends for the sake of friendship without requiring or expecting anything of that person except pure friendship? But then as this thought process began to develop (and I stopped trying to pretend to be that completely altruistic person!) I realized that pure friendship, when it is found is a benefit. Probably the best benefit, indeed! Thereby, proving that theory correct!
Friends with benefits
I don't know why but I couldn't shake off this idea. It niggled at me, bothered me. I don't even know what book he read it in or when. I know it was winter because I was wearing boots. I know some time after that I was writing another post about friendship, I asked him if he remembered the name of the book. I really wanted to read it. He didn't. I do not know why this is so prevelant in my mind. Maybe because I have been spending quite a bit of time lately, finding and defining friendships? I also think that it became important to me just by definition. I just would hate to think that friends with benefits, only include benefits of a sexual nature. That would be saying, even in that particular relationship, that sex is the only beneficial part. And that, I believe, goes by a different name! I am not putting down the idea of "friends with sexual benefits". I happen to think it can be a very special thing, a caring, physical expression between two friends. Friends with benefits also concerns me in that it could be used to describe a friendship that raises our status. Haven't you heard people say things like, "I don't really like him that much but he is good friends with the CEO so maybe he'll put in a good word for me?" I don't know. I'm probably making more out of this than needs be. I just know that I want to delve into this further. I am so sure that there is more to this concept. It can't be that simple. I have missed something and I want to find it. I want to understand it. In the meantime, though, I am happily enjoying the benefits of the non-demanding friendships that I have, knowing that all my friends come strictly with the benefits that come from being friends.
I would be remiss if I didn't spend a few moments talking about the other benefits we gain in friendship. The list is long. Often we gain popularity, introductions to the opposite sex and an extra closet of clothing to utilize when looking for that perfect outfit. Sometimes our gain is a sympathetic shoulder, someone to come to your rescue when your blind date goes sour and a partner ready to go dancing or to a movie or try a new restaurant at the drop of a hat. A friend may have the benefit of having connections, being good in math or a great cook. The benefits of a friend include someone to laugh at your jokes, someone who knows where you come from and where you have been and understand how that has molded you. Mostly, a friend is the person who listens to your assessment of something and says "I know, right?!"
Do you believe all friendships come with benefits?
© 2012 Randi Benlulu