I often joke that I have too have friends – my facebook account (yes, I have one of those, unfortunately) claims that I have 168 of them. This is obviously not entirely serious, but, really… isn’t it possible to have too many? I’m not talking about facebook friends, but about the real kind. Can you have too many?
One way of looking at it is, you only have so many hours a day to put into each friendship you have. If you’re not willing to put enough effort into keeping a certain person as your friend, and they’re not willing to spend enough effort to keep you as their friend… well, then you won’t end up as friends. Even if you don’t want to say that you need to dedicate X hours a week to each friend, I think there’s a certain level of emotional involvement you need for each friendship – otherwise it’s not a real friendship – and you can only have that with so many people. I don’t want to say that you only have so much love to go around and you have to ration it, or that once you give a certain amount to one person, you can’t give it to someone else, but it does seem obviously true that you can only do one thing at a time. Much as you might like to (and I wouldn’t like to), you can’t have everyone as your friend.
As I write this, I am thinking of someone I know who wants to be friends with everyone she meets. People find it really cute and endearing and all that how she is really nice to everyone no matter what and tries to be friends with them… but it is also somewhat sad, I think… because I know that most of these people will not take her seriously; they will (and do) see her as just this strange girl who is unreasonably nice, not be inclined to really be friends with her at a less than extremely superficial level, and she will end up having no more close friends than I, the unnaturally antisocial one, do.
I suppose, of course, that much of what I’m saying here depends on your precise definition of friendship… how is friendship to be defined, anyway? Should it be defined in such a way that this girl I speak of has many friends, or very few?