hide

Read Next

Friends on Pause

I land in Narita Airport, Japan, pull two thousand Yen out of the ATM, and get on the train for Tokyo. From memory I walk down familiar streets until I get to the New Zealand Embassy in northern Shibuya, where my friend Elliot lives. I haven't seen him in almost two years, and have only emailed a few times since then, but it's as if I never left. We joke around, walk to dinner, and make plans for the weekend.

The next day I pop my Japanese SIM card into my phone and call my friend Toby to let him know that I'm around. He tells me about a party he's throwing in Yoyogi park, so a couple other friends and I join him.

Nothing about these individual scenes is particularly noteworthy. That's the point. In various places around the world I have enough good friends that I can have a pretty normal life there while visiting.

Introverts and friendships

On Alan's Journey

Being an introvert, it's important for me to 'recharge my batteries' after being around groups of people. Such experiences just drain all my energy. This is the same with most introverts, if not all of them. They don't like crowds, they don't like parties, and they don't like being the centre of attention. I definitely fit into that category.

But disliking large groups of people is not the same as disliking people. Introverts can really enjoy having people in their life - just not a lot of them at the same time.

I've recently culled a whole bunch of people from my Facebook account. These were people that didn't interact with me in my life, or in Facebook. Some of them had been friends in the past, but time and distance between us have made us strangers. So I dumped them from Facebook. They'll probably never even know.

I looked at the remainder, and of the 82 people in the list, about 80% of them have been real face to face friends on my life. The remaining 20% have become friends via online interaction.

What are friends, exactly?

Rendering New Theme...