The Company of Friends

They say you only need 1 or 2 real friends in life and that if you have way more than that, most of those people are probably not very good friends.  The reason for this is because there’s not enough resources to go around to satisfy everyone.

When you are associated with a large group of friends it becomes tribal and also similar to the environment of a workplace that employs a large number of people.  The company only has so many positions available and some of them are deemed somewhat undesirable and replaceable.  The ones who hold more valuable positions receive more compensation and the ones who hold less valuable positions receive less.  If the company starts to suffer financially they will get rid of the ones who are of less use.  When the dollars were rolling in they could keep the less useful ones around but once things aren’t so great it’s a different story.  All of a sudden you’re only a contractor instead of a permanent employee.

In a workplace with a large number of people the name of the game is to please who can benefit you while also trying to give the appearance to everyone else that you are a good person.  It’s the same in a large group of friends.  Each person generally wants the most they can get from the group while also wanting everyone to like them as well.

To be a person with many friends, you have to have the resources to satisfy these friends.  The reason why we only want 1 or 2 close friends is because that’s all that most people can afford.  You likely don’t have enough time, talents, money or influence to keep so many friends.  If you’re super rich with connections then everybody wants to be your friend.

If you’re a person lacking sufficient resources, it’s impossible to please a large number of people and have them to be considered close as well.   You’re like a business that is small and can only take on so much work.  Any extra work you can’t handle has to be rejected.

The dynamics of a workplace, large family and a large group of friends are the same.  Without a strict philosophy or code, the structure and changes will flow in the same direction as human nature.
“A man that is a friend to everyone is an enemy to himself”

– Mike Tyson


6 comments on “The Company of Friends

  1. beautylavender says:

    All very true. I have one close friend, my bf and a bunch of people who call themselves friends who I only see once every few years. Then there’s family, mine is growing. giving them all attention, going to every wedding, bday party, family do – honestly I have no time left for any more people in my life. I dont know how people with large friend groups manage.


    • MrJohnson says:

      It’s easy to manage when you don’t really have to do much besides show up for the odd gathering. Or just drop off a gift because that will make people think you care. It’s mostly just a game of pretend.


  2. The word ‘friend’ has become so ironic to me. We are friends when they want something from me, need something from me, and gain something from me. Some dear ‘friends’ of mine replied me eagerly on Facebook when I said I had a job for them, but they also made sure they were the first to disappear when I was most in need.


    • MrJohnson says:

      That sucks. Once someone is your ‘friend’ they are your ‘friend’ forever unless if you have a falling out. Hardly anyone is ever going to be thoughtful towards you unless they think they have to be.


  3. HappyApathy says:

    I’ve never been a person with a lot of friends. Small groups for me.

    This post made me think of a few things (as usual, with your posts).

    First, another Mike Tyson quote that is fuckin awesome: “Everyone has a plan ’till they get punched in the mouth.” –which has nothing to do with what you wrote about, ha, but which is still an awesome quote.

    Second, and slightly more relevant to what you wrote (but only slightly more relevant):

    Dunbar’s Number:

    “a suggested cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships.”

    150. Which seems really high to me. But, apparently, there’s some science behind it.


    • MrJohnson says:

      I think the same sort of thing can happen in small groups as well. It’s just less of a chance.

      Man, Mike Tyson has the best lines..hahaha. Ya, I know the quote you’re talking about. That’s an awesome one cause it’s also so true.

      I hear Joe Rogan mention that Dumbar’s Number quite often on his podcast. 150 is really high but that number was suggested to only exist in more primitive cultures, only if they really needed each other to survive and they would all have to be physically close. In our society Dunbar’s Number could be 1 because sometimes 2 is too much..haha


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