0139B: The Value of Far-Flung Friends

Whether on this blog or in conversations with various contacts (whether online or offkie), I've talked a lot about my general lack of friends. Sure, sure, we all have quite a number of people connected to us on social media whether in the form of Facebook friends, Twitter followers or LinkedIn contacts. But it doens't mean that all of these people are truly FRIENDS in the full sense of the word. Often times a lot of these folks are just acquaintances that we've made or connections that we establish online for work-related or even political reasons. Whatever the case, the number of true friends tends to be very, very small for most folks whether you realize it or not.

We found Pikachu!
Let's face the facts - I've never exactly been one of the most sociable of folks around. I've probably maintained deeper interpersonal connections with various inanimate objects including my books, my Transformers and the odd Pokemon spotted in the wild. The same "limitations" of sorts have led to me being very unforgiving of "bad" friends. When I feel that you're not putting in the "work" needed to maintain the lines of communication, I start limiting what information I share with you on social media platforms. And if things get worse, I'll probably cut you off entirely.

I don't mean to be unfriendly - I guess I'm just that paranoid and protective of myself. As much as I'm able to put on a very strong front for the world to see especially at work, otherwise I'm just an ordinary guy who's just as vulnerable as anyone else. And thus it takes a lot of effort before I fully believe you've earned the right to be truly called a friend.

This Lory was my friend only while I had food
Thus it becomes odder still that among the few folks that I do consider to be friends are also those that have been sent off to different countries for various reasons. And in both cases they left shortly around the time I actually met them in person after various online conversations where the friendships actually began. And yet the distance has not made that much of a difference - we still talk a lot more than I do with contacts who are actually in the country. And when circumstances do align such that we are able to meet somehow, we all do our best to make those meetings happen.

Whether we're talking about rainy Seattle or the ever-disciplined city of Singapore, there are those rare beacons of light that keep my on the straight and narrow. These are the people that I find myself dropping everything for or the ones that I end up performing almost any favors just because of how much I value them. Plus I know that they'd do the same thing had they been in my shoes.

And no, these are not friends with whom I've had more "intimate" relationships. Despite the potential interest whether on my part or theirs, things just didn't work out that way and we ended up becoming far more than just friends - practically family in fact. These are the people that I run to for counsel and advice when things get most dire or when I seem to lose my way. These are the ones whose words bring the most comfort or solace, depending on the situation.

My sister - the photobomber
And don't even get me started on my oldest and dearest "friend" - this being my sister. I know that no matter what happens in this world I can trust her to have my back as much as I'll come running if she needs me. It's just how things work.

In the ups and downs of the past few months, I find myself needing the love and support of such friends and family more than ever. There's been a lot of less-than-ideal moments that I've had to deal with as of late and I count myself lucky to have these people in my life to help me gain perspective, re-adjust my course and maintain an even keel. And don't ask my why I randomly shifted into nautical metaphors - I can't explain it either.

With the amazing support of people like this beyond the love of the ASA Family. it seems that there's almost nothing that we can't overcome together. And that's the greatest gift of all, once you really think about it. That kind of strength and support is priceless and I wouldn't give them up for the world.