In the nineties it was swinging; in the noughties it was The Gay Best Friend; what will this decade’s new-in-sex thing be? Friends Without Benefits: the only one-stop-shop for all your emotional relationship needs this Winter.
A new trend is creeping into the student population. Chances are, if you look around your group of friends, there’s probably a Friends Without Benefits couple, and if there’s not – you’re probably it.
Think Friends With Benefits (a scenario we’ve all heard of/been there), but the opposite; not sex without a relationship, but a boy/girl friendship, acting like they are a couple in every sense, except when it comes down to it, they’re not actually having sex.
You know exactly who I’m referring to already: they’re best friends, they turn up to parties together and they know virtually every single one of the other’s embarrassing squirmy stories. They speak on the phone regularly, almost daily, and they spend unnecessary amounts of time in each other’s company. They eat together all the time; they turn to each other first for advice; and they’re pretty much acquainted with all of the other’s friends and family.
Friends Without Benefits act so much like a couple, that most people actually think that they are. Except – this is the important part – they’re not.
Friends Without Benefits offer all the good bits in a relationship (minus the sex, obviously), plus the extra part of a friendship that doesn’t always work when sex is involved: brutal honesty.
So, The Wessex Scene brings you the low-down on the boundaries re Friends Without Benefits, the best thing singletons will need to get through the long cold winter.
With A Friend Without Benefits you can:
– Call them up crying in the early hours of the morning when you’re drunk and upset.
– Text them all day long, with relationship style regularity (but not content).
– Arrive at and leave parties together.
– Share honest love advice (‘He’s too cool for you, he probably just wants sex’ etc).
– Go out for lunch for several hours without having to make small talk. And then have dinner.
– Have in-jokes that other people don’t understand.
– Banter each other in a way that no-one else could ever get away with.
– Flirt with them subtly when you feel bad about yourself, because you know it won’t go any further.
However, you cannot take it any further when they flirt with you, or have sex.
This is pivotal to the relationship. Sex will only get weird because you know each other’s bad lines and because the whole beauty of your relationship depends upon this one rule that cannot happen. It allows the fishing for compliments, subtle flirting and relationship-esque behaviour.
Be aware though that one half of this dysfunctional but popular relationship is unfortunately likely to get the wrong idea at some point. Market research (or discussion down at the pub) has indicated, that one of the two is likely to look into such platonic relationships in occasional unnecessarily-romantic ways. The line needs to be firmly drawn at sex; because Friends Without Benefits is fun, but love-sick awkward best friend is not.
So, it’s OK to snuggle on the couch with your straight opposite sex best friend to watch a film this Winter – as long as you forget all that ‘When Harry Met Sally’ nonsense.