I have about 730 Facebook friends but would only consider myself to have one true friend.
One of my teachers in high school claimed: If you have one friend you are really lucky, if you have two friends you are very lucky and if you have three friends you don’t know what a friend is.
It is easy to have 900 friends when the majority of your contact consists of a “Hello” while walking to campus, a conversation when drunk at a party or even a birthday wish when Facebook alerts you of their birthday.
It is harder to maintain a friendship when you are down and out, living 3,000 miles away in a foreign country with a six-hour time difference. It is even harder when you are in the middle of some random podunk town in Louisiana with no means of contact, except by letters, which must be screened first and communicated through your parents to get the proper address.
After those two “filtering cycles,” I have managed to retain one great relationship with my best friend.
Every relationship humans have on this earth is selfish. Relationships offer a multitude of things, more than anything material. But a large majority of our relationships are based on convenience. I was spoiled with friendships when I was in Isla Vista because they were all so convenient.
I remember being told several times that people were strongly opposed to hanging out with me since I lived on Trigo Road in the middle of the 6700 block. When I lived in the frat that had booze, a convenient location and plenty of cool friends, everyone wanted to hang out with me.
Those people were never friends, just moderate acquaintances. People I wouldn’t invite to my wedding, nor people I would expect to show up to my funeral. True friendships/relationships are not filtered through bad experiences, they retain after all.
There are a few people who stood by me and made the effort (phone call, e-mail) to keep in contact with me when I was going through a difficult time. I know only a very few people now that I can expect will call me back if I leave them a voicemail.
I am experiencing a lot of this filtering process now as I am essentially building an entirely new network of friends and acquaintances in my new environment. My agent, whom I haven’t yet made money for, called me back a few times and left me a voicemail soon after I called her. She is reliable and I trust her. She realizes the value of a relationship and is willing to put in the necessary time to build one.
A couple business partners, on the other hand, take a while to return my calls, which tells me I am not a priority or that they are just flaky. So I do not keep in contact with them and, essentially, write them off. Many other difficult experiences have literally left me with maybe a few good friends and my family.
I don’t view the other bullshit relationships I had as a waste of time but more as a learning process of who will put in the effort and who I want to make an effort to keep in contact with.
The people that are filtered through are either incredibly selfish, have other priorities or just don’t understand the value of a good relationship. Family never left me through the ups and downs and we have become stronger because of it. Friends really do come and go, but family is permanent.