Determining Your Friends

by Jason Falls |

I’ve been pondering the value and validity of the term “friend” lately. Until a few years ago, we all probably had a couple hundred friends, give or take. Social networking not only incrementalized that number, but changed the definition of the word for many people.

I have 1,300 or more “friends” on Facebook. I’ve probably met and spoken with more than you think, but not all of them. There are 18,000 or so people who follow me on Twitter. I follow most of them back. We are “friends” in a sense, too.

But online friendships are very different than those we recall from childhood. A dear friend of mine, in the offline sense, was betrayed by some of her online “friends” recently. I guess this has made me ponder the depth and nature of the friendships I have with people, both online and off.

Friends - Photo on Shutterstock.com by Matt Antonio

As I was thinking about this the other night, an email appeared in my inbox. It was a forward of one of those silly chains where you’re supposed to drop dead if you don’t immediately forward it to everyone you know named Joe or something. I glanced at the meme to see if it was at least interesting. It was.

Though this is supposed to be a statement of differential pride in West Virginia, my original home state and location of my Mountaineer-proud cousin Mark who sent me the email, I think you can see the comparisons that hit home with me.

Keep this in mind the next time you need to know the difference between a friend and a virtual friend:

Friends vs. West Virginia Friends

FRIENDS:
Never ask for food.

WEST VIRGINIA FRIENDS:
Bring the food.

FRIENDS:
Say “hello.”

WEST VIRGINIA FRIENDS:
Give you a hug and a kiss.

FRIENDS:
Call your parents Mr. and Mrs.

WEST VIRGINIA FRIENDS:
Call your parents Mom and Dad.

FRIENDS:
Have never seen you cry.

WEST VIRGINIA FRIENDS:
Cry with you.

FRIENDS:
Will eat at your dinner table and leave.

WEST VIRGINIA FRIENDS:
Will spend hours there, talking, laughing, playing dominoes or cards and just being together.

FRIENDS:
Know a few things about you.

WEST VIRGINIA FRIENDS:
Could write a book with direct quotes from you.

FRIENDS:
Will leave you behind if that’s what the crowd is doing.

WEST VIRGINIA FRIENDS:
Will track down those who left you and kick their asses.

FRIENDS:
Would knock on your door.

WEST VIRGINIA FRIENDS:
Walk right in and say, ‘I’m home!’

FRIENDS:
Will visit you in the hospital when you’re sick.

WEST VIRGINIA FRIENDS:
Will cut your grass and clean your house then come spend the night with you in the hospital and cook for you when you come home.

FRIENDS:
Have you on speed dial.

WEST VIRGINIA FRIENDS:
Have your number memorized.

FRIENDS:
Are for a while.

WEST VIRGINIA FRIENDS:
Are for life.

Which are your favorites? What examples can you add? The comments are yours.

IMAGE: By Matt Antonio on Shutterstock.com. Used with permission.


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About the Author

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for Elasticity, one of the world's most innovative digital marketing and public relations firms. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).