Years ago, a friend and I were having lunch when we had the bright idea to try to talk to a couple of semi-attractive, but not near as pretty as our future wives, girls that were sitting next to us. It went…um…about as well as you might expect. The full details of that day will likely never be repeated. My friend knows & I know.
And that’s what makes us friends.
I once read that the average person has less than two close friends. Less than two. Like…1.74 friends. I don’t know how that works, but it makes me sad. It further saddens me that most people don’t seem to know they have 1.74 close friends. They believe they have 734 friends because social media tells them so. We have, as a culture, gotten really good at pretending we have something we don’t have.
Knowing who people are, and knowing some things about them does not mean you know them.
“2/3 of people who struggle with stress cite loneliness as their major problem, even though hundreds of people surround them each day.” – Paul Rosch
There is a Chinese proverb that says that the beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right name.
We have lives filled with acquaintances. People who know us through social media and passing encounters. They “like” our stuff, but hardly “love” us. They can’t. Love demands life. Friendship demands love.
My neighbor (and friend) had the brilliant idea this week to put in some turf in our yards instead of seeding/fertilizing the ground. We both hate mowing and this would solve literally every problem in our lives from cutting the grass to getting the kids to eat their vegetables. I’m all for it (though it will certainly be vetoed by Kristan). Turf is such an attractive option! It isn’t too expensive, it demands very little work, and it looks better than it has ever looked…
Acquaintances are astroturf. They aren’t demanding and they look pretty good from a distance.
But up close there is no life in them.
We can’t be friends with everyone, but we have to be friends with someone…and more than 1.74 someones. We are a lonely planet getting lonelier all the time.
The worst part is, from far away, everything looks just as great as it’s ever been.