We all have them---friends and relatives we only hear from when they want something.

 “Hey, I’m moving, can you help me with my grand piano?”

“Hey, I’m out of work, will you re-write my resume?” (the ‘for free’ is implied)

“Hey, I just ordered/removed two tons of gravel for/from my yard—can I borrow your truck?”

Or (if you’re like me and spend most of your time in cyberspace rather than ‘meatspace’) those people who use their personal profile on social networks (FaceBook, twitter, etc.) for advertising their business or whinging about their issues in an annoying attempt to gain sales and sympathy, respectively.

These are friends who always “have another commitment” when it’s time to move your piano. In cyberspace, they’re the ones who always have time to complain, but are way too busy to hit the ‘like’ button when you announce that your kid just graduated from high school or you just had your 25th wedding anniversary. These are ‘friends’ whose prime concern is maintaining a mental database of how you can help them (or how they can use you), but rarely what they bring to the table in a relationship. In other words, they’re not very good friends.

Real friendships, like all good relationships, require a certain degree of reciprocity—balance if you will. People, it’s the same with Mensa. If you’re thinking of Mensa as merely another place to network for your business, or one more place to find work, you’re not being a very good friend. Sure, Mensa can help with both: there’s a “Linked M’s” group on LinkedIn where you can connect professionally with other Mensans (the group is moderated and they do vet by membership number) and American Mensa has a job board if you’re looking for work or for employees.

But Mensa is primarily a social space—a metaphorical friendship where you can make some real friends—especially if you’re willing to be a friend in return. It doesn’t take much (I haven’t been asked to move a real or a metaphorical piano yet)—have dinner with the Adventurous Diners, take a morning walk with Going to the Dogs, grab lunch at Hello, Deli! Or, if you’re more introverted (guilty!), post some links or pictures or a book or movie review here on the website.

What can you expect in return? The chance to interact with other smart people and have a great time doing it. If you can live with that, then please come join us here on the website or at one of our events. We’d love to see more of you!