Why I prefer having few friends

posted by Russ, August 15 in lifestyle design with tags ,

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Ever since I was young I always liked spending time alone, since then I have learned that I definitely enjoy my solitude. I remember years ago when I was trying to describe myself, I would say that I preferred to spend quality time with small groups of close friends rather than in a room full of acquaintances. And that even though I would consider myself shy and quiet, when I would hang out with people I was comfortable with I would turn into a “Chatty Kathy”. Around that time I starting reading about introverts and extroverts, and I couldn’t help but laugh when I felt like I was reading a description of myself.

Over time I’ve worked on being more social, and have tried to learn how open to up to people easier. While I now have many acquaintances, there are still a select few who I would consider good friends. And I came to the realization that having few friends really allows me to put more value into each of those relationships if and when I need to. I’m never stuck having to juggle plans with multiple people, it’s very simple and I rarely have to check my calendar.

I’ve come to this realization over time as I’ve observed an interesting trend: People who are highly social and have many friends seem often times to be more willing to make a lot of different plans, even if the are conflicting, and in turn seem to take their commitment to those plans a bit more lightly. I don’t know if this is necessarily a reflection of the value they place on each of their relationships or commitments, but it sure reads that way. On more than one occasion I’ve been subject to the “Sorry, I didn’t end up having time, I was just so busy!” text message, even after making what I had thought was a commtiment.

All this stuff has been swirling around in my head since I had a friend flake on plans the other day. I don’t know if it’s necessarily an introvert thing, or perhaps maybe just in the way I was raised, but I really put value into honoring commitments that I make. If you tell you’d like to might meet on Saturday, I know that at some point on Saturday I need to make myself available, and I would expect you would do the same. It’s hardly fair to be flaky because of overcommitting.

As I find myself journeying through life, I’ve decided that the thought of having a lot of friends just seems like a lot of work! As a general observation, I really do think it’s easier to value your relationships when you have a select few. And I really do think that when people have a lot of friends, that it can become very hard to put the same amount of effort into each of those relationships.

What do you think? Is it a difference in introvert/extrovert behavior? Or is it simply based on value system? Or is social preference irrelevant and perhaps it’s a time management issue?

Originally posted on Monday, August 15th, 2011 at 6:53 AM .

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