learning about friends (medium post draft - part 1)

as i put an increasing amount of thought into my upcoming annual retreat, i’m beginning to reflect on a key element of my system: my friends.

sidestory: earlier this month, my dear friend ambroise and i were walking in the arboretum and the topic of friends came up. he was sharing with me some insights he’s had about online dating as it relates to how he spends his time with (or not with) good friends. and as he was explaining his insights to me, he was sharing that he felt like his conclusions were really weird. but as he was saying them, they were essentially in line with things i’ve been thinking for a bit.

basically that spending time with people (dates or otherwise) who you don’t have (and aren’t planning to have) deep relationships with is energy-draining. this is as opposed to people you have or are building deep relationships with being energizing and life-giving.

and that’s not to say that spending time with people you’re not super close with is bad. it’s just to acknowledge that they are different and have different impacts on you. and, speaking for myself, as i’ve gotten older, i’ve noticed i want and need different things. sometimes i verbalize this as becoming more or becoming more aware of my introvert self. sometimes i think it’s just find a balance that works for me instead of being subject to what society tells me i should be doing (i.e. trying to have all the friends all the time). either way, as i get older, the clearer i am about the fact that if i’m out of balance, i don’t feel good.

i learned this lesson in 2016, too, but the lesson is deepening. when i have a few friends who i know i can count on, it both allows me to be more intimate with them as well as be more honest and realistic with others. how might this show up? well, one way we talked about was parties. he and i have different bars for this for but there’s a ratio (for me is 1:1) of people at a gathering that has to be met for me to treat it like a close friend gathering thing. if it’s more than 1/2 people i don’t know and am not intentionally trying to know more deeply, it gets counted as an energy drain. and sometimes i love going to those types of gatherings. but it’s rare. gatherings of close friends i’ll pretty much rearrange my schedule for.

sidenote: one time i heard adrienne maree brown say that town that she has some 100% honesty friends. that they’ve committed to being 100% honest with each other and that practicing that has helped her be more honest in other/all parts of her life… maybe i’ll try that out next year, too…

post for tomorrow: community ecosystem structure to test for 2018


  1. woes
  2. good friends
  3. other friends
  4. everyone else

this also brings up the teaching, learning together, and being taught spectrum.

  1. people i’m learning from
  2. people i’m learning with and we are supporting each other’s learning (woes)
  3. people i’m teaching (young ones, people i mentor/support their learning in a more unidirectional manner although it’s never unidirectional for real).

words / writing / post-processing
444w / 14min / 11min