5 Signs Your Social Circles Are Too Exclusive
Reject the allure of exclusivity, and open yourself to new people and new opportunities.
I’ve moved cities as an adult several times. In doing so, I’ve had to recreate a community each time—personally and professionally. I’ve had some easy transitions and some harder ones. I think a lot of what makes a place easy to transition into is the local’s sense of openness to newcomers.
I lived in Seattle for about five years, for example. I had a hard time making friends at first, and some people said it was because of the ‘Seattle Freeze.’ There was actually a name for the keep-at-arms-length distance that people maintained toward new people. I found this to be true of many different circles of people that I tried to feel included in.
I noted that there is some friendship hesitancy when there are large fluctuations in population, like in Seattle. I don’t want to pick on Seattle, because this exists in most cities I’ve lived in. The thing I never understood was why?
Why not, I thought.
What have we got to lose from knowing someone for a brief moment in time? What are we afraid of? Giving love away without guarantee that it will stick around? Truthfully, I think intimacy scares people. So does new—new perspectives and ways of thinking that challenge our norms.
So how do you know if you are being inclusive in your social circles, or exclusive? Here’s my take on it.
1. Have you ever moved away from your hometown and lived in a new place?
I’m not talking about college, or studying abroad, or internships where you have a community that is already in place. I mean leaving those comforts and striking out into the unknown. If you have never done that, then you have no idea what it’s like to start completely fresh, and therefore probably aren’t very sympathetic to new people that you meet.
If you care to, you can become more mindful of this. If you happen to meet someone who just moved to your town, ask them to join you for coffee sometime, or invite them to your next dinner party or social gathering. It requires very little on your part, and may just change the whole experience for them.
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2. Whom do you socialize with?
Is it the same people you’ve hung out with for the last ten years? Do you have routine and designated plans? Are they at someone’s house every week? I’m not saying that old friends are bad, but this might be a sign that no one is meeting new people.
You could suggest a new place to meet or a new activity where your routines might get challenged; you might have the opportunity to meet new people. This might be especially kind for someone in the group who is single.
3. Do you hang out with the same crowd in social places?
This might be yoga class, for example; and you only know the six people you texted to meet you there? There are probably 10 other people there that you have seen before, you know you recognize them—what’s your excuse for not saying ‘hi’ and introducing yourself?
Could it be any easier to start a conversation with someone in this situation? You already know you have that one thing in common. Invite them out with you afterwards and discover what else you have to talk about. You might seem like you care, and ahem, honor the light in them. You might just change their opinion of you for the better.
4. Is there inter-friendship drama that affects everyone in your immediate friend group?
This is a dead giveaway that you need to expand your circles. If you feel pressured to ostracize someone because of something having nothing to do with you, it’s a sure sign that everyone is getting claustrophobic.
Time to be a grown-ass adult about it and step outside of that circle for a bit.
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5. Is everyone you hang out with or socialize with in the same demographic?
This can mean race, Class, Social Status, Married or Single, Religious or Not, Age Range, Kids or No Kids… Chances are you are not only being extremely exclusive, but also closed-minded.
When you have friends with differing opinions, political views and backgrounds, you become an inclusive and flexible person by default. It’s easy to hate on opposing views if you don’t know anyone personally who has them.
I personally love loving people for brief moments in our lives, when our worlds orbit near one another, and then spin off in other directions. It could be months, days or even hours. Relationships leave behind a beautiful starry quilt of experiences, memories, connections, growth—and the sky is brighter for it.
Let’s make a pact to be more inclusive, just try it for a month. Say hello to strangers, make eye contact, introduce yourself first—challenge yourself to make it a game or a social experiment. 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?
About Sarah Louisignau
Sarah Louisignau loved her digital nomad lifestyle, once she realized that she didn’t HAVE TO grow up, settle down, and buy a house. Travelling the world creating art and relationship coaching with her Norwegian husband Kjetil Odin has been a source of awakening. She’s grateful both for the freedom and joy it allows, and also for the absolute shit show it can be dealing with things like immigration, lost passports, and forgetting things everywhere. She values clear seeing, wholeheartedness, and being part of world culture. If you want to check out her painting or coaching offers, check out her website.
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