The Benefit of Friends

The Importance of Sexual Restraint and Friendship in Marriage Formation For young adults today, the word “friend” has multiple and sometimes contradictory meanings. For example, the term “friend” can refer to one’s “best friend (BFF)” or “boyfriend” or “girlfriend”—labels that typically convey an ongoing relationship of commitment and concern between two people. But at the same time, someone can be “friends” with several hundred people on their Facebook page, many of whom he or she never associates with or barely knows. And even a stranger is considered “friendly” when he is nice or courteous, even though there is no ongoing form of friendship in that association. In our modern society the word “friend” can be used to refer to some of the most significant relationships in our lives and also to transitory and insignificant associations between loosely connected individuals. In fact, the use of the word “friend” has become so ambiguous that it could be argued that the word has experienced what could be called “verbacide”—or the death of a word. The word is still in use, but its exact meaning has become lost. Perhaps the most blatant distortion of the term “friend” in the modern teen and young adult vocabulary is the phrase “friends with benefits.” This phrase is commonly used to describe two friends who have casual sex without a monogamous relationship or any kind of commitment. In this example, the term “friend” is used to intentionally convey a lack of ongoing commitment or involvement with the other person. The pattern of being “friends with benefits” is tied to the hook-up culture that is increasingly common among young adults today, and is viewed by many as part of the harmless process of young people “sowing their wild oats” in ways that will eventually prepare them to settle down and marry. But is that what actually happens? For years, the phrase “sowing wild oats” has been used to d
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