Today I’m thinking about friends. Past, present, what makes up a friend? Obviously the people that you see face to face on a regular basis and share your heart and soul with would be considered a friend, or even those close to your heart but far away from your home can be called “friend”. What about online? Who do you consider an actual “friend” as opposed to someone you just talked with passing by? Does it involve regularly commenting on each others’ blog, Twittering back and forth, or something more? Maybe emailing “off blog” creates a bond of some kind, but would you call those people your friends?
Sometimes I feel like I’m friends with someone whom I’ve chatted with a bit online, but then I think about random strangers I chat with when I’m out and about at the store or at the school–I don’t consider them a friend. Just a friendly stranger. How is it that essentially anonymous online chatter can seem more intimate than a chat face to face about the weather?
A concept I recently discovered, but which may actually be common knowledge to the rest of the world (this wouldn’t be the first thing in that category, if that is the case!) is Dunbar’s Number. It’s the idea that we can only sustain 150 stable, inter-personal relationships (including past relationships that we’d like to rekindle, i.e. high school friends). The research is based on apes and the physical make-up of our brains. What do you think? I’m fascinated by it, and can’t say I disagree.
I’m fascinated by people, and constantly find myself contemplating people, their behaviors, their motives. I think that social media (myspace, facebook, twitter, etc.) are fun, but am astounded by their popularity. People crave interaction, crave acceptance. We’re all looking for our 150, our tribe. The way our culture has changed over the last few decades has made it difficult to find the 150–we’ve spread ourselves out so very much. I think the internet and blogs and social media sites are finally bringing us all back together, closer than ever.
Later this week I’m going to talk about finding your tribe. Have you found yours?
**Don’t forget to enter my giveaway for an Amazon gift card