Wealth - an abundance of possession or money. So often we aspire to have wealth, to be rich, so we don’t have to work anymore. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But rarely do we associate wealth with having an abundance of friends, and despite being in the age of social media, having an abundance of friends means having a massive list of people on your friends’ list. I don’t know how many Facebook friends I have. My accumulation of them has become meaningless, except for the fact that I’m building a list of people that I can say, “Here’s my book. Get it. Now!”

But I think I talk to less than 10% of those people, and I hang out with less than that! Oprah has been known to say that she trusts five people. And I can see why. People want to know her because they’re hoping to get something from her other than friendship.

For me, I’ve been pruning my list of friends for many years, or at least the friends that I’m willing to hang out with. A part of me is a little sad. Another part knows that it’s necessary.

A friend of mine only contacted me if he needed anything. For example, if I was going to a party and he wasn’t invited, he’d ask me to bring him as a guest. He’d asked me to use my account to get Comic Con tickets because the more accounts you have the more chances you get. The last straw came when he asked for my Apple ID to buy Watches so he can scalp them.

Sometimes it’s obvious when to cut people out. But what are the criteria or is the area gray?

I told a another friend that I was moving to Hawaii. He asked me which island. Oahu, I answered. “I’ve been there. That’s the worst island,” he proclaimed. He didn’t offer any reasons why. He didn’t state which one he liked. Of the four months that I’ve known him, he had been comparing himself to me a lot, putting me down every chance he gets. I’m not sure why, but I think it’s his way of showing dominance in front of the girl that he likes, which we both know. Should I give him more time before cutting him out since we’ve only known each other for a short time?

My closest friend and I had come from the same martial arts school. Our friendship was forged during our long stint teaching and our bond extended beyond that school as we explored the arts, trying to find our life’s work. Our friendship stretched over two decades, filled with ups and downs, conversations about what was important in life: love, marriage, children, passion, cheddah. After we both left the school, he had trekked across the globe in search of his life’s work, while I remained home in search of mine.

He eventually married and had children, but disagreed with my bachelor life, dating with no real goal of settling down. He chastised me about it, but I wasn’t in the place to settle down because I had been fighting myself on whether to move to Hawaii or not.

Two years had snuck by without a word from him, so I decided to look him up. I had found him on a messaging app called Whatsapp, he doesn’t have a Facebook account, and we chatted for a day or so. I said we should talk over the phone because there was too much to catch up on a chatting app. He agreed but I never heard from him. Our paths have split greatly. Shit. Our lives barely resemble those of our younger selves, but at least for me, I’m still pursuing my artistic dream of being a writer. That’s not to say that his pursuit having ended is bad or good. His focus has shifted. But does that mean our friendship must end, even though our lives have little in common?

As I’ve written before, chapters open and close in our lives, and with it new friendships begin, old friendships are written off. All I can hope for is to continue building my wealth with friendships, to delve into conversation other than with my characters in my book, which are really voices in my head, and color my day with people that have a joy for life.