how many friends do I need?

As of last week, I have been blogging for six years. There weren’t that many of us when I started, and making friends with those few fellow bloggers was exciting. There was a stimulating feeling of camaraderie and an open sharing of who we really were. I made, perhaps, a dozen blogger friends, and I still feel connected to most of them.
Now there’s Facebook, which is the “social network” to which many of my original blogger friends belong, and so I can keep up with them all using that application as a portal. I play Scrabulous with some of them, and interact with them (virtually) more than I do with any of my friends in the real world. Of course, that’s the isolated nature of my life as a caregiver.
One of the bloggers I know has more than 300 Facebook “friends.” Umm. I can’t imagine even having that many casual acquaintances.
I guess I have no need for friends on paper (metaphorically, of course, in this virtual world). I like to actually interact with my friends, and I only have so much time and energy to do so.
So I try to keep my “social network” friends at a minimum
But now I’m in a new network , a network of “third-age women, ” one of “…women growing old with joy and zest, wit and wisdom.” And I am confronted with the challenge of how to participate in that network authentically. It’s a chance for some new virtual friends with whom I share, if nothing else, the experiences of age.
But how many friends do I need? And, more importantly, how many friends do I have the time and energy to get to know.
I haven’t figured that out yet.

3 thoughts on “how many friends do I need?

  1. You need only this woman growing old with joy and zest, wit and wisdom, and the other eleven you befriended way back then :).

    Strange thing, Elaine. I’ve met many people over the past six years, but the most enduring friendships have been those made in the early days, when we discovered this most remarkable of mediums.

    I guess that might sound a bit “oxymoronic”, i.e. long friendships being the most enduring but, yup, only a few really good friends made since then. I hit the mother lode and have never felt the need to actively seek new friends.

    I seldom speak to several of my initial dozen or so friends but, when I do, we fill comments boxes. Long may these most valuable of friendships last.

  2. Me too. What Mike said. But also consider that some of us are stuck in the world of systems work, in harness until we die and these SocNets are as much professional schmoozefests as they are reflective of close relationships.

    I read somewhere that anything over 150 in a network of people is unmanageable and essentially meaningless. That sounds like a good number to me. But I’ll continue to add bright and creative people I’ve met, or whose books and/or blogs I’ve read like beads on a string, and maybe someday I’ll feel less like I’m making a cold call if I check in with them to share some harebrained, crackpot systems scheme and ask their advice on whether and how to proceed. So it ain’t all black and white I guess is what i’m saying.

  3. Even though I’m not a part of the world of systems, and most of the blogger friends I made early on are, I enjoyed interacting with them on a more personal level. To be honest, except for the implications for our culture, I have little interest in how it all works on a substructural level. But I am interested in the people who make it work and who they are as individuals. As a result, my blogroll is out of date, but the contacts I keep are not.

    Where will it all end? That’s what I’m interested in hanging around long enough to find out.

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