I was in the advertising business for 30 years. During that time, I made a lot of friends.
One of the people I had met early on had lost his battle with cancer. There was a memorial service for him at his local church.
The turnout was so large that there wasn’t a parking place to be had nearby. I found space at an adjacent church parking lot. A co-worker had parked next to me. We hugged hello and walked together to the church.
I opened the church door to a packed house. There were a few places open on the back pews.
Several people turned around to see who walked in when the door opened.
If I lose my hearing, I will be in trouble, because I am terrible at reading lips! But I recognized all those who turned around and very clearly read their lips as they mouthed, “Hi Jackie!”
It was a whose who of everyone I had worked with. Salespeople who had called on me when I was a media buyer. Clients who I called on as a salesperson. Co-workers and people I had managed.
Donna, who had hired me into the radio business was there. I hadn’t seen her in over 30 years!
But as I sat there hearing about the life of Ron, I looked around and realized that out of the 150 or so people I knew in the room, none of them were true friends. They were only friends on Facebook. Once I left the business, no one stayed in touch – including me.
How Many True Friends Can You Have?
I discovered that this 150 number represents the average number of meaningful relationships you can have at one time according to “Dunbar’s Number,” named for psychologist, Robin Dunbar.
This includes family members, extended family members and friends.
But this number shrinks substantially to only 1-2 intimate friends that you can bare your soul to and 5 truly close friends. Why? Building these intimate, on-going relationships takes time and effort.
When the lock downs happened at the start of the pandemic, I felt like my life was not impacted, with the exception of no longer singing in choir and attending church in person.
Our services were live streamed, so I still had a Sunday morning routine. Only now I could sit and sip coffee and be in my pajamas if I so desired.
My life is mostly spent online anyway. I was still writing and attending the same groups virtually, since many of the groups I’m in have members from all over the world.
But I realize now how much toll that isolation took with the few friends I have. There’s nothing like being face-to-face and giving and receiving a hug. In the more than 2-1/2 years of COVID, I retreated deeper within myself.
Jesus tells his disciples that they are no longer servants but friends. He shares his heart with them. He tells them everything.
What the Bible Says About Friendship
From the very beginning, God said, “It is not good for man to be alone.” (Genesis 2:18)
As I get older, as Robert’s Parkinson’s advances, as my son continues to get back on his feet again, I need my friends more than ever for love and support. I need them to emotionally fill my cup when it is empty. It can empty very quickly these days.
But I also want to be there for them in return.
Proverbs 18:24 says: A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. (KJV)
A Reflection on the Friend Word
I thought I’d share the Friend word from God Notes – Daily Doses of Divine Encouragement in answer to this question: Are you a true friend?
You call Me your Father, and I call you My child, but I am also your Friend!
A true friend supports you in good times and bad.
A true friend is there for you when you’re happy or sad.
A true friend listens without giving advice.
A true friend will not judge you.
A true friend will show up when needed.
A true friend will love you, no matter what.
It is good to have friends in high places.
You have the greatest Friend in Me.
I know that I desire to be a true friend.
I’ve been doing a lot of reconnecting with my friends lately. I hope this post will encourage you to do the same.