Sorry, I already have too many friends

Too many friends: swan

I had a wonderful day with you today, though I really shouldn’t have eaten so much apple pie. The swans would have liked more.

Again next week? I’d love to.

You want to be friends?

A cloud blocks the sun and the drone of flies competes with the noise of the highway.

Sorry, I already mumble mumble.


I already have too many friends.

At this point I can hear you protesting, but I swear it’s true. I don’t have room in my life for any more friends.

That’s not to say I have friends tumbling out the garden gate.

I have two friends, and that’s one more than the appropriate number.

To understand why you should never have more than one friend, you first need the answer to a question:

What is a friend?

Smarter people than me have debated this question at length (I assume). I don’t feel like reading what they said, so I’m just going to blanketly disagree with it.

A friend is a cat.

Wait, sorry, that came out wrong. Cats are our masters, not our friends, and they will show us affection only so long as we accommodate their every whim.

A friend is a person you’d do anything for. But who wouldn’t ask you to.

Why more than one is too many friends

As soon as you have one friend, there will be times when you sacrifice your own happiness for theirs.

Maybe the last thing you feel like is sitting through a dramatic rendition of all your friend’s recent woes with her ballroom dancing partner, pet tarantulas, or ingrown toenail. But she needs someone to vent to and you’re a good friend, so you put on your sympathetic face and try to avoid giving her splinters while she leans all over you.

And because she’s your friend you don’t resent it even though you’d planned to spend the evening baking cupcakes. You’ll always drop everything to help when she really needs it.

Now consider the situation where you have two friends. Friend one needs a shoulder to cry on because her hamster came out second in an argument with a Roomba, and friend two needs some extra muscle to help her confront her ex to take back her collection of My Little Ponies.

You can’t do both and someone’s going to be upset. You fail one of these lovely people, and all because you have too many friends.

Thus the perfect number of friends is one.

If you have only one friend you’ll never be stuck in the awkward situation where one friend is purring on your lap and another needs you to bring him a cup of coffee. (For the record, the cat always wins.)

I’m really not horrible

Now you probably think I’m a horrible person. I promise I’m not. I do all kinds of things for people who aren’t my friends and I really like some of them. A few even like me.

You do? Really? And I like you too.

Okay, fine, we can be friends. Just don’t expect me to bring you things when the cat is on my knee.


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Too many friends: many swans
This swan has way too many friends.

Author: A.S. Akkalon

By day, A.S. Akkalon works in an office where the computers outnumber the suits of armour more than two-to-one. By night, she puts dreams of medieval castles, swords, and dragons onto paper.

16 thoughts on “Sorry, I already have too many friends”

  1. It’s true, animals do make the best friends. They always listen, they never text you too much and you can cuddle with them without feel awkward. Having more than one friend, though, is great sometimes because it gives you many options for things to lean on when it’s your turn to feel woozy.

    Great post, as always!

    1. Great points on pets. My cat hardly ever texts me, but he does like to edit my work when I’m writing. Some of his comments are rather cryptic, like iukjiuuuuuuuu. Maybe I’m just not smart enough to understand his points.

      I find bottles of alcohol are pretty good for leaning on, though you have to remember not to lean too hard or else you end up with glass cuts.

  2. I think you nailed the friendship dilemma. I still have trouble with it. I’d like more friends, but I’d also know I’d likely freak out and want to seclude myself if I feel overwhelmed. Meeting a bunch of likeminded people of joining a group would be great, but as far as friends I’d spend a ton of time with, yeah, only one or two. I don’t know how people do anything for themselves (unless they absolutely HATE being alone and can’t do anything for themselves) while at the whims of everybody else’s plans. Maybe I’m selfish like that, but I like my me time.

    1. I agree – some friends are very demanding of your time. I think it’s a matter of selecting friends who get that you don’t want to go out more than once a month or so. My IRL friends mostly understand this and so they’ve stopped inviting me out. Though my cat is still confused about why I want to go out that one time. 🙂

  3. Love this – I have a very small group of lovely friends who mostly understand the panicked look I get if I’m invited to go out more than once every few months. But even so I still find myself feeling guilty for not necessarily always being ‘there’ when needed.

    The little furry muse/tyrant is, however, much easier as even her mews are all but silent. Which does nothing to quiet the 3am paw in the face, but this is a sacrifice a friend/servant must be willing to make…

    1. I know the feeling. It’s helped me a great deal that I can now be there for people via Gchat.

      His Royal Fluffiness’ meows are very far from silent, but he rarely actually walks on my face in the night, and when he does it’s only because he’s freezing cold and needs me to let him under the covers.

    1. I knew you’d be happy about the swan. Don’t worry, I specifically told her not to wait around the corner from your house.

      That sounds like a very good number of friends. 🙂

  4. Oh, A.S.A., you always make me laugh.

    I hate it when my “friends” spit a hairball onto the sofa. I hate it even more when that friend isn’t a cat….

    1. I’m glad I make you laugh. 🙂 There are enough people spreading doom and mouldy doughnuts.

      I agree, those hairballs on the couch are dreadful, especially when you sit without looking…

  5. This is thought-provoking. I actually started thinking yeah it’s indeed pretty impossible to divide your unconditional affections between too many people. If you try to do that, someone is bound to get neglected. All it takes is two people wanting your undivided attention at the same time.

    But I think friends understand that there are other friends, relatives, work, the significant other, pets and other things that all need a slice of your time. Friendship should be more about mutual sympathizing (“oh the poor sucker is so busy…”) than about sacrificing.

    1. Practically speaking, I think you’re right. The cat might not understand why I threw him off my lap, but most of my human friends get the idea of competing obligations.

      Boo. Now you’ve gone and ruined my perfectly good excuse for not making more friends. 🙁

  6. Well I have three friends then…my Dutch Rabbit which I adore! My two chihuahua sisters which I rescued and adopted…;-) I guess I am in a good company they actually love to stay with me when I am painting! <3 I hope you got my message, because I am working on our project! 🙂

    1. They sound like amazing friends! I Googled dutch rabbit images and they’re just adorable.

      Yes, I heard you’re working on our project, thanks. I can’t wait to see it!

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