Culture

You can’t have 1,000 friends that are really friends

The word “friends” has lost its meaning. It has lost its way. I use the word sparingly. Yet I seem to be surrounded by people who use it on a drop of a dime. Is that the correct phrase? Let’s look at the television show Friends. They were close-knit, saw each other every day (or so ot seemed), had each other’s back and seemed to like spending time with one another. Sure, they had a few other occasional friends. However, they seemed to not have 1000 other friends they brought in and out of the circle. The circle was the circle. It was respected.

I had that a long time ago and then everyone went their own way. I moved around so much to live in 18 cities. And yet, I keep my old friends (they are in my psychological vault) and make new ones. But I do not call the person I just shared toilet paper with in the next stall a friend. I call them a comrade.

I may seem a bit jaded. I probably am. But its a major pet peeve of mine to be called a friend when I don’t feel that word means anything. Or at least doesn’t mean anything to the friend-caller. If you call every other person a friend, it ain’t real. Or rather 85% of it isn’t real.

18 replies »

  1. Good post. I think when Facebook started, they used this term “friend” to increase subscribers. Better to us the word “follow” although my blog has 130 “followers\” but really only 30 readers. You can not even use the word acquaintance. Perhaps the best word is “contact” as in an address book. Cheers. Allan

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  2. Acquaintance. I know you’re not that young to not have heard a fancy three syllables unspellable word which is why friend is abused. Pluss people like that quaintness of friend as in however half lived or meteorically screaming through others night skies… We want that to mean but temporarily at our convenience friend which by it’s very nature it likely doesn’t. Yet you take a group on a holiday training junket? You might know them intimately for 35 years and not even believe how small that stupid trust fall that for once with guys didn’t lead to sneak agroping molestation. All the meaning needed was a smile. Why I bring that about is I came from xanga. Oh I tried a few rude lines to her squealing delight. She dropped me like a sack of bricks. It hurt yada.. I had invested. I remember it returned no not the gal date scape or scrapes
    … The conversation in questions conversation that were xanga. You met friends there was investments. It wasn’t clap hash well done it was interest. These same are here 13 years later when the site is 6 years dead… Not for everyone some Uber cliques likely remain as it relaunched in WordPress as a secret group of groups. Mine died there even if many keep up. I’ve met a few in person. True the major players seem to give their ways it’s the weird friend of friends thing like a sad weepy corner at the sappy plays closest bar filled with hooting about do you remember so and so,???!! Heh. But even that interplay tween acquaintance s brightens as friends oft it turns to be. But why must it matter so much. A waiter serving supper need not necessarily become a friend.

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  3. First, Excuse me, if You Will, ‘Friend’, ‘this’ is gonna be a ‘tiny bit epic’ heHe, while i put my ‘Little Mini-me ProFeSSoR’ Hat on as Yes; Social Sciences Interdisciplinary, Anthropology, and Health Science As Triple Major; BA, BA, And Yes, BS, were/are Excellent Pre-Requisites in University Level Education, Before i worked out in ‘the Field’; Yes, at a Military Bowling Center as Participant Anthropologist Observer; HAha, yes, as i am still doing This Free Lance Today after doing that for 25 Years as my Anthropology Career now expands online this way, ever since i Graduated in December of 1983 with the Last of those 3 Degrees; let me do the Math, quick; 36 Years in a Longitudinal Study Rather Epic As an Investigator for all of the Human Condition, From ‘Alpha thru Omega’; yes as Religion is an area of Empirical Assessment in both Arts and Sciences of Anthropology too. True, i am literally A First Free Lance Anthropologist; And Perhaps not the Last to actually write a 7.1 Million Word Bible Poem, Individually in 71 Months (Groups of Folks have done it over Centuries Before at up to 1.8 Million Words in one Together Effort) to See how that part of ‘This Study’ works out in ‘Real Life’ too…

    The ‘Dunbar Number’, through Social Science Study, suggests that the Upper Limit For Human Interactions as ‘Acquaintance Friends’ reaches a Limit of Around 150 People as this is A Max
    Social Capacity of the Average Human Brain as far as Attention and Focus; Effort and Hours in
    A Day that are required to make this Social Experience of ‘Friends’ a Reality now or 12 Thousand
    Years ago; same Human Social Capacity; yet now, Dramatically Different Environmental Circumstances.

    According to the ‘Dunbar Number’, 5 Close Friendships are A Limit of what the Average Human
    Being will Be able to actually Do in any Given Day in the Life of one Human Life, now still.

    In fact, the Social Science Study of this Suggests that the More ‘Acquaintance Friends’ We try to maintain
    the Less Close Friendships we Will Actually Be able to do; Simple Math really and truly this should all be
    common sense for anyone who Actually Practices Humanity for Real in that/this ‘odd thing’ called
    ‘Flesh and Blood Reality Now’; yes, ironically enough now.

    The Bowling Center i worked at was just about the Size of a ‘Perfect Village’ That on the Average Night could comprise no more than 150 Folks who most everyone was acquainted with then; true though,
    A Bit more Socially Stressful to me, as i interacted with that many folks in 5 of 7 Nights out of the
    Week each Week. This is why People who Work in Customer Service day in day out may not
    have much left to give and share with their ‘Significant Others’ at the End of A Day in their Life;
    true, my Wife didn’t hear much from me for 23 Years of our Marriage. The Last
    Two Years of Paid Work was sick and annual leave as Being Autistic surely didn’t help
    me avoid Total Social Animal Exhaustion any sooner; not much service with a smile at that point for sure.

    Meanwhile, my dual non-paid part of the Career as Free Lance All Volunteer Participant Anthropologist
    continued to Flourish in truly almost a ‘Perfect Microcosm’ Under ‘one Roof ‘of the ‘Human Condition’;
    ‘As The Bowling Ball Turns’, Truly A Soap Opera Real of ‘Cheer’s and ‘Norm’ Gnashing of
    Human Teeth that Village under one Roof Was/is ‘Bowling Alley Human Life’ then at its Best
    Gutter Balls and Strikes; Winners and Losers; Lovers and Haters; the Whole Dam Human Show
    Both Small and Large.

    i Will Write ‘that Book’ About ‘Bowling Alone’ too; but ‘someone’ took
    the title of ‘Our’ overall Reality first, last; hAha, not unlike ‘the Movie’, ‘The Big Lebowski too’; oh how
    Art only attempts to Imitate Life; as sure i’ll take A Liberty to Paraphrase that too; why not as
    ‘Folks’ Continue to Write A Story of Human Archetypes in General First Before Last too again…

    To make a much longer Story a bit shorter. hehe that i already have told and continue to profess
    Modern Life is all ‘F’ed Up’ as far as the Human Part of the Condition. Science Now Shows that
    the Average United States Human Being hasn’t made a New Friend in 5 Years; The Dunbar
    Number and Accompanying Theory surely ‘plays/stays’ that Number out too for Real Now…

    For a Lot of People 5000 Friends on Facebook
    may mean no ‘Real Close Intimate Friendships’ at all as by the ‘time’ they
    Peruse All ‘the Feeds’ on ‘the Friend Buffet’ they are about to Throw it all up before they do it all again.

    Considering all these Facts and Figures as far as Poetry Goes and fulfilling Story Book Revelations and
    stuff like that it gets a lot more interesting when one is trying to fulfill the Wishes of Half-A-Globe (Muslims and Christians) As A Participant Observer Anthropologist of course to Bring a Hero Back in a Place with no Sun or Moon; A New Earth Rising Where That ‘Role Play Hero’ will be Everyone’s Best Friend; hehe, or at least for Folks who wanna Hear what he and or she has to Dance And Sing As Soul Song Now And Then.

    Considering the Dunbar Number, It will Be Literally Impossible for any one ‘Super Normal Human Hero’ to do that unless they Find a Technology Work Around to at least Fulfill A Literal Part oF A STory Book Revelation.

    For me at least, i’m just killing time now; Living Eternally in Heaven Within Now; Enjoying the Hell out of Doing all that this is now, too..;)

    i call you ‘Friend’; not because i will ever Flesh and Blood Really See You or meet You; but simply For You Have Not told me to go away.

    ‘SAdly’, in my Case, at Least For Now, this/that is Really ‘A Best Friend’ to me. i will never truly have an Intimate Friend, Other than Sister and Wife Now; as i am quite Fredly; Just too AWeEomE for this World i LiVE iN Now; hehe, JusT JoKinG, hAha; But No, NoT Literally at Least, Per Empirical Assessment…;)

    i Change what i Will Do And Do Accept the Rest; Life is Awesome; i am Truly Awesome to me at least;
    And if other folks don’t like it quite literally if they will too; they can and will stay in Hell; with frowns too..;)

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  4. “Friend” today is what used to be considered a neutral or friendly acquaintance. I think a lot of the decay comes from social media. You can easily “friend” a thousand people on FB. To “friend” someone isn’t the same as being a friend but the word gets thrown about so much the original meaning is lost.

    Then there are people who define themselves by their social success. They will tend to count everyone they meet – who isn’t openly hostile – as a friend because it enhances their self-image.

    Are you familiar with “Dunbar’s number”? The number of real friends one might have must surely be far smaller than that.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunbar%27s_number

    OTOH I can count the number of friends in my life on the fingers of one hand (excluding close family). Occasionally, a new friendship will develop or an existing one will die. Maybe I have no right to comment.

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  5. A real friend is someone that is there to share the good times and the bad times, and will help you out of a jam at the drop of a hat. Sadly, most people are not there for each other any more. I have a lot of acquaintances but few real true friends.

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