The bird a nest, the spider a web, man friendship. ~~ William Blake
Friendships are formed in the most unlikely places and in the most unlikely events. You never know when or where you are going to meet your next friend. I saw two friends this weekend in Houston that are the most unlikely of friendships. And, in looking at those friendships, it really dawned on me how big our world community really is. There are no boundaries of time or place when it comes to the community web.
I went to a women’s retreat several years back, and we did an exercise where we threw a ball of yarn to each other and unrolled it as we went. As the yarn goes from person to person and crisscrosses the room, a giant web of yarn is formed. The connections we make with others throughout the years of our lives really do make a giant web, one which touches so many and in so many different ways.
One of my friends that I saw in Houston I met back in college. In the most unlikeliest of circumstances, I picked him up at a bar thirty years ago. “I need a ride home,” he quoted me. He responded, “I’ll bet you tell that to all the bartenders.” I wrote about him in my blog The Gift. We never were friends in college other than that one encounter. We caught back up on Facebook and have struck up a friendship. Who would have thought that we would be having lunch together in our 50s in Houston? We have a past in common that includes a college, mutual friends, and a Louisiana heritage. My other friend is a girlfriend that I met at a women’s retreat in Nashville. It was a retreat for women working through codependency issues. She and I were in the same group, and we shared some very common experiences. We ended up keeping in touch and have become very close over the years. We have never lived in the same city nor do we share a history, but we connected over common life events. Our lives are totally different in so many ways, but you never know what ties will bind you.
I didn’t get to see my acupuncturist who practices in Houston while I was there. I started seeing her in Memphis several years ago. She was a flight attendant when she started an acupuncture practice in Memphis. Memphis was a hub for her airline, so it made sense for her to have a practice in both places. I’ve recommended her to my girlfriend in Houston, and she’s now seeing her for acupuncture. The web has no problems stretching for geography. My acupuncturist now sees a friend in Houston and bunches of my friends in Memphis. I’m hoping my other Houston friend will see her as well for an injury he has. Tonight I saw her for acupuncture, and we talked about our mutual connections in Houston.
Facebook has been an accelerator for growing webs. I know a lot of people think it’s a waste of time, but I’ve connected with so many people that I didn’t think I’d ever see again or even know what happened to them. Turns out that my Houston friend was actually married to a woman from my small hometown, and I knew her brother very well. “No way,” I said. “Way,” he said. How interesting…When I initially got on Facebook, I realized that one of my childhood friends lived not 45 minutes from me when I lived in the Chicago area. How I wish I’d known that then! But, there was no Facebook at that time, so I could have lived down the street and have never known it.
I’m still friends with people that I met in every city I’ve ever lived in, and I’ve moved a lot. It’s fun when I get to travel to some of these places for work because I usually have a connection that I can make for dinner or lunch or just hanging out. I met up with a prior boss in Dallas for dinner last week. We had a blast catching up on his family and his changed life. I worked for him in Memphis, but he lived in Plano. He commuted every week to Memphis. What are the odds of my knowing him at all? He worked for that company for about a year, and he hired me during that time. My personal trainer in Memphis now lives in Austin and so does a woman that I met at Jeff Galloway running retreat in Florida two years ago. I’ll be seeing them in February when I run the Austin half marathon. I’ll introduce the two of them because they are both in the personal training industry in Austin. The web grows.
I know numerous people in relationships now that met via friends of friends on Facebook. I noticed one of my Memphis friends commenting on one of my college friends’ Facebook page the other day. “How do you know Ken?”, I asked. She said they started playing Words with Friends together after meeting on my Facebook page. She said, “I call him my Words with Friends boyfriend.” Wow! I had no idea. Since my blog posts on Facebook, a lot of my old friends are reading my blog. Because it’s personal and about my life, I’m finding out that many of my high school friends and college friends have had the same struggles and many are in recovery, too. The blog is expanding my Facebook web to a different level. I daily make a personal connection with somebody due to a blog entry that posts on Facebook. It’s really cool.
The internet is called “the web”. But, the real web is the web of community. The people that take risks to build relationships and strike up conversations with strangers who might have like interests are the web spinners. I was surprised at the size of the blogging community. It has its own web, and, I’m sure as time goes on, I will begin to make connections there and maybe hook up my connections with my blogging community connections. I’ve already struck up a friendship with a fellow blogger from Washington. We have a lot in common. Who knows? Maybe I’ll do training there one day, and we’ll have dinner and discover that her long lost cousin from Memphis is actually my next door neighbor. I just never know who I am going to meet and who might enrich my life next. That’s why I keep my computer and my heart wide open.