Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

19° Evanston, IL
Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Between the sheets:friends without benefits

Jake* and I have been best friends since freshman year. We sometimes pull all-nighters together because we suck at homework and love Sarpino’s pizza. We borrow each other’s stuff and often coordinate our errand running. We don’t have sex. If you think this is the part where my eyes pop open dramatically, and I realize Jake and I are meant to be together, you’re wrong. Despite what popular media tells us, not all co-ed best friends are going to have spontaneous drunk sex in a time of weakness and then decide they’ve always been madly in love. In fact, most co-ed best friends are not madly in love. Our society has always operated under the assumption that platonic, co-ed friendship is impossible and that any pair spending a more-than-average amount of time together must be doing something on the side. In Askmen.com’s article, “Her Best Friend is a Guy,” the author warns men that if their girlfriend has a male best friend, he’s automatically a threat and needs to be rooted out as swiftly and subtly as possible. According to the article, “Heterosexual men and women cannot be best friends; sex always gets in the way. Therefore, if a guy and a girl appear to be best friends, it’s necessarily because one of them secretly wants to see the other naked.” But why is co-ed friendship so taboo? Is it because men and women actually can’t be best friends without being physically and emotionally attracted to one another? Wrong. They can, and it’s surprisingly fun and easy. It’s taboo because if a guy and a girl are that compatible, it means one or both of them is defying a gender norm to the point that a same-sex best friendship doesn’t do the trick. For example, Jake would rather attend a documentary screening with me than watch baseball with a close male friend. I would rather play Mario Kart with him than go shopping with my sorority sisters. So we’re both a little atypical, but that doesn’t mean we’re soulmates. There’s a big difference between compatibility and chemistry. Some male/female friend pairs become so familial that they’re repulsed by the thought of physical intimacy. Often, one or both parties become romantically engaged with an outside party. Unfortunately, this tends to cause problems when the new love interest becomes suspicious of the longtime best friend. If you’re a guy and your girlfriend has a male best friend, just chill out. It doesn’t mean she’s fooling around behind your back. It just means she’s a little unconventional. Treat it no differently than if she had a female friend who she occasionally hung out with one-on-one. Point being, there’s really nothing wrong with having a best friend of the opposite sex that you don’t hook up with. Friends with Benefits and No Strings Attached made a full-scale attempt last year to convince the American public that banging your best friends is the answer to everything. That doesn’t mean it’s true. Don’t bang your best friend. Unless of course you want to. But at that point you’re not dealing solely with friendship anymore. *Name has been changed

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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881
Between the sheets:friends without benefits