As an introvert, I’ve never really been part of a large group of friends, but I have had many close friends throughout my life. Generally speaking, I have formed close relationships with people who have been part of my daily life at the time, whether it be at school, work, or another organization. Very often, once one or both of us left that common ground, we drifted apart. Now, Facebook and similar sites have allowed me to reconnect with some of those people, which I think is quite wonderful. Between former classmates and co-workers, relatives, and my current business contacts, my “friends list” has grown to over 200 in just over a year. This just boggles my mind, as it doesn’t seem that long ago that I didn’t feel I had many friends at all.
My list of 230+ friends seems insignificant, however, in comparison to the lists of some of my colleagues with online businesses. One of my contacts has over 3000 “friends” on her list, and it grows every week. As it happens, I have had business dealings with this person, but I’ve also received friend requests from people I’ve never heard of. Sometimes they include a note to explain why they want to connect with me, but often they don’t even do that. When I check, these people usually have 800 or more “friends” already. To me this type of activity has about as much value as attending a large networking event and running around and exchanging business cards with as many people as possible, hoping that sometime, somewhere, something may come of it. I find it much more valuable to take the time to get to know a few people well enough that I will feel comfortable sending referrals their way, and hopefully they may do the same for me.
Which brings me to the question – is this amassing of “friends” an extraverted thing? Or am I missing something?