Hear I Go Google!

Saturday, August 4, 2007

The Power of 10: People you've met and befriended

By now, I figured I've met roughly 35,000 individuals in life. (Maybe more, or less, but that's a ballpark full of individuals.) That's a 1,000 per year, or roughly 2.5-3 new people per day. It may be many more than that for others (depends on your openness.)

By meeting those 35,000, I mean had conversations with that lasted a few sentences. Maybe went on for a period of minutes. Face to face, or at least I hope it was.

Far Acquaintances: Of those 35,000, 3,500 I spoke with at least one other time, maybe a bit more. We may have done some business, had another by happenstance meeting, talked at sometime during school, etc. Anyways, we likely made contact for a period of about 1 month. We at least knew each by name and something else more personal. (Once again this number may be higher for you, or me...)

Short-Term Friends: Of those 3,500, 350 became someone I knew for a period of 3 months to 1 year or perhaps a little more. They might have been school teachers, classmates I knew well enough, bosses, ex-girlfriends (such as they invariably were) and people I became friends with for a while in my ever fluid life. We were added to each other's non-Myspace page of life's toil. They could also include bloggers, people I've emailed for a while (but never actually met face to face.)

Long-term Friends: Of those, 35 became influential to my path (lasting more that 1 year.) They were people I called regularly, maybe close relatives, a college friend I never lost, a boss that mentored, someone that mattered beyond the friendship we first initiated. They are people you may have respected for their input during tragedy or life's turmoils. They assisted you in giving you a leg up. Maybe they were your first true love, but things fell apart.

Life Influencers. Of those, 3-4 have been greatly influential, possibly detrimental. These typically have not been my friends. Likely, they are relatives that for some reason, made an impact that lasted for years....negative in my case. Maybe a ex-husband or wife.

For others, these could be uniquely positive people. Your mother and father, a brother, a school teacher that was a true friend for life, a distant friend who knows your every secret. Someone you trusted with all your hopes, dreams, desires and flaws. This grouping could be a group of one, or maybe 10. It depends on the "openness issue" once again.

You may disagree with the premise of this - but if you look at it with an open mind - you'd find that pretty much reflects how communication works. We narrow people down from the moment we meet them. We put them into categories (not purposely, at least not always) but subconsciously we narrow the scope (of our interaction) by each gradient I mentioned. (You may have a better structure, but that's to be discussed in comments.)

You may make some groupings bigger (Pareto Analysis - 80/20 rule of things) than I did. I was just reflecting a pattern to it all, human contact, acquaintance, friendship, influence and mentors.

Depending how you do this, you are likely shaped by it as a person.

If everyone you meet becomes a "long-term friend" then you are likely a very outgoing, happy, striving to fit the mold of great person, person.

If you have plenty of "positive life influencers", you may be much wiser than and much more successful than others are. You get it. You make changes based on those you allowed into your inner circle.

If you mainly have "short-term friends", then you might be superficial in your dealings. You never allow people to move too close to you. You get restless in relationships. I think plenty of people fit this mold.

An analogy I used a long time ago between friendships and cars:

New friendships are like new cars. When we get them, we take really good care of them at first. We take them out, show them off, clean them (in friends, we keep it fresh and open) and are very happy to be with them. We are excited by the prospect of having (driving) our new friend (car.)

As time goes by, we start to let our friends down. We treat them with less regard. Like a vehicle that has 50,000 or 75,000 miles, we don't take it to the car wash, or put much effort into fixing the dents and dings that invariably happen from "using" the car. Same with friends we've had for a while, we get lazy, forget to call, don't always think of them first, ignore an email,etc.

Very few people have antique cars. Very few people have "antique friendships." You may have one friend for twenty years that you call your best bud or gal pal that you always think of. A husband or wife that fits that mold. (Course, if you get divorced, that changes.) But is that relationship pristine? Without dents?

Most old vehicle were restored with painstaking work. Friendships likely need that too.
Be well! (Said the pessimist.)

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