adding some complexity to the friend zones

so, last i checked, my friend zone piece is up to 881 views (but who’s counting >_>) and 347 reads. now, that feels pretty insane to me because who knew that many people would read something i wrote.

but, yet another thing i learned from dcc is how to differentiate between vanity metrics and actionable metrics. now, while views are nice, they’re much less important than reads. who cares if someone landed on the page but didn’t make it past the first paragraph? and yet, even more important than reads are the impacts on people’s lives from actually implementing the ideas.

well, during two open days of annual reflection retreat i held last week, i was gifted with some real feedback from people who were trying to implement it! i didn’t ask for it or expect it, but it happened and it was lovely. some of the things that came up were things i think about and just didn’t include in the piece. but some stuff was totally new and added new layers/dimensions. i’m probably gonna butcher this because i didn’t take notes, but i’m hoping maybe i can ask those folks someday to share their thoughts directly.

reality vs. desired state

i got a question about whether i mapped current reality or where i wanted people to be in relation to me. honestly, i’ve only ever mapped current reality. but the list was always just in my head before. this year when i wrote it down, i put little up or down arrows next to people i wanted to be closer to or less close to. i think that added a really helpful layer and will help me decide more clearly which actions to take with which people.

other variables

what about geography/proximity, relationship closeness, and frequency? all three of these came up as variables to think about in the conversation about how close someone is. but they complicate the simple zones, for sure. for example, some people i don’t see or communicate with often. and yet when we do connect, we go really deep, almost as if we never had been apart. and there are also people i see all the time but don’t actually feel that close to. plus, geography (do we live/work in the same city? do we both visit our hometowns at the same times of year?) has an impact, too. maybe i see my neighbors daily. does that mean they should be close in? maybe… but also maybe not.

energizing versus draining

one thing the piece states maybe too strongly is that every friendship should be egalitarian and equal. my default is egalitarianism so that doesn’t surprise me. but in reality, there are some relationships that are imbalanced. in mentor/mentee relationships, the mentor is often giving more than they are getting (though learning is a big value-add to mentors with mentees). but in relationships with people across other boundaries, sometimes there just are times where you need/want to maintain relationships with people who are more draining than energizing. i think that’s real, totally fine, and sometimes even necessary (ex. friends who need physical care because our world doesn’t support their level of ability).

one thing i do hope, though, is that in my life overall, i have a balance. as long as i have some relationships that are mostly energizing, some others that are mostly draining, and others that are pretty even both ways i think i’ll be alright.

anyways, thanks, friends for sharing how tough/tricky it was to actually implement this! in the end, i think we came to the conclusion that i wanted, though: the intention of thinking about this stuff so concretely is just to prompt deep, critical thinking about relationships in our lives. your friend zone map (if you chose to get as concrete as that) doesn’t have to be super clean and clear. but it does have to help you thinking intentionally about friendships and relationships in your life.

omg i just wrote for 20 minutes and now i’m late. shit!

ps - if you see this and want a shoutout, please let me know and i’ll add you in explicitly. just didn’t want to name drop you without asking!

words / writing / post-processing
703w / 20min / 5min