No room in my digital little black book for any more. I’ve got those who’ll cry big wet tears with me when times are bad, those who’ll take the piss with me. There are others who are a little opportunistic. I know they’re hanging on in case I should ever be useful to them.
There are those who’ve picked me up off the floor when I was so wretched I could not even stand. I have drinking buddies and bloggy mates, and old school friends, and Facebook extended family and fans (of the blog not neccessarily of me!)
But when do I have enough?
Can you have too many friends? Where do you draw the line and say;
‘Sorry you cannot be my friend, I’m full?’
Of course back in the dusty past, friends were people in your village or related to you. Some friends were also family, but that’s an entirely different blog post! In those days we had a small circle of people in our lives who we’d known our whole lives. It didn’t really change as we rarely travelled out of our circle, or our town or suburb.
These days if you want, you can be friends with everyone with an internet connection.
But do you want to?
Can you really trust that many people?
Probably not. So how do we organise our friendships these days? Do we draw a line under those who we know in real life who know our past and are involved in our current life in some way? You know those friends who have children the same age or who are involved in the same leisure activities. Those people who remember when you ditched that boyfriend who had the unhealthy obsession with cats.
Or do we operate a ‘one out, one in’ scenario where we only accept new friends when a space opens up? How do we operate the cull? Is it when someone has slighted us, or when the dinner party was a woeful bore? Do we send emails to our erstwhile friends telling them that ‘we have to let them go’ as happened to the very lovely Modern Military Mother here.
Do we have a tiered system, with only a couple in the inner sanctum? What privileges does the inner sanctum offer? Are they the people you’d ring at any time and know they’d help?
I know I once did that to someone I thought of as a close friend when I had to take my husband to hospital in an emergency and I needed someone to look after my babies whilst I travelled with him in the ambulance. She said she couldn’t come. Though I must point out we are still close friends!
Which brings me to another point. How do you eject people? How do they lose your trust? Do you simply take sides when relationships split up and say to the spurned one ‘You’ll be ok you’ll make other friends, I choose him!’ as was muttered to me when I divorced?
Do you operate a three strikes and you’re out policy?
I’ve been mulling over this idea of who are my friends recently. Not only because I’ve been reading about how sociologists says we typically have an inner sanctum of up to nine close friends and then spirals of influence that could include several hundred people. But I’ve also been mulling over how friendships change when you move.
Of course they do! Oh you promise you’ll stay in touch as you tearfully walk down through the departure gate, but in my experience you really don’t. A small handful of friends will make the journey with you, but the others will move on.
I’m at that time in the ex pat life when you realise that you’re not ringing your friends at home so much anymore. I woke the other morning and realised with a start that I was not rushing out of bed to catch friends at home in NZ before they went to bed, but rather I was wondering who I could chat with in the UK. Or who I could raise on Twitter.
Not that I’ve forgotten my old friends (though they certainly don’t seem to be ringing me, which again is par for the course for the expat I’ve learnt!) but that I’ve realised that I’m moving on. As the internet and the blogosphere bring so many wonderful new people into my life I’m starting to feel a little socially pressured. Don’t ge tme wrong I love meeting all these new people and I really don’t think I’ll ever close the doors and say ‘sorry I’m full up’, it’s just keeping those relationships alive can take quite a bit of time. Can’t they?
Is it just me, or do you also find it difficult to keep up with all the friends you have, both in the real life and the virtual world?
How on earth are you going to manage being so over-friendly?
Image: Flickr Creative Commons victoriapeckham