Questions to Ask Yourself When Organizing Your Social Circles
Being honest with yourself about who you’re most invested in is the first step to organizing your friends into circles of closeness.
When you first go to organize your social circles with Fabriq, it can feel a little weird. Though your circles are labeled inner, middle, and outer, they’re more about where you’d like each person to fit into your life. Think close, closer, and closest. You’re not ranking your friends — you’re prioritizing them! Because the truth is, you’ve already partitioned your friends into circles of closeness — you just haven’t consciously organized them, yet.
We don’t often quantify our friendships in real life, and social norms have taught us that the “polite” way to interact with people is to be inclusive of everyone. But for Fabriq to work for you, it’s necessary to be a little more discerning about who you prioritize spending your valuable social capital on. We’ve written before about the science behind the Dunbar method of organizing your social circles. Now we’re going to take a closer look at the emotional implications of organizing your social circles.
Your Inner Circle
If you found out today that you were expecting a child, who are the first five people you’d want to tell? Your gut reaction to this question is a good indication of who’s in your inner circle.
Think of your inner circle as the family that you choose. These people aren’t just in your life for now, based on familiar life circumstances or location. These are the people you see in your life fifteen years from now. You share your successes with them, but you’re also able to share your heart with them. These people are your go-to confidants when you need advice. They don’t judge you for having a bad day, and they know the best and the worst of who you are as a person. Think the Golden Girls, Queer Eye’s Fab Five, or the cast of Friends. Whether you think of them as the five people you’d take with you to a deserted island or the five people you’d have a really hard time not contacting if you were pulled into Witness Protection, these people keep you grounded.
Some good tests to ask if you’re trying to figure out if someone’s in your inner circle include:
- Do you know how to get to their house without your GPS?
- Would they be a welcome source of comfort if a loved one passed away?
- Would you let them borrow your car?
“Whether you think of them as the five people you’d take with you to a deserted island or the five people you’d have a really hard time not contacting if you were pulled into Witness Protection, these people keep you grounded. “
Fabriq: Communal by Nature | Friendship
5 Signs Your Social Circles Are Too Exclusive
Reject the allure of exclusivity, and open yourself to new people and new opportunities. I would bet money that your life will be enriched in some way, and if nothing else, you will brighten the day of at least one person on this planet. In the end, isn’t that enough?
Your Middle Circle
Who could you call if you needed someone to house-sit for you? This is a good question to think about when trying to visualize your middle circle.
People in your middle circle are the ones you lean on pretty regularly when you’re looking for companionship. You’d be happy to go out and get a cup of coffee with them, and you might ask them for simple favors like checking your mail while you’re on vacation, but you know that if life circumstances changed—if one of you moved, for example—you may or may have a hard time keeping that person close. You remember their birthdays, and you consider them a close friend, but if you think about it carefully, you may have only became friends because you worked together or attended the same Mommy & Me classes. They might sign up to be part of a meal train if you broke your leg, but you wouldn’t want them to see you at your absolute lowest point in life.
Some good questions to ask to determine who’s in your middle circle include:
- Would you invite them out for a drink if you had a rough day at work?
- Could you ask them to pick up a bag of ice for you if they were coming to a party you were hosting?
- Would you remember to text or call them on their birthday?
- When you visit their place does your WiFi connect automatically?
“You’d be happy to go out and get a cup of coffee with them, and you might ask them for simple favors like checking your mail while you’re on vacation.You remember their birthdays, and you consider them a close friend.”
Your Outer Circle
Your “outer” circle may feel a little too far “out there” for your good friends, important colleagues, and family you don’t interact with as often, but it’s still quite close in terms of how these folks get prioritized in your life. They are in your Fabriq, after all.
Think barbecue buddies, wedding invitees, and the people who you actually want to see at the next reunion. You’re choosing these 35 people over the 100 or so others in your real-life social network when it comes time to celebrate life with people you enjoy. The sense of community these relationships offer is an integral part of being a happy human being.
These are people who you’re happy to get to know better, though you might not think of them every day. They’re also the ones you might have to take notes on because you don’t see them often enough to remember the little details. Because you often see them at larger social gatherings, you might not get to engage with them quite as deeply as you’d like. Setting reminders and keeping track of details about these special people can help you deepen your relationship with them over time.
“Think barbecue buddies, wedding invitees, and the people who you actually want to see at the next reunion. These are people who you’re happy to get to know better, though you might not think of them every day.”
They’re probably in your outer circle if you answer yes to any of these questions:
- Do you sometimes forget where they work or the names of their partners or kids?
- Do you see them once a month or less?
- Are they located far enough away that you really have to make an effort to stay in touch?
- Do you intend to keep them close or get closer but then deprioritize them a bit when you’re busy?
Though there’s a science to the Dunbar method, you don’t have to be a scientist to organize your friends into circles of closeness. What you do need is the capacity to analyze your friendships both logically and emotionally. Being honest with yourself about who you’re most invested in is the first step to organizing your friends into circles of closeness that make sense for the social capital you have available to invest in these relationships.
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