Saturday, September 11, 2010

Intentional Friendships

I turned 35 exactly one month ago.  The theme over the past few months has been to streamline various aspects of my life to make sure that the energy I put into things results in a meaningful threshold of effect.

One area that has reached outside my comfort zone is the way that I have been managing friendships.  There has been much sorting over the past few months... many casualties  The following guidelines for judging friendship were developed during this sorting process.
  • Shared verbs are mandatory if a genuine friendship is to be maintained... otherwise, they are a Facebook-only friend
  • Friendship can generate expectations, which can generate fears... common verbs justify repetitions of proximity.  Verbs are the medium through which friendship flows.
  • Common verbs do not always need to be a collaboration
  • An inner circle can hold about seven people; any more than that will result in leakage.
  • The choice is mine as much as theirs. I will be rejected. It won't be personal. No expectations... only trial and error.
  • Having a routine of verbs eventually leads to having well-defined openings to fill with friendship activites
  • I do not need to be everybody's friend. Neutral is acceptable and more common than emotional intimacy... after all, there are only approximately seven openings within the inner circle.
  • People change... It is normal for people to come in as buddies and leave as strangers within one's life... we share wonderful moments with good people all the time... this does not mean that we are entitled to continue sharing those moments if our taste in verbs is no longer a natural match.
  • Three Axes of Friendship: Identity Reinforcement, Reciprocal Trust, and Mutual Commitment
The Plan
Agency: Cultivate Intentional Friendships.
Time as a Resource: Cull out friendships that feel obligatory.
Directed Target: Imagine what an ideal friend does.  Do those things.  Be that person.
Technique: To counteract the tendency towards blind loyalty, use the lens of amnesia to filter intrinsic friendship behavior from obligatory friendship behavior.