Growing up, my dad was in the military. This meant that much like clockwork, every three to four years I could expect to move to a new city. Sometimes even a new province. Often, during the moves, I was shipped to northern Quebec to go spend some quality time with my grandparents while my parents took care of the actual move, and proceeded to unpack kid-free. I will always remember the summer I returned "home" to Ottawa. I arrived in the middle of July. I was five years old. I remember going outside to ride my bike up and down the street (because back then, we didn't have an Xbox to play with) in hopes of meeting some kids my age. I quickly befriended two boys my age who lived a few houses down, and before I knew it, we were kickin' it daily. Several weeks into this newfound friendship, we were swimming in my froggy pool when a young girl appeared. She had long, dirty blond hair, red corduroy shorts, a white, short-sleeved blouse with little red flowers, white leather sandals, and a Burger King crown. She was friends with the two boys, and wanted to know if she could come swimming. The audacity! She just shows up in MY backyard, wants to join and doesn't even know me?! As it turns out, she was pretty cool - she kept me around, and I somehow became her best friend. She is the person who probably knows the most about me, and to this day, is my closest friend in the world.
Friday, as my work day came to an end, I found myself looking forward to an evening with her and our Halloween hostess. An evening of good food, good wine and of course great conversation. The evening didn't disappoint. We arrived and enjoyed some wonderfully tasty food, followed by some Cheetah Surge and a few glasses of red wine we had developed a whole new appreciation for while at the Wine & Food Show last weekend. As bambi and I left, our parting words were, "We'll see you tomorrow!!", knowing full-well that Saturday would be just as awesome. Saturday had been in the works for a few days now. Shopping at a new, yet-to-be-discovered place that R3's girlfriend had been gushing about, dinner, and just some quality girl-time. We all headed out late Saturday afternoon in search of treasure (a.k.a. some awesome designer finds at Hush, above mentioned store) and coffee. After our incredibly successful treasure hunt, we headed to The Grand to replenish our energy with some drinks, and well-deserved carbs. We left more than satisfied, and piled into the car to head back home.
When we got home, there was no question about what the first thing we would do was - we would get into lounge gear. We settled into the couches, armed ourselves with dessert and attacked Season 2 of Sex and the City. As I watched, like every other woman out there who has ever watched, I found I could relate. I looked at my friends and saw that we too, were much like Carrie and her tight-knit circle of friends. And as I looked closer, I found that there wasn't really anyone else I would enjoy my Saturday night with as much as with these friends. They enjoyed my company and who I was, they themselves were nothing short of a joy to be with. They are ladies I know I can count on and that I can trust. They are my go-to network of supporters when I am feeling down and need to be indulged, and they are my "I will slap you if you don't get it together!" reality check when I need it. THEY are my friends.
As I drove home, I couldn't help but think of Facebook and the obessession with having all these "friends". Really, what is the deal? Don't get me wrong - I think there are many uses for Facebook, and some of my friends belong in this group of people with 1500+ friends, but it is mainly a networking thing. I am talking about the people who don't network. The people I went to highschool with, barely whispered a word to, and are re-adding me after they have realized 8 months down the road I deleted them from my friends list back in February. I would love to know why they want to re-add me. After all, I do know you, and I guess you were an aquaintance back in high school, but did I miss something along the way - were we friends the whole time? And considering you weren't even aware that I moved away for 10 years and didn't even graduate with you, can you honestly tell me that you value our Facebook friendship status - it took you until now to realize I had even removed you.
I have long wondered what drives this need for the most friends. Are these friend whores particpants in a game of who knows more people? Are these people naive enough to think that everyone they meet is actually their friend? Are these people trying to re-live the glory days of high school/ college/ university, or perhaps trying to re-invent themselves and differ from the person they once were, a person who didn't have quite as many friends back in the day? And at the end of the day, does it matter? Should it matter? I hope you don't think for a moment that I have answers to any of the above questions - I only ask them...
In my early Facebook days, I also found myself trying to locate as many people as I could. People I had grown up with, people I had once gone to school with, people I had lost touch with or worked with. As the weeks passed, I too felt good about having all these friends, and it then dawned on me that I never actually spoke to 60% of the people I knew. I knew them yes, but they were by no means my friends. They aren't the people I call when I am feeling like everything sucks, and they certainly aren't the people I spend my Saturdays with, shopping, having dinner and enjoying Sex and the City with - they aren't my friends. Now, don't get me wrong - in the past months, I have met alot of new people, and I have added them to Facebook as friends, but I also keep in touch with these people - they enrich my life. I know their phone numbers, and when they text me (though some still need to learn about time differences), I answer back without so much as a second thought. It has taken me a long time to realize it, but knowing 1500+ people will never change your life unless they are all your friends. And real friends are few and far between. I would much rather have 10 friends and know they will be there no matter what than know 1000 people I can't rely on...
To all my friends - to those whose calls I don't screen, those who hear from me on a regular basis, those who spend hours with me as I agonize that I cannot find jeans that give me an ass or shoes that fit properly, those who understand my somtimes twisted logic and know that I will always be mildly neurotic - thanks for being my friends; you mean the world to me and make my life better. Which is exactly the way it should be.