Thursday, September 18, 2014

Real friend or friend collector?

Recently, I was discussing friendships with a friend.  Both of us have been experiencing some disappointment and frustration when it comes to the people around us.  Fortunately, we can both count on each other to be a good, supportive sounding board.

While we were chatting, she made an interesting point:
I feel like I'm surrounded by people with an extreme need to collect friends. They scramble and latch on to as many potential friends as possible, but don't actually offer consistent friendship. They just continue collecting.
Hmm.  

So we're going for the quantity over quality theory here?  
People would rather have lots of superficial friendships than put energy into some deeper bonds?  
Is that because they don't care?  
Or is it because they know how cyclical friendships can be and are just collecting lots of friends so they're never truly without companionship?

  So many thoughts.

Of course my friend and I then wondered if we were guilty of this as well. Introspection for the win ....?  Something like that. Either way, I could see how someone might see me as a friend collector.  I have around 600 "friends" on Facebook and roughly 700 followers on Twitter.  But do I have bonds with all of these people?  Definitely not.  In fact, I'd argue I feel more lonely and isolated these days than I ever have in my life.  Except for maybe that time in middle school when one girl in my class convinced everyone else they didn't want to eat lunch with me. For the better part of a month.

I'm not prepared to say social media is to blame for the deteriorating meaning of friendship, but I do wonder if it gives us a false idea of who is important in our lives. And who considers us to be important in their lives. 

I definitely don't want to appear to be a friend collector. I want to be a good friend.  It's very important to me.  So I'm definitely going to start looking at how I treat and communicate with those I care about.

What do you think?  How do you tell the difference between a true friend and a friend collector?  What's the fix here?



3 comments:

  1. I've been struggling with this too lately. I feel like the collectors make themselves evident pretty quickly. Although it kinda stinks, because I feel at times I wasted my time on a "collector" instead of pursing a true friend. I think with social media and texting these days, it takes a toll on all our relationships. I've been making an effort to still send snail mail, still call, still try to do things together instead of just settling for their daily posts.

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  2. I definitely had this friend collector mentally when I was younger. It was so much fun being a social butterfly and having something to do with anyone else at the drop of a hat. When I hit 30 though, I cut out a lot of people. Most "friends" drift away by that time anyway, but I had to actually break up with an old friend who was just not good for me anymore. Awkward. I have lots and lots of acquaintances, but can count my good, real friends on my hands.

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  3. The friend collector is common in the military. All the meet and greets, coffees, and get-togethers…it's all about who can make the most Facebook friends.

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