Beneficial Friends

28 01 2009

I know this is a weird question, but what is the difference between friends with benefits and an actual relationship?

Through my adventures in online dating, I have come to find that many people describe the “ideal relationship” as being with someone who can be as close as a good friend. But I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that there might be a difference between being “just friends” with someone and being in a relationship with them. I’d say that people want their relationship with someone to be as good as friends …..but more. But isn’t that exactly what the term, “friends with benefits” means? Friends….with a little more; with other “benefits”? How can you say you want to be in a relationship with someone you can consider your friend, and yet not consider it to be “friends with benefits”? A typical relationship does has certain (ahem) benefits, which in turn, separates a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship from a friendship.

So is there even a difference between being “friends with benefits” and being in a relationship or is it just a different mind set? Because the mind set is COMPLETELY different in each case. In the case of “friends with benefits,” each person in the relationship thinks of the other as just a friend. And yet those involved in the relationship still “fool around” without any related baggage. In this situation, both partners are really just in it for the physical aspects and nothing else. There is no real feeling of attachment. The people are not mutually exclusive. They can see other people and it can be ok.

However, most people know that an actual boyfriend/girlfriend relationship thing has more “definite” terms and it is most often not the case where each partner can go off and see whomever they like while still in the relationship. A “true relationship” is more binding. Real relationships are supposed to have the factors of love, caring, respect, and admiration. Friends whom also have benefits can still care and respect each other, but the main difference here is that there is a lack of love. If two people really have that mentality that it is just the two of them…in love…with no others, then the “benefits” of being in a relationship are stronger than being included in the so-called term, “friends with benefits.”

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One response

29 01 2009
Cupid

Re: a lot of current discussion on the matter (*ahem* The Pope’s stance on Facebook…), I think a lot of this hinges on what your definiton of “friend” is. I have categories of friends, in a way: ones who I will probably only ever talk to or be associated with over the internet; ones who are almost exclusively phone conversation friends; ones who are great to hang out with, but I don’t call to talk about my problems; ones who understand me through and through…the list goes on. And I consider all these people friends on some level. Just the same, a “friend with benefits” is not the same kind or degree of friend as the friend many people would likely seek in a relationship. I feel like these two situations fall somewhere between “Facebook friends” and “I married my best friend.”

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