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A statement and a question on the Laptop Lifestyle Facebook Group  caused me to think way deeper than Angela  ever intended. It’s all my fault. I admit. Friends are a really freaking touchy subject for me.

Successful people have lots of friends.

What are you doing to meet people and connect regularly?

The question was no issue. I network consistently. Online and offline. I am a member of Toastmasters (President this year, actually), I attend the local business support network meetings, Chamber meetings in several of the communities we serve, networking events, conferences, and workshops that I don’t always lead. I even have a practice of continuously trying new things – this year I learned archery, got better at golf and competed in a speech competition. In just over two weeks I’m attending training on becoming a Roller Derby announcer.

So needless to say, I feel I  network well. I know I care. About what I do and the people I’m with. I’m genuine. I have connections and I help others make connections. Continuously. That is one of the things that lights me up – to be able to connect someone with a problem to someone I know will have a solution. This has been my way for the past twenty years, I have been quite successful in surrounding myself with smart and successful people who help me strive to be better. Daily. And I’ve tried, every step of the way, to give back and help those who come behind me. To contribute my knowledge and skill where I have it and there is need within a group or organization I’m working for or with.

But friends?

No.

And it could be a simple matter of different interpretations of the word friend. It seems to me we bandy the word around a little too fast and loose these days of Facebook. To me a friend is someone who will have your back when you’re down. Who will show up when it’s important to you. I don’t have that. I never have. And that’s okay. It does not, in my opinion, affect my ability to be successful.

My friends all have higher priority relationships and interests. I am only a secondary friend, not a main bestie. It’s not that they don’t care, they’re just not close enough to me to have bandwidth for me and my needs. I like to think they assume I’m strong and capable and will figure it out – those times when I’ve felt abandoned.

And that’s okay. I haven’t stopped trying. To make friends or to find ones who will make me a priority. Not all the time. Just when I really felt lost and hopeless and needed them. I just know that if my success is counted by the number of friends I can count on. I’m sunk.

I know this type of friendship exists for other people. I’ve seen it, I’ve been a part of it. To baby and wedding showers arranged by friends and family members. I had zero friends of my own at my first wedding beyond family members and didn’t have a shower until my third child when I was attending a church where it was standard practice to do baby showers and I shared mine with the other lady due on the same day.

When people have taken up collections for groups of friends and co-workers, when they lost a parent or went through a divorce.  These things are not for me. I don’t have friends like that. I’ve been through those things and more. Alone. None of my network showed up in a big way to let me know I was loved and supported.

And that’s okay. That’s not their place or their role in my lives. I still cherish and value them.

And I’m still good at what I do. Even if I have to tell myself that when no one else will. And I hope to heck that’s what I’m being hired for in business. Not the quality or quantity (or severe and lifelong lack there-of) of friends I have.