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Thursday, 19 February 2009
Have you ever noticed the difference in the way people define 'friends'?
The other day I was talking with someone who told me, somewhat proudly, that he could count all his friends on the fingers of one hand. And he didn't mean in binary.
It reminded me of a conversation I once had with some... well, I won't call them friends, since we haven't defined the word yet. Let's settle for "some of the girls I knew at university". A bit long winded, but it'll do.
Anyway, we were out for dinner one evening and we ended up having a conversation about friendship, and one of them made a similar statement about having a very small number of friends. The others agreed, and they proceeded to discuss how we weren't friends with one another, and wouldn't see each other after we graduated, and that this was how things should be because "it isn't possible to have very many friends".
Meanwhile, I sat there feeling more and more like an alien, as they strongly implied that if I had more than ten friends then I couldn't be very close to any of them.
I appreciate the difference between friends and acquaintances. Honestly I do. I have plenty of acquaintances who haven't made it into the 'friend' category yet. But I also have lots of friends. Real friends - friends I'll call up in a crisis and cry to, friends I'll go out of my way for, friends I expect to stay friends with for life.
I thought those girls were my friends, until they told me they weren't.
I'm not sure whether this is genuinely a difference in definitions, or whether I'm simply more willing than those people to maintain friendships with a large number of people... I do find it hard not to make friends with people. But I think quantity and quality are independent variables on the friendship scale.
What do you think? Which category are you in, bloggy readers - many close friends, or just a few?
P.S. Even I do have my limits. After months of not being spammed on Facebook, yesterday I had four requests from strapping young Kenyan blokes that I don't know from Adam. Four. And Facebook was asking me to "confirm that you are friends". Well..... no. Sorry. Just, no. (I also said no to the topless blonde actress, if you were wondering.)