Sunday, October 12, 2014

I have five friends

First of all sorry for taking so long to write another post. In between London, Miami, Rwanda and Palo Alto I somehow didn't find the time to sit down, come up with a decent topic and put it into words. Thanks to all of you out there who asked when I will post a new article. It feels good to know that the stuff is being read.

But hey, I found a topic and I found time. So lets go. 

How many friends do you have? 

4999? (I think thats how many you can have on Facebook)

I guess answers vary substantially to this questions as do definitions of a "friend". Is that someone that you met at a party and sort of remember the name of or is it someone that you call when your boyfriend or girlfriend broke up with you? Or is it someone in the middle?

And how many friends are actually normal? (I guess most of us don't want to look like social outcasts).

The topic has come up multiple times when talking to friends (or classmates, or colleagues or acquaintances or whatever you want to call those people). We only have two years at Stanford (and now less than one year left). Most of us are here because of the great people that also come here. Deepening that network and making lifelong friends is what an MBA is mostly about. But am I actually doing this? Should I be more open and reach out to more people I don't usually hang out with? I guess a lot of those questions are related to fear of not making the most out of whats out there.

I can't fully answer it, but I can at least try to make it a bit clearer for myself. Given that I have been moving more or less every two years for the last ten years it is really difficult to stay in touch with people. You don't just run into them at a party or at the supermarket, but you have to make an effort and send an email or a Skype invitation. 

Let me try to divide my social life somehow: 

1) Close friends: 5-10
From where: Everywhere (high school, college, work, b-school)
Stay in touch: Monthly and its a top priority to answer emails

2) Friends or people I hang out with: 50-150 
From where: Where I am right now
Stay in touch: Bump into them, parties, scheduled lunch meetings, etc

3) Lose Acquaintances: 100-250
From where: Everywhere
Stay in touch: Randomly through Facebook (but I know where they live and what they do), maybe meet up when I'm in town

4) People I know: ???
From where: Everywhere
Stay in touch: Not really, I have to ask what they do, where they live, but I know the name and how we met

So what does success for me at Stanford look like with regards to my social network:
- Find 1-5 people for my first bucket
- Find cool people to hang out with (also post-GSB)
- Expand (3) with cool people all over the world 

I think I have around 5 people I would do everything for. If I find one or two more here than I'm gonna be a happy camper. Thinking that one can find 50 new best friends is unrealistic, puts pressure on oneself and makes one be less oneself in my opinions. 

I think its a trade-off between quantity and quality and I'll definitely go for the quality side. 

Would love to hear your comments,

PS: Thinking back to my last post about engineering your life makes me realize that this post might actually go into that direction. Oh well... 

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