Clearing People Clutter From Our Lives
The last time I talked about this 10 people immediately unsubscribed from my newsletter. . I think they were either offended as they thought I was referring to them or they took my advice and culled me. Stick with me on this one. Hear me out. Sometimes people say ‘you can never have too many friends‘. But is that true?
We are living in a time when people and companies are trying to connect with as many people as possible. Facebook has created a new category of ‘friends’. We have people ‘follow us’ on twitter. People ‘Like’ our pages. All this is great. I have thousands under those categories. But how many real friends is enough?
You have probably heard the phrase ‘people come into your life for a reason season or for life’. This is a great philosophy but the trick is to know who is there for what and what do with those we collected along the way that no longer add any meaning to our lives.
Life can become very cluttered if we let it.
- How many clothes in the wardrobe you no longer wear?
- How many gadgets in the cupboard you bought but hardly use?
- Do we really need all this STUFF?
There are embarrassing TV shows that show what happens when this gets out of control. How can people live like that?
All hoarders started as clutter-ers. It just got out of control.
When I commence coaching with a client we do an evaluation of ten areas of their lives. One of those areas is their friends/social life. Ten represents they are completely satisfied with this area of their life. Sometimes people tell me it’s 10 but they roll their eyes and tell me they have so many friends with a sigh or overwhelm in their voice. I suggest we are evaluating their satisfaction level with friends not the quantity of friends. They then begin to tell my how they feel their friendships are a one way street. They do all the giving, the organising, the chasing up. Or their friends are demanding. Or they are always whinging. Or that they feel obligated to stay in contact with them. STOP! Obviously from what they are saying their satisfaction level is actually under five.
Just as wardrobes, cupboards, garages and houses can become cluttered so can our lives with too many people or ‘friends’.
Different approaches to friendships
- Some people need just a small number of select friends.
- Some need life-long friends.
- Others need a constant flow of new people in their lives.
All of these are valid depending on the personality and make-up of the individual.
How many friends should you have?
- Buddies – one, two or the most three. These are people you would share your secrets with or lend money to if they asked or spend weeks visiting them in hospital if they were sick. I call them the ‘inner circle’.
- Friends – this can be anywhere up to 20. You socialise with these people but unlike those above you don’t share everything with them.
- Acquaintances - people you know, have occasional contact and some sense of connection with. Dunbar’s research suggests that averages out around 150.
But what if I have collected too many people and I need to cull back or I have the wrong type of people in my life?
Why do a friends audit?
- Life is too short to be wasting time with friendships that have no validity and only a sense of obligation.
- Each relationship requires some level of energy and time to maintain. There are only a limited number of hours in the day and week we can devote to maintaining relationships and keep our lives in balance.
- While we hold on to people and things there is no room for the new to arrive in our lives. Create the space and it will be filled. It’s a law of nature that a vacuum won’t exist for too long.
- Feeling obligated and resentful is bad energy and creates stress. This is not a healthy friendship.
Too Many Friends? How to do a friends audit
Here is a simple strategy I use when coaching clients tell me they want to create a new social life and network of genuine friends. You will need to do this on a piece of paper. Just doing it in your head won’t be as effective.
- List the 10 most important things YOU value about friendship. Ask yourself what type of friends you want. Eg friends who are:- supportive, have integrity, fun, respectful, stimulating, caring, loving, challenging, enjoyable, companionship, common interests, excitement, honest, successful, committed, empathetic, appreciative, generous, thoughtful, spiritual, honest, open, positive, encouraging, responsible, independent, help you grow accepting, like minded ….are just some.
- Place this list in order of priority. Ie the most important at the top down to the least important being number 10. Shuffle them around a bit and see how it feels.
- Write a list of the all the people in your life you class as friends.
- Give each person a tick if they match your values.
- The ones with the least ticks delete from your phone, address book.
- If they contact you they may still be meant to be in your life. You then choose whether to reinstate them or not. Some people need lots of support. You choose if you want to give that support because you want to not because you feel obligated. It could be your way of being a giving person.
- You have now created a world of like-minded people who are in harmony with your values and created space for the right people to come in.
Coaching can give you a whole new perspective in life.
If you are considering the possibility of being coached, I offer a no obligation, complimentary, one hour consultation
Please Note: I have successfully coached clients in the many parts of the world and all over Australia either on the phone, via the internet (Skype etc) and face to face for people in Sydney. Face to face or using other forms of communication, clients always get the same life-changing results. Your privacy is always respected and strict confidentiality assured.
Some articles on friendship