“The more the merrier” DOES NOT apply to your circle of friendships. Whether you’re thinking “I always keep my circle small” or “But relationships are everything?” you may want to hear me out.
I used to be that person who was constantly processing my trust and affection issues as positives by rationalizing that people are generally untrustworthy and will eventually backstab you, so why invite new relationships into your life anyways? As I got older, I dealt with those issues and matured, and I realized that I love those deep connections with other individuals. I began craving close relationships and even sought them out. Slowly but surely, my circle grew and grew.
Heres the thing, not all of those relationships turned out to be of the same value, but I still felt like I needed to keep up with all of them the same & distribute my attention evenly to all.
I decided that I wanted to send out Christmas cards this year. Big girl things, you know? So I go into Target to buy a pack and BAM, the very last stack. In my head, I’m like okay, it’s fine I’ll just find another pack. BAM. NO MORE PACKS. I then look at the card count in my single package and it says 12. 12? 1-2? TWELVE? How the hell am I going to pick out only 12 people in my circle to send Christmas cards to?
I’m not going to disclose to you if I bought the cards or who they went to, if I did. But yeah guys, that’s how I initially stumbled across the idea for this post. That, and a usually meaningful convo with my wife (not legally) Terrin.
The fact is: if you have a huge circle of friends with no distinction, you are probably not a good friend to one, or several, of those people.
The solution… create distinction.
Group 1) These are friends that you have a generally good relationship with. You like them as individuals and you enjoy talking to them from time to time. You probably wouldn’t come to them with your problems seeking advice and you probably couldn’t depend on them if your car breaks down, you need to borrow something, etc., but still, good peoples.
Group 2) These are the friends who you’ve developed a pretty solid relationship with. At some point, you hung out and talked consistently but something happened (maybe a move, job change, new husband or baby, whatever) and you don’t find it as consistent as it once was. You might talk regularly or you might go months without talking and be fine when you do. You can depend on each other to an extent. You have love for these people, you’re happy when they succeed and while you wouldn’t travel a great distant to see them or call them to vent, you would be happy to see them if it were convenient.
Group 3) These are your greatest friends (“best friends”). You know you can depend on them for absolutely anything and everything, and they on you. You call them to vent and you value their opinion. Their distance or presence has great impact on your life. You picture them by your side through it all, whether physically or emotionally. You know you will do everything you can to make them feel cherished, appreciated, supported and loved.
There is no maximum or minimum limitations on the number of people in each group, and you may chose to classify your friends differently, but if you don’t then you will not be giving them what they deserve. You cannot treat all relationships the same and you CANNOT be lazy with the relationships you want to last.
For example, for my group 1 friendships, I will try to reach out and catch up at least 2-3 times per year. Most of the information we share is new to us as we don’t track each others lives so much, but it is still shared without guilt or resentment. For my group 2 friendships, I follow them on social media and I try to chat at least 1-3 times per month. For my group 3 friends, I talk to them frequently (as much as our schedule permits) and if possible, meet up weekly or if out of state, I will do what I can to ensure a visit occurs 1-3 times per year. I will send them meaningful cards and gifts if I can afford to.
The bottom line is that you need to be aware of who means what to you. Relationships are all that we have in life, and in order to maintain them and give them what they deserve, we need to build a funnel.
This will also prevent you from draining your energy and leaving you feeling empty.
A huge thank you to my wifey for letting me share & sharing with me in return. Love you, boo.
Hope this helps you as it did me!