Perhaps the parenthetical was unnecessary, but I did not want to give the casual reader any wrong ideas.
It occurred to me that I have very few "friends" - I mean, those people on the list that pops up when one types Ctrl-Shift-F. Sixteen, to be exact, including several alts. (If you don't like yourself, who will?) The Guv, because he's friends with everyone. A few real friends. One real friend who must have become a former friend for reasons I cannot fathom, but whose decision I will respect. The rest are all people I met when they were tres noob, who felt, I suppose, that one offered "friendship" after exchanging a few pleasantries. Who am I to say no? (I draw the line at people who offer "friendship" as I fly by, or have not yet spoken a word, or whose first words are a solicitation for an intimate act. I do have some standards, just low ones.
The last category - the "Hi, nice to know you, wanna be friends?" people - generally populate the list but are never heard from again. I realize that some of that is me - I could have taken the time to IM, ask how things are going, and so on - but that's the way (Second) life is sometimes. My guess is that other names were on the list, and they eventually deleted me when they forgot who I was, why I was on their "friends" list, and got tired of the blue box popping up, saying "[Name of Complete Stranger] is Now Online."
One such gentleman, however, offered me a teleport to a sim. I was sufficiently intrigued to click on the appropriate button, only to find myself...in a laggalicious gaming/camping sim. Wheee! That teaches me a lesson.
Then there are those whom I consider friends who have never been "friends." I don't know why. Have we never gotten around to it? Do we not need to know when one another is on-line? Some other reason? All of the above?
The alternate title for this post is: "It's Not Always the Size of One's Friends List that Matters."