Friendship: Quality vs Quantity

by TessaSchlesinger

by Tessa Schlesinger. Friendship is not what it used to be. It is not mere acquaintanceship. Rather it is something of depth and quality.

There was a time when friendship was defined as a relationship between two people who would, quite literally, die for each other. Now the briefest of acquaintanceship has morphed into a pretense of that elevated state. Friendship, half a century ago, and still in some parts of the world, meant celebrating the good times with wine and song, baring one’s guts to each other, and hanging out together for no other reason than enjoying each other’s company. It meant deep secrets were shared and lives were forever bonded together, bringing meaning and added depth to each. If the sum of the two parts being greater than the individual parts thereof ever meant anything, it was the eternal definition of what friendship was meant to be.

Amount of Social Interaction

Dunbar’s Number

There is a theory that it’s not possible for human beings to have adequate social relationships with somewhere between 100 and 230 people. Anything more than that, and the quality of interaction between people begins to take a sharp downward dive. Every interaction becomes more and more superficial, until little more is left than a fleeting acquaintanceship. Increase the numbers even more, and the people in one’s life become little more than objects to be used and, sometimes, items to be screwed. It is a biological imperative rather than a social opinion.

Depth and Time

Friendship takes time and investment

There is a correlation between the amount of time one spends with people and the degree of depth the relationship develops. Of course, it is perfectly possible to spend a great deal of time with someone and not to develop any depth at all. This can happy in situations where the presence of the other is mandatory rather than sought. Working relationships, for instance, can endure for decades, but because there is little common ground, will never evolve into anything other than, at best, a comfortable companionship.

Characteristics of a Friendship

What is friendship?

In a way, most friendships happen instantly. They happen between two people who instantly recognize, at some deep unconscious level, who the other is, see giant similarities, and so are bonded in much the same way that romantic love brings two lifelong partners together.

There are other friendships where two people, thrown together by fate and fortune, over a period of time, get to know each other, and despite differences. Have forged a respect and admiration for each other. In such cases, lifelong friendships endure as well.

Online Friends Vs. Real Life Friends: A Comparison
An online friend is someone you know is available every time you see that little green dot next to their name, so you write them and say hello. But sometimes it’s possible to have an online best friend who you’ve never met before in real life, but who keeps you company when you’re writing a long paper or bored at work.

The Spirit Behind Friendship

Theory of a Friendship

Many years ago, in one of those Mystic Meg books, I read a sentence or two about friendship and they struck me as holding some truth. It mentioned that we could not force a friendship with another, that it either was or wasn’t. It mentioned that friends were fated to us and was nothing of our doing. I have never, since that day, ever sought friendship from another human being. Instead I listen to the Universe, espy where the doors might open, and wait upon its bidding. Friendship happen then, and I find that it follows me, for when I turn around, there it is, faithful, true, and forever germane.

My theory is that we our physical body is enlivened by the life force – some sort of electrical field – and that we carry all the thoughts of our mind and the feelings of our heart in that field. And when we meet someone who has a similar field, the two fields merge into one, and in that moment, friendship is born.

In the Age of Tweeting

Facebook Friends and Social Networking

Just as in 140 words, one cannot write a thesis, so with five thousand followers on a facebook page, it is unlikely than any friendship will develop. As with Dunbar’s number, the human heart and mind simply does not have the biological ability to assimilate any greater number than about 150 people with any sort of meaning. And when it comes to friendship, human biology is, frankly, not competent to handle anything more than half a dozen good friends. We simply don’t have the time to have that sort of investment. Each day comprises twenty four hours. In that time, we need to eat and sleep, work and play, think and pray, and it simply does not provide the kind of quality time needed to develop and maintain friendship.

Difference Between Acquaintance and Friend
Foremost, you can gauge the level of your relationship with someone in terms of the depth of your interactions. Acquaintances are those people who, even if you see them everyday, like those who work in the same place as you do, talk superficially with you.

Acquaintance vs Friend
person who would never intentionally hurt you, lie to you, deceive you, manipulate you, abuse you and who takes great care to be kind to you, honest with you, dependable and loyal. Someone who you trust without question because they have never given you any reason not to trust them. Someone you enjoy being around and look forward to seeing. Someone who would sacrifice themselves for you

Surface Adhesive

Friends are few

It is a fact of life in the 2ast century, that with web interaction, too much to do, and too little time to do it in, that friendship has gone out the window and it has being replaced by a masquerading acquaintanceship.  Few have any understanding of what the word once meant or have known a bond that once so deeply tied two or three people.

I Lost My Friends When I Lost My Money, Got Divorced, and/or Married a Frog

Lost my friends

Some will tell you that once they had many friends, but when they lost their money, their power, their status, or moved to another city, or some other worldly intervention took place, that they lost their friends.

I don’t think so. I don’t think those people were friends. I think when people have never had a true friendship, they fail to differentiate between companionship, acquaintanceship, and friendship. A friend will not leave when times get tough; acquaintances and companions will.

Friendship is a Choice

Finding Real Friends

On social networking pages, I meet thousands of people who are busy adding numbers to their numbers. Yes, I meant that. They are adding numbers to their numbers. You see, beyond a few hundred of people, when people add thousands of people to their network, it is not friendship they are seeking. They are seeking titillation and stimulation. They are working towards selling something. They are seeking status through popularity and power through influence. But friendship? Hardly. Or, perhaps, they are seeking friendship, and they think that if they add thousands and thousands of people, they will find friends there...

The really sad thing, today, is this. That so few people have ever experienced friendship, that quite mistakenly, they give acquaintanceships barely discovered the hollowed name of friendship.

Updated: 08/27/2013, TessaSchlesinger
Thank you! Would you like to post a comment now?


TessaSchlesinger on 05/17/2013

Writer Artist... and they're worth finding. We all live too fast and furious.

WriterArtist on 05/17/2013

I understand what you mean. Nowadays, it is all on the surface, relationships that go deeper and are genuine are rare to find.

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