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Miranda Writes: Friends With Benefits—No Benefit at All!




by Omar Miranda



Hello again! On my latest turn around the Insight magazine Web site I happened across this post. It troubled me so much—not only for what it said but also for what it didn’t say. Here it is:

I have a friend that over the past four months has had three boyfriends. The thing that is concerning me is that with the last one she became really intimate and started birth control. Now she has broken up with him because he found out he has a 1-year-old kid in another state. She is now going to start doing what she calls “friends with benefits” with a guy she hardly knows. I know she needs a lot of prayer, and I have been praying, but I’m really concerned. Do you think there is anything else I can do? I have seen her reading her Bible on the bus lately too. Also, her dad died of a drug overdose when she was 12. She never knew him before that either. She is a senior in high school.—Patriotic.

“Patriotic,” thanks for being brave and bold and caring about your friend. It sounds as though you have a real reason to be concerned about her! I find it interesting that your friend continues to have sex with guys even though she just broke up with her most recent boyfriend because he got another girl pregnant whom he’s not married to! Isn’t it amazing how people can continue doing behaviors that hurt themselves, others, and their relationship with God, and ultimately fool themselves into excusing those things away and thinking that everything’s OK?

There are a couple of things that you can do for your friend, but first I want to make sure I understand the concerns you’ve brought up and address the one attitude you didn’t say outright but is in your heartfelt prayer request. You mentioned in your prayer request that your friend’s father died of a drug overdose when she was pretty young and that she never really had a close relationship with him before that. It sounds as though she’s going to need some counseling concerning the death of her father, and the simple fact of never knowing him is an issue as well, I’m sure. You also mentioned that she’s had a string of three boyfriends in the past four months. Wow, that’s a lot of boyfriends in a short period of time. If I could talk to your friend, the first thing I would ask her is “What are you looking to get from all those boys whom you’re going out with?” My guess is that she’s trying to fill the hole of love, attention, and belonging that a relationship with her father never filled. Also, I’m concerned that even though she’s taking birth control she can still get pregnant and isn’t protected against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). By the way, did you know that even condoms don’t fully protect against STDs? The only thing that’s 100 percent foolproof is doing it God’s way—waiting to get married to have sex! God knows what He’s doing! YEAH, go God!

Anyhow, true friends hold each other accountable. I absolutely agree with you that you’ve got to do more for her than just pray. If you’re watching her about to drive her car over the side of a cliff, you would do more than just pray for her, right? God always wants us to pray, but many times He also wants us to act as well. In other words, we’ve got to put feet to our faith. 

In the prayer request you stated, “She is now going to start doing what she calls ‘friends with benefits’ with a guy she hardly knows.” I want to make it clear that the whole “friends with benefits” thing, or more commonly known as “FWB,” is loosely defined as two friends who have a sexual relationship without being emotionally involved—typically two good friends who have casual sex without a monogamous relationship or any kind of commitment. Now, I have a huge problem with the concept of “casual sex.” There is no “casual” sex. Sex is a serious thing that God made to be experienced and shared by two people who are married to each other. Sex is God’s glue that cements two people together for life. It also sounds as though you might be excusing the whole “friends with benefits” thing and saying that if she knew this guy better or for a lot longer, it would be OK for her to be involved in this kind of relationship. I certainly hope that isn’t the case.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, I’d like to address several different action steps you can take to help your friend:

1. First, you can pray. Prayer is an awesome start, and you’re already doing that. But you’ve also got to prayerfully, honestly, and boldly address the reason(s) she continues to do these types of things.

2. Second, you’ve got to talk to her about what she’s doing. You mentioned that she was reading her Bible on the bus. If she’s reading her Bible, that’s a great sign—that means that the Holy Spirit is talking to her and she’s listening and she either feels guilt about what she’s doing and trying to stop or she doesn’t feel bad about it at all and still sees herself as a Christian. Either way, you’ve got to talk to her. One idea could be to ask her what she’s reading about and offer to read the Bible with her. Maybe if that goes well, you could offer to study the Bible with her and do a study about sex, dating, and relationships. This way you can address this issue more openly with her.

3. Last, you’ve got to let somebody else know. Here’s the bottom line (I’ve made a lot of teenagers mad with this statement): people’s brains aren’t fully formed until about age 25! Specifically, the unformed areas are the limbic system and prefrontal cortex; these are the areas of the brain that help people make wise decisions, weigh benefits, risks, and consequences, and generally regulate risk-taking. They also help people to actually listen and process guidance and counsel that they’re receiving from caring, concerned friends, family, and other responsible adults such as parents, teachers, pastors, Christian counselors, Sabbath school teachers, etc. In the teenage stage of life, with those parts of the brain not fully devoloped, teens can make decisions that can and will affect them negatively for the rest of their lives (e.g., “friends with benefits”). Don’t get me wrong—it is possible for teens to make good decisions; it’s just different and more difficult, perhaps, than later when their brains are fully developed. So regarding the fact that you’ve got to let somebody else know about what’s happening, your friend needs to be hearing good, godly advice and receiving caring and tough love from as many people as she can. If she’s going to make a bad decision, you’re not going to make it easy on her. Yes, it’s her life, but the decisions that she’s making and the habits that she’s forming right now can and will follow her for the rest of her life. I’d rather you and her be a little embarrassed right now than devastated later on because of the consequences of a bad decision (disease, unwanted pregnancy, depression, anxiety . . .).

Well, Patriotic, I hope this information has helped you in making a wise, godly decision about how to help your friend.

Until next time, remember these things: God’s way is always the best way. Life is full of decisions, so make yours good ones. Put God first in your life, and you can’t go wrong.

Feel free to contact me: you can e-mail me at omarmiranda@earthlink.net; or you can keep up with me on Facebook; or you can read more of my stuff on Miranda Writes, at www.insightmagazine.org; or you can check me out or send me a message at my Web site, thriveatlife.org; or you can reach me via snail mail (slow!) at the address printed below.

In Christ,
Omar Miranda, certified Christian counselor
Abundant Life Ministries
155 Earl Street
Plainville, GA 30733
Phone: 1-770-354-2912

Omar Miranda is a Christian counselor with 20 years’ experience working with youth in public and private middle and high schools. He’s married and has two kids. He enjoys teaching the youth at his church, reading, writing, gardening, and camping. He’s a recovering knucklehead who spent a lot of time in the past doing stupid stuff away from God. He’s been back with God for years now and is eager to share what he’s learned from his experiences by answering any questions you may have about life, the Christian life, Jesus, spiritual matters, and relationships in his column, Miranda Writes.





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