Facebook Friends… Really?


friendsIn a Facebook world of easy and instant communication, we can be lead to believe we have many friends.

Having friends is a good thing, but it is the epitome of naivety to believe that because we have 500 people on some social network that we have many friends or found success. If you doubt lets look at an example from children.

“If we think having 500 friends on some social network makes us important, or successful, we are probably wasting our time, and have 490 too many.”

Examples from children
Many children believe that anyone who talks to them is instantly a friend. This can be a problem with talkative and outgoing children.

I had a friend who owned a family store in an area where there were many homeless, needy, and mentally disturbed people.  The store brought in a range of people, many who weren’t such a great influence for children. The parents attempted to shield their children from harm, without letting them become calloused to people in need.

As you can see this is not the most ideal circumstance to raise a child.  Especially a child who was willing to talk to anyone, and thought  these people instantly became his friend.

One day my friend asked me if I would talk to his son, about “be-friending” everyone who came into the store.  I tried to explain to him the differences between strangers, acquaintances and friends, and how we build friendships.

Like starting with meeting strangers, then becoming acquaintances and finally friends. Yet no matter how many times, or in how many ways, I tried to explain it, his young mind just couldn’t understand.

play2 friendsExperience brings wisdom
The problem is common with children, and when they get older they realize that being friendly is not the same as being a friend.  

Today, society seems to rate your standing in life, and how successful you are, by how many follow you some social networking site.

It seems to me that it’s not the quantity of friends, and contacts that helps you establish success, it’s the quality and ability to work with these friends and contacts that makes one successful.

Is it possible to have too many friends?

Having friends in important. No human is an island unto themself, and we all need the help and support from others. Yet it is vital that we develop healthy relationships, and partnerships with the right people. There are times we can think a relationship is to our benefit, when actually they can to be to our detriment. As the saying goes, we need to choose our friends wisely.

In closing, a few simple, but vitally important points on friendship.

  • The first one we learned in kinder garden, “Just because people are friendly does not make them our friends”.
  • The next we learned in elementary school, “Sometimes friends can be finicky, especially if someone else has a better toy”.
  • The next we learned in High School, “You can tell who your friends really are, because they are still there even after you fail, get in trouble, or really need their help”.
  • The last one we should have learned as adults, “Build and maintain close friendships with those in whom support one another, and where both sides mutually benefit from the friendship.” Remember there is nothing worse than having a one-sided friendship.

We find success when we reach our goals.  So if your goal is to have 500 friends then go for it.   However don’t fall into the trap that thinking you are not important without a long list of friends and contacts. It seems to me a few good friends in real life is more important than a few hundred friends in cyberspace.