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I have been thinking a lot about friends lately. I have always been the kind of person who had a lot of friends and acquaintances. I frequently joke that I know everyone. I like different types of people - executives, artists, writers, lawyers, you name it. One of my favorite things to do is to get everyone together and sit back to watch what happens. It's frequently pure magic and sometimes pure mayhem. I am known for the "interesting" people at my parties. It's so easy to be friendly and inclusive that I am not sure why everyone isn't more friendly and inclusive.

And I have been wondering about friends. I wonder about our responsibility to our friends. I believe we are honor bound to try to help our friends, to lift them up when they are down, and to reach out when things are hard. Yet so many times it is our friends who get us into trouble. They encourage us to eat French fries when we are on diets or stay out late when we need to get some sleep.

Some self help experts say that we should surround ourselves with people who inspire us. Yet, how do you know that the people who join your group won't get depressed and bring everyone down. You are making a bet on people and people are notoriously inconsistent.

We rise and fall depending on our human social contact and context. We are almost like human kelp in a sea of human emotion. It's nearly impossible to remove the impact of other people's moods on our life. And I am not certain that it?s healthy to be so separated from the people around us.

Yet, if there is a national depression, how will you, or I for that matter, keep from becoming deeply depressed as well. Will I pour my money into things to support the national economy or will I take my small dollars and keep them for myself. Will I strive to bring everyone up or will I be content to let the others fall?

What would you do?