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BEAN Seattle Blog

Friends You Have Never Met
What makes someone your friend? Is it having common interests? Probably. Is it having shared experiences? Most likely. Is it because you happen to live in the city you are currently in? My guess is no.

It has always been an unfortunate realty that people are stuck with making friends within a distance of easy travel. It is a bit like finding restaurants. If your neighborhood and your surrounding neighborhoods only have pizza joints, if you want a nice bowl of soup noodles, then you are just out of luck. Even with all the technology we have at our disposal like Facebook and mobile devices, they are still only mostly helpful in maintaining long distance friendship. Starting new friendship still mostly need to be done face to face.

Why is it so hard to start long distance friendship? With the help of dating websites, more and more people are beginning to initiate long distance romantic relationships. People are more comfortable to expand their romantic sphere of options than their friendship sphere of options. I personally think it's because people have generally been complacent with either maintaining existing friendships or starting new ones with people they can meet locally.

One of the greatest joy I have enjoyed in helping to expand BEAN to cities around the globe is that I get to make friends with young leaders from around the globe, many of whom I have not yet meet in person.

Like Sheila in Shanghai, a dedicated English teacher who has built a volunteering juggernaut. Like Kyle in Minneapolis, a defender of computer system by day and a creator of vibrant social events by night. Like Jennifer in Vancouver, using her incredible skill as a recruiter to recruit the next generation of young leaders. Like Vivian in Hong Kong, a globe-trotting consultant who has shined a light on neglected social problem on a shining metropolis.

What allows us to become friends outside of our physical distance constraint is the shared belief in the power of a new civic movement built around young professionals who are adventurous, global, capable, friendly, caring and unrestrained by conventional limitations. I am humbled and privileged for even more new opportunities to befriend new leaders in new cities, such as Andrea in Portland, Anu in Dallas, Bhakti in Buffalo, Britta in Taipei, Chelcee in Des Moines, Jessica in New Delhi, Kana in Los Angeles, Richard in London, Vijay in Eugene and Wayne in Washington D.C..

As BEAN grows and prospers around the globe, I hope to bring the opportunities for more young professionals to experience the joy to make friends in far away places, bound by common beliefs and values, not area code.

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