What is friendship?

Upfront caveat. There are approx 80,000 people who will think this post is about them. It’s not. That’s the point. :-)

I write a blog, have since the mid 90s or so, and I sometimes write in a personal fashion, and people connect to that, which is fine, but it often creates misunderstandings that, I think, go deeply into how humans evolved, and how that evolution never anticipated a medium where a written word could be read by so many people without a connection coming back.

This leads to a sense of familiarity, which is expected, but it can also give a sense of intimacy, even friendship, which is wrong, because what’s going on here is not friendship, although inside us many of the feelings that come from being a regular reader of a weblog are the same ones we feel as we are developing a friendship, in the world evolution designed us for. But this is not that world.

And with this comes a tough lesson, and unfortunately it seems, you only learn this by living, television doesn’t teach it, schools don’t teach it, and if you’re above a certain age, our parents didn’t teach it. You have to learn it by living, by thinking of someone as a friend, only to find out they don’t think of you as a friend. It can be devastating, I know, I’ve been there myself. But all the wishing, all the manipulation, all the determination, just serves to push the would-be friend further away. Because friendship is something you choose to do, you don’t do it out of a sense of obligation. To force someone to be a friend is to not have a friend.

It’s not just something that happens with blogs, celebrity of any kind yields a false intimacy, they’ve made dozens of movies about it. The star is objectified. In the presence of a fan, the star is not a human, it’s an object, it behaves the way the fan wants it to behave. It signs the autograph, it smiles, it thanks. Stephen King wrote a horror story about this called Misery in which the protagonist is bound, held hostage and tortured by a fan. There’s an awful DeNiro movie, where he plays a fan who’s determined to be friends with a star, played by Jerry Lewis. It’s one of the few movies I’ve walked out on, it’s so hard to watch.

I learned a lot about friends when I got sick in 2002. I learned that a friend is someone I trust to be with me when I am at my weakest and most vulnerable. And they are people who, no matter how painful it is to see, are willing to be with me when I am so helpless and weak. If I would trust my life with you, and vice versa, we are friends. It’s not about whether you are trustworthy, or whether you are friendly, it’s the actual act of trust that is the basis of friendship. If I trust you to be truthful, then you’re a friend. If I find I must be careful how I say things, then it’s something other than friendship.

Friendship is not a state of mind, it’s an act. It’s something you do, it’s not about whether you’re good or not, it’s not a reflection of you, it’s a balanced relationship between people. That doesn’t mean it’s always balanced at every moment. Sometimes you “need a friend” and other times it’s the other way. It’s a trust that’s returned. When I was younger and thought I was in love, a friend said it’s not love unless it’s returned. Friendship and love are not quite the same thing, although there’s a lot of love around friendship. I learned that love isn’t even something about two people, it’s a state of being for one person. You aren’t in love, you are love. You are, whether you acknowledge it or not. The heart that’s pumping blood through your body is an act of love, 24 hours a day, whether you’re Mother Teresa or Adolf Hitler. (Sorry for the extreme example.)

There’s a world of difference between being a friend and being a fan. I’ve heard people who I’ve never met say we’re friends. And then of course when I do something they don’t like, I’ve betrayed the supposed friendship. They’re living in a dreamworld. The more popular my weblog has become the more people have this dream. It’s very puzzling to be the object in the middle of this swirl of emotions, I say object because my job isn’t to be truthful, my job is to be who you think I should be. Of course that’s not friendship, that’s torture.

In 1997 I wrote: “When a friend changes you can find the bond that’s connecting you at a deeper level. The surface stuff isn’t a good thing to depend on. Physical bodies change as they grow. So do emotional bodies and intellectual ones. Take a deep breath. People move, life is more like a wild dance than a ceremony. You just can’t tell what’s coming next.”

So if you find yourself trying to coerce someone into not changing, then dear reader, that is not friendship, that is coercion.

A postscript

One thing I feel needs to be said is that there are many other relationships that aren’t friendship that are still positive. There are many people I admire who aren’t friends. I work with lots of people who aren’t friends. In fact, I often think it’s a bad idea to work with your friends (more on that another time).

The world isn’t divided into two parts — friends and enemies. I choose to think of friend as a very strong word, representing a very close relationship. I think this may be in part due to what I do, because I need a good solid line separating my public life from my personal. A friend is a personal relationship. I like and admire many people who I don’t consider friends.

A second postscript

One of the hallmarks of a person who is more likely to be a friend-that-was than a friend-for-life, is that person quotes anonymous people who say they were my friend but I betrayed them. That’s such a huge turnoff, that usually wakes me up in an instant. A friend would never even consider saying something like that, because it’s so objectifying, so impersonal, so unfair, so un-friendly. In a court of law you’re entitled to cross-examine your accusers. Same in the court of friendship.

64 responses to this post.

  1. Hi Dave,
    Nice essay. Did you know I wrote this just this past week?
    http://www.paradox1x.org/weblog/kmartino/archives/004436.shtml

    Reply

  2. I think, ya know, I’ve learned this the hard way. But that is life. Really well worded Dave.

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  3. Karl, I like your piece.

    I also struggle with the question about the changing definition of friendship as we change.

    I know what you mean about people who call themselves friends but turn their backs on you when a bit of support would help so much.

    A link is not an indication of friendship. A link says this is something you might want to read, so I’m making it easy to get there. We animate these websites too much, we think of them as our bodies. They’re not, they’re documents.

    I even share most of your classes of friendship, except this — I have friends who are very young, because we relate at such a real level. For example, Patrick Scoble. He doesn’t mince his words. He tells me exactly what he thinks. Sometimes I have to step back for a minute and take a breath, but then I realize what he says is true, my truth not just his. And he doesn’t shirk away from the tough subjects like so many adults do. We’ve talked about everything that matters, including first and foremost, friendship.

    Then there are people who should be friends, but aren’t. What the hell do you do about that. You accept it, no matter how hard it is. That’s something adults learn that kids can’t know. Kids are pure power. Adults learn the limits of their power, and then learn again and again, as your power shifts, diminishing in one way, blossoming in another.

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  4. Thanks.

    Friends like Robert are rare indeed. I have one – who thinks what I do on the web is just crazy – but I appreciate what he has to say and we have deep, deep talks all the time – religion, politics, love and death, you name it. Since I was in high school in fact. We see things from far different perspectives. But we always try and be there for one another – we’ve seen each other at our absolute lowest and argumentive – and while sometimes its heated – in the end it doesn’t make a difference.

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  5. Posted by Tom Brandt on January 28, 2006 at 9:41 am

    Thanks, Dave, for the clearest statement on this subject I have ever read. I have been a *fan* of yours for quite some time. I first became acquainted with you and your work after the Wired article about you (oh, so long ago). I keep reading your blog because every so often you score a bullseye with an article like this one. Keep up the good work. I won’t mention that I learned about RSS and Blogs from you. Oops, I just did. Thanks, Tom

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  6. Dave, is this like the Carly Simon song, “You’re so Vain”, where everyone is going to speculate who you’re writing about? You and I have kidded each other about the word “friend” since we’ve known one-another — and have discussed aspects of what you write about here. As I’ve told you I’m afraid to jinx our friend-like relationship by ever actually using the word “friend” to describe it, I know this essay isn’t about me. [I am a fan, however, and when you're not watching, I do tell people you're my friend. : ) ]

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  7. just to comment on perspectives… my info is saved for when i write comment, but i do not consider you a friend… hell i don’t know if that even qualifies as an acquaintance… good writes, btw

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  8. I love this essay- I think this applies at many levels for me. Blogging is an extreme example because of the pace and amount of connections and conversations that can be engaged so quickly. But there is something tangible and real about friendship that can’t be accomplished via blogging. It takes a more personal connection. Even IM, e-mail, and voice conversations could help to facilitate it- it doesn’t HAVE TO be face to face. But blogging just isn’t a good medium for friendship.

    Same for work- I do have some work “friends”, but I do wonder how much of that is camaraderie versus true friendship. Just because one is fond of another person or friendly towards them doesn’t mean that they have a deep relationship. Are friendships deep relationships in that sense- I think that depends on the individual.

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  9. You’re right Rex, of course this piece is entirely about you, despite the disclaimer. :-)

    You caught me at a bad time for the friendship thing, last spring, one of the few people I actually called a friend was proving to me that it had all been a scam ever since the first time we met. I had gone out on a limb for the guy, way out on the limb, and when he had maximized his potential value of screwing me, that’s when he did it. Not until he had his deal. I learned a lot from that. And I keep learning.

    One of the hallmarks of a person who is more likely to be a friend-that-was than a friend-for-life, is that person quotes people who say they were my friend but I betrayed them. That’s such a huge turnoff, that usually wakes me up in an instant. A friend would never even consider saying something like that, because it’s so objectifying, so impersonal, so unfair, so un-friendly. In a court of law you’re entitled to cross-examine your accusers. Same in the court of friendship.

    Happily Rex, you’ve never warned me about that. But of course you’re old enough to know that friendship doesn’t come quickly, it’s developed over years, and through much networking and fact-checking.

    If we do become friends, you’ll find that it’s tough because there are always people nipping at you telling you what an asshole I am, and making you feel like a loser for being my friend.

    Bet you weren’t expecting that much of an answer!

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  10. [...] Dave Winer: “The world isn’t divided into two parts — friends and enemies. I choose to think of friend as a very strong word, representing a very close relationship. I think this may be in part due to what I do, because I need a good solid line separating my public life from my personal. A friend is a personal relationship. I like and admire many people who I don’t consider friends.” [...]

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  11. Posted by Gmlk on January 28, 2006 at 10:10 am

    We did not choose our friends: They choose us.

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  12. Dave,

    You say: “If we do become friends, you’ll find that it’s tough because there are always people nipping at you telling you what an asshole I am, and making you feel like a loser for being my friend.”

    I say: Why would I believe them? I’ve had plenty of practice at not believing people who try to make me feel like a loser.

    Rex

    Reply

  13. Posted by Jeanne Kane on January 28, 2006 at 12:42 pm

    Hi Dave,

    This is a brilliant essay. Given the effect of your work on the ability of people to communicate, friends or not, I think there should be a Nobel category for computer science. The long range implications are hard to imagine. I keep thinking of the quantum aspects of particles keeping track of each other, or at least that theory, and through RSS, and some of the other on line publishing tools, etc. it is becoming more and more possible for people to do the same. Even though it can be distacting for people to be on their cell phones or taping away on their computers at Starbucks, if I stop to think about it, I’m glad that people are staying so in touch. I’d say that this medium allows people to be curious about other people and find out so much. What strikes me is how willing people are to be so open about their lives and work. Nevertheless, the field is ripe for a false sense of intimacy.

    I keep track of a few blogs over time only because I had a casual ‘meet up’ with you years ago through a mutual friend, or should say acquaintance? How I wish I’d started my own blog back in the summer of 99. That aside, I have learned, also in a circumstance of illness, that we don’t often know who will be by our side in a crisis. And, who those people turn out to be is often a great surprise – and blessing. Conversely, it is often disappointing to learn that those we thought would be there, are not. Yes, friendship is in the doing. Again, a brilliant piece. Thanks.

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  14. Very well put Dave. I firmly believe that all things related to being a human are on a continuum. Humans are not binary creatures. Relationships, orientations, intelligence, all are as variable as eyes, noses and backsides. I admire the work you have done over the years, and from reading your writing I think I know more about who you are than I ever did about many of the people I thought were friends over the years. However, I have no illusions about you being a friend. I’ve never met you and likely never will, but you and your work have had more influence on my life especially in the past 2 years than many of my “friends”. I appreciate what you do, I don’t always agree with everything you say, but keep being you.

    Oh and I love the OPML editor.

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  15. Jeanne, how great to hear from you!

    What a challenging question. I know for sure Jeru isn’t a friend today, being dead for almost six years — he’s a memory, and as he taught so well, a memory is nothing.

    I think there were moments when we were friends, not many, but a few. Most of the time he was a teacher, a very good one, who asked great questions. Those of course are the best teachers, the ones who ask you to think.

    I really appreciate all the posts here, I hesitated to turn on comments for this post, thinking I’d get pretty soundly flamed, but what a pleasant surprise! I’m very glad to have met the new people here, and glad to hear from people I have felt affection for, for many years, like Jeanne.

    Yours in careful language,

    Dave-ji

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  16. [...] 28 Jan 2006 Dave Winer on Friendship Posted by Wendy under Friends  Dave Winer has posted an excellent essay on friendship. Here is part of it. [...]

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  17. You my not think this comment is not about you.

    I have an imaginary friend whose blog I read everyday. I have never met this person but we are friends in my mind. The people I have gotten to know through this relationship continue to enrich my life so I hope you can you can understand why I consider it an imaginary friendship worth protecting.

    My imaginary friendship is genuine and to my mind more than real. It is surreal.

    It would take a false flag attack on Super Bowl sunday to destroy it.

    Please support the Filibuster

    Reply

  18. good post — friendship, like love, tough stuff………. Rod

    rodesmith

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  19. Posted by Jeanne on January 28, 2006 at 7:07 pm

    Hi again Dave,

    What a lovely comment you wrote. After I wrote mine, I was also trying to figure out my relationship with Jeru. It’s been a while. I came to the same conclusion i.e., that he was my teacher. But, there are so many connections that came out of my, all too short, time with him on this earth. I guess it’s those connections, even after death, that are the traces of relationship. More than memory I think but, part of the fiber of who we become. I always enjoyed your essays and this one was exceptional. I’d be surprised if you get flamed on this because it was so clearly heartfelt and accurate. Thanks again and let’s keep in touch – the essence of friendship.
    Jeanne

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  20. In Wall Street Gordon Geko said..”If you want a friend get a dog” :-)

    I have a black lab..

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  21. The best friends are dead ones!

    This is said only half in jest, but people do age well after they’re gone. We tend to remember only the good stuff. So what I do sometimes, to value a person while they are still alive, is imagine what my life would be like were they dead.

    All I can say is Dave, I hope you live longer than I do. You tackle real issues — both in technology and in life — and it’s people like you who truly are a friend to mankind, if not to each person who knows you.

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  22. [...] Dave Winer: What is friendship? : ..If I find I must be careful how I say things, then it’s something other than friendship.. [...]

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  23. thank you for putting things in perspective for me with your years of experience. i’ve been blogging less than a year and facing some of the issues you mention, and feeling guilt over not always responding with what seems to be expected. this was a timely post.

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  24. Here’s my tuppence on this
    http://blogs.opml.org/kosso/2006/01/29#friendliness

    good post Dave.

    Reply

  25. [...] Dave Winer has an interesting piece on friendship that I recommend to you. It sparked a number of comments that are also interesting, so don’t overlook those. And others have riffed on the idea. Also recommended to get the ole brain working this Monday morning. [...]

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  26. Right after college, in 1969, my wife and I rented a third-floor walk-up on North Main Street in Hackensack, New Jersey. Across the hall was an older couple: Hans and Illy Schmidt. They had been refugees from the Nazi takeover of Austria, and had lived in the States for thirty years. Hans was an artist, and worked as a designer and illustrator of walpaper and textiles.

    We became friends, often visiting each other for coffee or dinner. Illy’s English was poor, but Hans’ was perfect. He was also wise, with formal old-world manners. When he shared his thoughts about important matters, one gave full attention. His command of many subjects — art, politics, economics, human nature — was earned by wide study and long experience.

    After about a year and a half, we moved about thirty miles away, to Greenwood Lake, where I had become editor of a local newspaper. Times were tough. There were also health issues in our little family that isolated us from everybody. We fell out of touch with many people, including Hans and Illy.

    One day I ran into Hans in a parking lot at Greenwood Lake. Rather than exchange pleasantries, Hans said “Why didn’t you call us, or stop by?” I tried to give my reasons, but he wasn’t interested. Then he said, “It’s so hard to make friends. And so easy to lose them.”

    Then he got in his car and left.

    His words have haunted me ever since. It’s a lesson I’m still learrning.

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  27. Doc, here’s my advice, for what it’s worth.

    Give yourself a reprieve, you’ve suffered long enough.

    He was right of course, but friends do come and go, that’s part of life too.

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  28. Good essay, if only to get people talking about this. I tend to agree with some of the commenters about the unnecessarily binary and exclusionary nature of the friendship concept. Our little monkey brains are always trying to find simple categories and hierarchies where there are only complex patterns. To me, the traditional egocentric concept of friendship hasn’t yet adapted to this connected world where you have the opportunity to speak and share with so many people.

    Anyone who’s been through trying times in their lives, like yourself, knows that some people will be there for you, some won’t. Some were there before, some weren’t. Some will be there after the trouble passes, some won’t. Were some friends more than others? Are they now? Are you sure? And I’m leaving out the whole issue of “better” friends….

    As for me, I try to be around interesting people whenever I can, and accept them the way they are, and hope they can do the same. Life is so rich that way. For example, I often invite strangers that I follow on the Blogosphere to meet when they come to town. Some respond, some don’t. The accepted invitations have resulted in many a great night of conversation around a local bar’s campfire. If spending time with them makes them a friend, great. If not, that’s OK too.

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  29. Posted by Pat Taleui on January 30, 2006 at 11:32 am

    Friends are a crutch. It’s best to learn to live without them.

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  30. Posted by vanni on January 30, 2006 at 11:59 am

    There are many degrees of friendships. Choose your demaraction point, and those that are in the first few circles will require work on your part to maintain them. True friends are a precious gift. Well worth the efforts.

    …..cheers

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  31. Posted by Paul Bonsall on January 30, 2006 at 12:43 pm

    What is the spark of generosity that we respond to when people act as if they are our friends? Not the crutch thing (friends can be friends and still be hopeless at being crutches). They share their feelings, talk about their enthusiasms, their ideas, the things they care about. They tell us things that are funny, or infuriating, or sad, let us see when they’re tired or enthused. They invite us to have breakfast with their parents! Don’t you get it? Sorry, it’s not your writing, Dave, stimulating though that can be. It’s the podcasts that are so potent. Plug that voice into our monkey brains and we’re there! This is a *good thing*, I think. Perhaps we’ll inevitably get better with experience at distinguishing between being allowed to share someone’s generosity online and that other thing, real-life friendship.

    Reply

  32. Posted by C. Riddell on January 30, 2006 at 1:37 pm

    Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle (I think) contains some great commentary on the importance of family and extended family. I think he calls it a Karass or something like that. IMHO, the book is one of his greatest.

    Reply

  33. Doc: I had no idea you lived in the ‘sack’ and Greenwood Lake. I used to go to greenwood lake as a kid.

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  34. seems that truth is spoken here, and very elegantly! one thing i have learned about true friendship over the 5 decades of my life is-even if you ARE the asshole people accuse you of being, a true friend is still just that-just because-and if i have one, true friend in my life-it will be the richer for it. I was swept away by your style- there are a few enlightened ones who realize the difference between the work, and the person, and the persona-thank you for brain food-theresa

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  35. I realized the word “friend” means different things in different countries. I once met a man from the US who called me “his friend” in the first hour we went out together. It’s not that I didn’t like him (he was a good man), but in Germany where I’m from you don’t use that word like that (not on the first day, maybe not in the first year).

    What you describe is an interesting phenomenon. First, there’s the audience which is a large group and there is the blogger, and usually the feeling of “friendship” (or personal intimacy) is stronger in the direction from the reader towards the writer. However, I think it goes both ways. A blogger also has an “imaginative reader”, who becomes his friend. It may be the consensus of the group (as expressed by previous comments) as to which posts are fitting in the blog, for example. You may, after longer time of blogging, not want to “betray” this friend (your readership at large) because you know who it is, and you want to be loyal.

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  36. This is a great essay. In 2003, when I was living with my girlfriend at Stanford (she is a grad student) I read on Scripting News that you were speaking at a conference at Stanford Law school. I showed up and got a free lunch, and the opportunity to lurk around in the way this essay describes. Robert Scoble was there wearing Microsoft schwag “Longhorn” jacket and I was able to talk to him for a couple minutes after the show. At some point in our very brief conversation, he sad “And you are…..?” He was probably thinking I was affiliated with Stanford Law or the blogging community at large. Really, I was just someone who had read a few blog entries and decided that you guys were worth following. It occurred to me that you weren’t necessarily prepared for the possibility that someone outside your clique might read a blog entry and just “show up” at one of these events. I’m not really a “blogger” in the sense that you normally describe it. Typically, I have used weblog technologies more in the del.icio.us sense, as an easy way to share and track links. Blog software also can be a handy way to share and track files. I didn’t answer Scoble’s question because I didn’t want to waste any of his time, and the two of you left. However, I am posting this to let you know that there are a few lurkers out there and that we appreciate your work.

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  37. Great post.

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  38. now this is one awesome post.

    some people type philosophical things; this is philosophical. but this one comes with an edge.

    awesome.

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  39. [...] This is a piece I liked. It isn’t the kind I would say that I agree with it word-by-word or that I have nothing more to say, still it makes a point. To quote one line (For the rest see the post) – There’s a world of difference between being a friend and being a fan. [...]

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  40. [...] Dave Winer has written an essay entitled What is friendship? on his blog. This is a great, well written piece that deserves a read. I think it brings up some valid points on how we perceive friends and friendship. As well as, how we approach friendship in this digital age. We communicate with each other much more openly and freely these days with email, instant messaging and, of course, blogs. Communicating in this open manner tends to foster a sense of familiarity that we associate with friendships of a traditional nature. [...]

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  41. Dear Dave, I want you to consider me your friend, even though we have never met. I apologize for not writing more often (and have appreciated it when you do answer my mail) but I know you always have a lot going on, and I don’t want to distract you. Listen, I think I may be moving up to Berkeley later this year, do you think you might be able to help me find a job up there? George

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  42. Great essay Dave. Really made me think (Scott Johnson here). *Thank you*

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  43. Posted by Nikkhil Rampertaub on February 2, 2006 at 9:03 am

    I think you need an award for this essay, never have i read such a good essay on friendship ,
    Good Job,Dave Winer.You`re on the right track.
    Best of luck for the future.

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  44. Hey Dave lovely essay..

    Friendships are like marriages…rare to find true friends..and staying friends is something people should work at all thier lives.

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  45. [...] O sentimento de uma relao pessoal com o autor do blog – que at pode levar fabricao de uma amizade que na verdade no existe – acentua-se pela possibilidade de deixar comentrios (a que a esmagadora maioria dos bloggers se d ao trabalho de responder) e pela existncia de um elemento comum (os elementos comuns ajudam sempre a estabelecer relaes) entre blogger e leitor; um elemento que cada vez mais norma na blogosfera: o facto de ambos terem um blog. 5 Fevereiro 2006 | :: Link permanente [...]

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  46. One thing I know about friends is that we emulate our friends for better and worse. Take care to choose your friends accordingly. Surround yourself with qualities you admire and the friendship will be sustainable. (Anyone can be friends for an afternoon.)
    Lisa

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  47. I’d say I have 2 real friends and many many acquaintances. I think it’s great to have even 2. Most of the time they are all I need – I am open to increasing that number – but it really takes time and is hard to predict. It’s not something I sweat over or force as that is beside the point. Real freindship just evolves naturally. I enjoyed reading your thoughts on the subject. Thanks.

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  48. [...] Breakfast with Lisa Williams a couple of Sundays ago was a long varying discussion of friendship. We figured a lot of things out.   [...]

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  49. Did you hear that http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5195825 story on NPR today about Wilt Chamberlain? It started off something like this:

    Years after he was finished playing, I had dinner with Wilt Chamberlain one night. As we were leaving the restaurant a little man ran up to him and almost breathlessly told Wilt how he’d been there the night he’d scored 100 points against the Nicks in Madison Square Garden. Wilt who called most everybody “my man”, just politely said “thank you my man” in that deep voice of his.

    Outside I asked him why he hadn’t called the fellow out on his lie. Yes Wilt scored his 100 against the Nicks but the game had been played in Hershey Pennsylvania. Wilt just sighed and said this happned to him all the time – people telling him that they were there when he got his 100. He really didn’t believe any of them but it obviously meant something for these fans to pretend that they were there so he was happy to conspire in their innocent fantasy.

    Peace out my man,

    mal

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  50. [...] Mike Lopez, posting on this blog yesterday recalls a story he heard on NPR about basketball great Wilt Chamberlain and his relationship with fans. His philosophy: it’s usually easier to humor them than to argue with them. But in the age of Wikipedia, they can give themselves credit not just for being there when Wilt had his amazing 100 point game, but they can actually claim to have had the 100 point game themselves. Welcome to the Internet. Community peraticipation is both its strongest and weakest point. And those who say I’m a consistent supporter of the medium miss that I am also as frequently its victim. Sadly. [...]

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  51. Posted by cathy on February 10, 2006 at 10:03 am

    very nice and clear….thx for ur essay…friendship is not a simple thing, I realize now, not just love I used to only care about.

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  52. [...] Friends – and family – attend funerals. There’s no requirement to be invited, as there may be with a wedding … where a certain family or friend ’status’ may be allotted either an invitation to the wedding or an invitation to the reception, or to the reception ‘dance-not-dinner’ …  and, according to a weblog entry ‘what-is-friendship’ I read the other day, web-networking has the potential to further change the friendship-categories.  At a funeral however, everyone who knows or knew the Host/ess is welcome. [...]

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  53. Posted by Carol Cousin on May 8, 2006 at 3:04 am

    Friends who are genuine are extremely rare. I admire genuine and close friendships. What I thought was a true friend has recently opened my eyes but now I’ve seen the light and the “friend” for what she really is, the friendship no longer exists!

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  54. Posted by shane on May 13, 2006 at 12:28 pm

    hey there!

    I guess friendship is an entry level of a good relationship between a girl or a boy. There are certain ‘doors’ where friendship may start.. and these are through phone chat, email, actual meeting and etc.

    But the good thing i’ve experienced is to meet my boyfriend (going for 3 years already) in wealthymen.com.

    The bottom line: be open.. friendship blooms, so have fun!

    Reply

  55. Posted by susan on July 1, 2006 at 11:34 am

    how do we know friends are real on yahoo 360 i know most of my friends some are weird but been trying to think of a poem but cant think of anything

    Reply

  56. [...] Dave Winer: What is friendship? [...]

    Reply

  57. Posted by Andy on September 4, 2006 at 5:09 pm

    What is friendship you ask? A friend is someone who may often demonstrate reciprocating and reflective behaviors. I have a few good friends a best friend.. I can count all of them on one hand. If you can count your good friends on more than one hand, then you’re probably strecthing yourself thin. Even though I may only talk to my friends once a month or so, I still consider them a good friend. I’ve come to realize with age (and I’m only 22) that you don’t necessarily have to hangout with a friend a lot in order to maintain a good friendship. My friends have good influences on me, and are fun to be around. I love ‘em.

    Reply

  58. Posted by josephine r. migalbin on September 29, 2006 at 5:56 pm

    Friendship isn’t about whom you have known the longest, who came first or who cares the best, it’s about who came and never left.

    Reply

  59. Posted by gareth evans on November 6, 2006 at 5:06 am

    Nice essay but I am struggling with the “friend became a lover and now we need to be friends again” dilema right now. We were very good friends and through circumstances to complicated to go into, we enjoyed a brief (six month) relationship that was very intense and could have become more. It’s didn’t and for a little while (less than a week) we seemed to have lost every connection between us we ever had. But true friends remain friends don’t they. We both need the friendship again and we both know we have to set a boundary but some of the issues from the “lover” phase continue to plague us.

    Is it only really possible to go from acquaintance to friend to lover, can you never travel back the other way?

    Reply

  60. [...] michegas about Wired and Arrington, both of whom took cheap shots, Arrington’s in the name of friendship. I echo his sentiment, with friends like that who needs [...]

    Reply

  61. [...] friends. But there are several kinds of friends, it seems,. At times I wanted there to be just one kind, but eventually I threw in the towel and started, along with eveyrone else, using the term several [...]

    Reply

  62. Posted by Dani on July 20, 2008 at 5:49 pm

    How does one break off a friendship? I find myself caring for someone I met at the gym because she has a tough home life. Yet I do not like being needed by her. I don’t enjoy her company yet I find myself doing things with her. I also need friends but I feel strangeled in this relationship.

    I have compassion for her circumstances but there is no flow.

    Reply

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