Monday, 22 Jul 2019

Social Prioritizing

Social Prioritizing

“Leaving Loneliness: A Workbook: Building Relationships with Yourself and Others”

by David S. Narang Ph.D

Social Prioritizing: Deepening Select Relationships Instead of Having Light Relationships with Dozens

Is everybody your “best friend” who “knows me really well”? This one’s for you! Okay, you have loads of social energy (social prioritizing) and people really like you. That’s great. However, you are likely avoiding deeper discomforts with all the noise. As fun as it is to pop around, if your phone stopped buzzing from texts and calls, or if you had nothing to do on a given night, you just might panic. “Be stuck with MYSELF! What?!” Well, having fewer but truly close friends is akin to not hiding from yourself, for those people know you well enough to reflect back who you truly are. You see yourself when you are with them, because they know who you are. This can be scary if you are not yet sure that you like who you are.

Social Prioritizing - photo 1

Social Prioritizing

Social Prioritizing. When you have a few very close relationships with family and/or friends, you are not likely to feel lonely in the way you do when you have a large number of people with whom you only loosely associate. To be known so closely, and to know them as closely in return, means that you have support and love, not in theory but in a form you can feel. This is good to work toward, as feeling this love builds strong confidence to accomplish your dreams and to be of use to this world, which sorely needs your services. One point to clarify as well is that simply discussing your “skeletons” and neuroses with friends does not make these relationships deep enough to be truly fulfilling. Social Prioritizing.

Social Prioritizing - photo 2

Social Prioritizing

Social Prioritizing. What deepens relationships is that you do some living with each other, living shared experiences, not (solely) that you bared your soul at the coffee shop but then each of you went to your separate homes. Bringing people into your life is different than having them spectate. If both of these things occur (i.e., living shared experiences together and also hearing about each other ’s distinct lives), then the depth is strong. In regard to hearing about one another ’s lives, the more that the discussion includes information about what made you happy/sad/angry, any shame/inadequacies or confidence you felt, or anything about YOU (versus merely details about others or the situation), the greater the depth of that conversation.

Social Prioritizing - photo 3

Social Prioritizing

Social Prioritizing. Answer the following questions for yourself: If I was really ashamed because I had done something bad, who would I tell? If I were in the hospital, who would I most need to see? For who do I reciprocally do inconvenient favors (e.g., take him/her to the airport, show up for his/her family events and stay a good while, watch his/her children, etc.)? Who am I willing to be upset by, and who am I willing to upset, both of us knowing even during the conflict that we are each willing to be upset and that our relationship will continue to remain strong? Who do I spend more extensive time living some life with versus just the rare and brief moments of a meal or coffee out at a restaurant? Social Prioritizing.

Social Prioritizing - photo 4

Social Prioritizing

Social Prioritizing. If you have answers to these questions, those are the relationships that have greater depth. If you do not have answers or have to think long and hard on this exercise, pay particular attention to deepening some of your relationships. That deepening can be done, provided that you prioritize this development. In regard to the preceding questions, if any of your relationships emerged as those deeper relationships, please list their name/s here. If no names come to mind, please list names of those you wish to deepen your relationships with and how you will try to deepen them. If you had specific people in mind for the preceding questions, why do you not focus your time and energy primarily on those people?

Social Prioritizing - photo 5

Social Prioritizing

Social Prioritizing. You may be afraid to put all your eggs in a few friends’ baskets, afraid you could eventually lose them somehow, and where would that leave you? Similarly, when dating, it is possible that your boundaries may be poor, wanting to leave other doors cracked open “just in case,” so others are already attracted to you if you later need them. Your partners may get very injured by you in this way, especially if they see your true demeanor in action. Being known only in a limited manner, without depth to your relationships, means it is natural that you would become lonely and then even more in need, which would just keep you spinning faster to stay in surface contact with dozens of pals. Social Prioritizing.

Social Prioritizing - photo 6

Social Prioritizing

Social Prioritizing. What is the antidote? Well, for starters, simply try to be aware of this tendency to cultivate a huge number of relationships, which may keep you from deepening any of them. Engage further, more deeply, with fewer people. Try to develop relationships where you can answer “yes” to the questions posed to you earlier in this exercise. Take your time so that the development is gradual and not jarringly sudden for your people, but also use your strong skills of being methodical such that you are on the lookout for and take the opportunities to get to know those people better when opportunities appear.

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