Can a person have too many friends?

June 3, 2006

Normally, the blog feeds the podcast for ideas, but today, the river is running upstream and the podcast is feeding the blog.  Last night, my friend Allie said that she has enough friends and didn't need any more unless life basically dumped them on her.  She wasn't about to go using a website designed for fostering friendship.  We were talking about fo.rtuito.us, which does exactly that.  I saw it as more of a pen pal kind of thing that would be fun and she saw it more as more obligations.  Indy kind of felt that way too in that he didn't want to create a situation where someone wanted him as a friend but he didn't want to reciprocate.  This got me thinking less about the silly website and more about the concept of having too many friends.

This was completely lost on me.  How can a person have too many friends?  I guess it comes down to semantics.  You have your very close friends whom you see all the time in your real life.  You have people you are friendly with and you see now and then.  Nowadays, you can have internet friends:  people you may never meet in real life but talk to on forums or whatever but whom you respect and enjoy just like a real life friend.  To have friends is to have a rich life.  On Friday Night Party Line, I consider everyone I have on the show to be a friend even though I have only met a handful of them in real life. In my view, one could never have too many friends.

Will Rogers is quoted as saying he "never met a man he didn't like."  This articulates the idea of giving everyone you meet a chance.  I don't see why a person can't start off being a friend to all.  Obviously, you are always going to have degrees of friendship from the very close to friendly acquaintance, but I can't ever see shutting the door.  It's almost Monty Pythonesque:  "No, I'm not taking any new friends at the moment, shove off then!"  I'm sure Allie didn't mean it that way, but it's still beyond me.  What do you think?  Can a person have too many friends?

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One Response to “Can a person have too many friends?”

  1. K Says:

    Thaed,

    I wish I could have been there for that question. When you posted the topics I joined as well. Currently I have a “friend” who is from Mexico. I gave him my blog address and he continually asks me if I am afraid of stalkers which is pretty creepy if he happened to be a stalker.

    Regardless, I think I look at it the same way as you. I don’t think you can have too many friends. I’m quite heavily into networking right now. I can not tell you the number of people that I have met through blogging. I’m not only talking about the regulars who leave comments on the site. I receive e-mail almost daily that I think realistically translates into a new business connections. It’s an exciting sort of chain reaction that is taking place.

    It could be a matter of how you define a friend. Like you, I tend to think that most are friends until they are not and that there are various degrees of friends. I struggle sometimes with blogging to define friendships. There’s usually no good gauge. I think it’s a lot of babysteps. Now that I think of it, relationships initiated online (friends or otherwise) are entered into with a higher degree of caution then someone you met in your office or at a party.

    It’s a good question though. At what point do you consider someone you meet online as a true friend? Where is the line and what happens when it’s not mutual like Indy pointed out. I’ve come face to face with this situation and I still don’t know the answer. Maybe the answer is as simple as you won’t know until you need to.

    Gah… this is long. I’ve been up for nearly 24 hours and I’m hyped up on caffiene.

    K


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