Last week someone asked me the lowest possible number of people I could have in my life and be fine. He thought he needed about six and I realised I probably need a lot more than that.
People are the foundation of my world. My friends are my everything. This may seem hyperbolic but I think it is true.
Technically if I lived in a smaller society I could possibly have always have had a lower number of people in my life but in this world? I would struggle to give up a single friend.
I don’t make friends massively easily and when I do, they are for life. Things may wax and wane over the years but they are in and it takes them being an utter dick to end up on the outs (this has happened).
I have shed some friends over the years through natural attrition/distance/life changes but most of the ones I have invested in I have kept. I guess if I had to limit it I could find some people to phase out but so many people I made friends with in the last fifteen years are essential parts of my life. My friend Timmy and I were less close for a few years back there but now we message at least once a week. I have friends who can make my day with a reference to an in-joke from years ago. I have the two amazing women I am lucky to have as part of my inner circle who I met when I moved to Edinburgh and who offer me more than I can begin to articulate.
Social interaction is important to who I am and my mental health. Some people need time alone to feel good and I do need that as well, but I need to have at least one social interaction a day to keep one foot in the real world. For me, people are the thing that ground me in reality when my mind wants to wander off into the realm of delusion and hallucination. Like touching the walls helps me connect to my place in the world when my proprioception is out, talking to people helps me connect to the world when my perception is out.
I am lucky in that the support I need and continue to need to keep me going has tended to come from a rich network of friends rather than one romantic partner. I have never tended to place all my eggs in that particular basket and I think I am stronger and more resilient for it. It also allows the dating I may do now to be fun as I am not looking for someone to complete me, I am abundant and complete as I am and anyone I meet or have met does not need to fill that particular role. It means I can get to know them for who they are rather than what they can do for me, and that, as a person who is a fan of people, is pretty much the ideal.