Most of us have super lame reasons for not being the good friend we know we can be.
There are 3 issues needing our attention.
• Too many internet friends
• Not enough close friends
• Little time to nurture the close friendships
So what are we to do about it?
Dunbar’s Number says that ~150 relationships are all we are evolved to handle.
Yet if you click on anyone’s social profiles, you’ll see numbers way higher than that for who they’re following. But these numbers are misleading.
Take a moment to visualize an auditorium of 1000 people. That sits way different in the brain than a simple number on a profile. 100% of people would never interact with that many people daily IRL.
So what’s this doing to our friendship sensors?
It’s skewing our social capital and we’re feeling ‘spent’ after our scrolls.
Even if we haven’t talked with any inner circle friends all day, we’re checking the friend box but still left feeling a bit hollow since it wasn’t physical.
But this leads to the second issue..
Almost 50% of Americans have less than 3 close friends.
15% of men don’t even have one close friend. Heartbreaking, right?
Our inner circle is crucial for wholesome living. We need people to lean on and share wins & losses with. We need people to See us and tell us the truth to us for better or for worse. We need to feel supported.
But that’s only half of it.
The flip side is that we need to feel needed. We want to be the person celebrating our friend’s wins. We want to be the person picking our friend off the ground when they go through hard times.
If friendship runs so deep in our DNA, what’s the hold up? Why is it so hard?
Most of us are time-poor.
Outside of work, sleep, & responsibilities it’s hard to squeeze meaningful connections in between it all. Sometimes, we feel too busy to even reply back to texts, much less make space to FaceTime a buddy. The main issue is time poverty.
Parkinson’s Law says that work expands to fill the time allotted for its completion. This law applies to more than just work time. Having the time to reach out to friends dwindles as we fill our days up with what we deem to be important.
But, even if we can’t easily rearrange everything, we can make immediate progress with friendships by switching up how we use those gaps in our day.
Alter the algorithm of your day:
• text, call, FaceTime someone
• drop by their house
• write them a letter
Anything > Nothing.
• Internet friends can make our social capital feel like monopoly money.
• Our inner circle helps us feel needed & supported.
• Don’t let time poverty hold a great friendship back.
Being a good friend is totally possible.
Turns out there can be a lot of overlap between building design and building a life. John Ruskin (unknowingly perhaps) tells us how to live life better.
It's never too late to stumble upon an underlying principle of reality. (Especially one that can be put to use immediately)