It is an interesting time with social media and the concept of likes, friends, shares, etc. I haven’t been involved much in social media and when I creep on my wife’s Facebook account (sorry!) I admit I kind of felt like I was missing something. I saw people with over 1000 “friends” and then I thought “I think I only have 150 followers on Instagram”. How many friends do I need or should I have?
I had an unfortunate but powerful experience recently. My best friend (I don’t need to name him cause everyone knows who he is) had his mother pass away. This lady raised him, and at many times me, through our challenging periods of our lives with nothing but love and devotion. It was tough to see this lady fight cancer and win, only to have it sneak back and take her when we did not expect it.
As she was passing away, I attempted to see her and I was too late, I waited too long and I will regret it for a long time. She passed with a loving family surrounding her. I was devastated and needless to say, so was anyone who was connected to her.
As the funeral day approached I was filled with a lot of emotions. I told Rae I was not looking forward to the event, and selfishly I quietly did not want to be there. For some reason, this lady’s passing had struck me in a way I was unable to explain to others nor myself.
Leading up to the funeral, my friend and I had been on a once-a-year text or phone call for superficial yet connecting reasons. We were busy with our own lives for the past 10 years and far too busy to concern ourselves with each other. We did what everyone else in their 30’s does “Hey we should totally get together with the kids?…yeah, we are busy too…maybe next year? Cool man, see you around!”
The day of the funeral I was still very anxious about how I would feel. I went with my wife on my arm and watched as nurses, family, friends, and neighbors paid their respects. I sat quietly through the ceremony not wanting to look at my friend who had not just lost his Mom, but really his best friend. I was sad to see her pass but I then realized a lot of my pain was because I didn’t want to see him suffer. It was the strangest thing I had experienced. Why couldn’t I even look at him? Because it hurt too much.
After the funeral, it felt so sad but so powerful to give him a hug and to share memories of what she had done for the two of us.
It has been a few months now since she passed. We have spent time with our families together for the first time in 13 years, we went to the camp together to catch up and our once-yearly texts have turned into weekly or at least every other week. I regret letting all that time go by where we didn’t connect and we both vowed not to let that happen again. My kids will know who he is, his dear wife, and his awesome kids.
So what did I learn? I would trade 1,000 social media friends for 1 true friend. You know the friend I am talking about. The friend when you hear the first beat of a song from 20 years ago where you both look at each other (or don’t) and start rapping. When you hear a name and automatically both look at each other and say another name related to it. The friend who even if you don’t eat Munchos anymore, when you get together, you eat Munchos.
If you have one of those friends you haven’t spoken to in a while, reach out to them, grab a beer or 24 and head to a camp/hotel/golf course/spa/ etc. and make some more memories.
So, how many friends do I need? One true friend, everything else is gravy.