A cow in Willesden

Public psychotherapy for a veteran auditor

Imaginary Friends


Have I entirely missed the point, or is networking just pretending to be friends with people in the hope that you can exploit their ‘friendship’ to further your own objectives?

When did that become an acceptable thing to do? I didn’t vote for that one, and frankly it seems like a step backwards for our civilisation. And assuming it actually works, that people are able to exploit these manufactured friendships to further their careers, who is it that is losing out? People who aren’t ‘connected,’ who don’t excel at fakery, who don’t look and sound the same, and people who don’t agree with the Status Quo? Isn’t that unethical?

I admit that I’ve often struggled to understand the unwritten rules of friendship, which seem contrary to my common sense. I remember being quite young and being entirely perplexed by a young lady with whom I had enjoyed a brief romantic encounter, which by common consent we no longer wished to pursue. What had me flummoxed was her suggestion that we should ‘still be friends.’

Now I don’t think I’m abnormally pedantic, but I felt obliged to point out that having failed to reach the straightforward requirements of being a ‘girlfriend’ to a young man such as I was (‘girlfriend’ being a transitory position, requiring simply that: a. she participate in intimate physicality with me; and that b. she avoid the inclination to purposely and persistently annoy me), by what spurious reasoning did she feel that she might, as a consolation, be elevated into a ‘friend’ status, which clearly commands more stringent entry requirements.

I was surprised and confused when she walked away cursing me, without having fully heard out my instructive and germane Champions League / UEFA cup analogy, which would have given her some essential enlightenment on the respective values of friendship and romance. I hadn’t even got on to the away goals rule.

But I digress.

My point was that friendship is a valuable, personal thing, and to cheapen it by making fake copies of friends under a veil of nepotism is detrimental to our society, and a stain on the character of all of us.

If I wanted pretend friends, I could just do what I did as a kid, and invent some. At least then my ‘friends’ would be unlikely to put me in the awkward situation of asking me for favours which exploit our personal relationship at the expense of integrity and equality. Plus they would have super-powers.

12 responses to “Imaginary Friends

  1. Sofia July 6, 2011 at 11:18 pm

    I wanted to “like” this, but in my typical fashion I have forgotten my username and password. Why can’t everything be finger print ID-ed. This post is interesting and I thoroughly agree with your point on networking, which I have always said i’m not good at, because it is essentially FAKE. I would like you one day to explore your friendship categories of “dislike” and “tolerate” in a post one day.

    • A Cow in Willesden July 7, 2011 at 8:14 am

      thanks for the comment Sofia,
      I’m becoming a fan of the Like button myself, something inately democratic about it. But I sometimes wonder afterwards if I truly Liked it, or if I was just carried away in the moment. Sometimes hard to Unlike something once you’ve already committed to it. Probably safer in the long run just to leave a comment.
      I will expand on my friendship categories in a post, since you’ve requested it. Not sure I can do it justice at the moment, but I’ll plant the seed in my “Ideas Garden” where such things germinate, and when the idea is ripe I will publish it.

  2. The Lone Auditor July 7, 2011 at 9:41 am

    On the flip-side, networking is a great opportunity for those with no friends to instantly gain a hareem of people pretending to like them, only requiring the expense of a professional organisational membership to do so. Sometimes you get free drinks and crisps too.

    • A Cow in Willesden July 7, 2011 at 6:53 pm

      Thanks for the comment Lone(ly?) Auditor.
      Hadn’t really considered the free crisps, which weren’t on offer from the un-named lady in question, but might otherwise be a factor.
      I was expecting to attract some dissent, given that I’m making anti-networking statements in a social networking format. Yours is the first, lets see if others have a similar view

  3. ITauditSecurity July 12, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    Now who’s stealing from who? Audit Monkey bemoans LinkedIn on 7/3 and now this. Pretty soon I’m going to have to write about it. Good grief. (of course I did long ago, laughing about how some people announce to the world they’re out of town).

    Networking is more about scratching each other’s back. Sure, some people treat networking like Facebook and go for numbers, but in all seriousness, you just might need a friend someday for some good “how do you deal with this in your business?” advice or a lead/inside info regarding a job.

    Imaginary friends can’t offer you good virtual advice or imaginary jobs. But then imaginary income isn’t subject to taxes.

    • A Cow in Willesden July 12, 2011 at 5:19 pm

      Hey IAS,
      I think I read your post on people posting when they will be away. Mine was germinating in my “ideas garden’ for quite a while, but I did spot the LinkedIn post before I finished the draft, maybe I should have referenced it. I was actually tempted to comment on Audit Monkey’s post that I was posting something relevant too, but that seemed too self-promoting and I didn’t.
      I’m still trying to find a way through my venn diagram idea, which I feel is within reach but not quite there, so I’m kind of rushing out some other posts whenever I realise that I won’t make it again this week.
      Do you write your posts spontaneously, or do you have several drafts or sketches on the go at a time, and pick one out when the tim eis right?
      Imaginary income is a great term, I wonder if they allow for it on tax returns. Perhaps in-game currency/economies will fudge the borders one day soon and all of a sudden my imaginary friends can generate me some real income.

  4. Chris July 15, 2011 at 8:30 am

    Dear Cow – I consider you one of my best network contacts

    • A Cow in Willesden July 15, 2011 at 9:09 am

      While I appreciate your contribution to my hit-counter and other headline site stats, your expression of personal affection makes me uncomfortable, although it still provides a good example of the detestable components of this networking phenomenon.
      So thanks a lot, and stay away from me.

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