We’re all busy, and want to get and give the most to our friendships. The problem is how do we know who is good for us and most importantly discern who ain’t good for us?
According to British anthropologist and evolutionary psychologist Robin Dunbar from Oxford University, ‘we have a limited amount of time and emotional capital we can distribute, so we only have five slots for the most intense type of relationship’.
So, pick wisely.
But just before we get into who these people are, there are some questions about your inner circle friends I should answer for you because I get asked them so often.
The most common question I get asked is ‘How do you find them? ’Well, you keep your eyes open: attend a meetup event, join a team, take a course. It’s really that simple. Then you get brave and ask people if they want to hang out afterwards because you’re wanting to meet new people to share perspectives with.
Remember, your desire has to outweigh your fear to help you find your upside in life.
The second question I get asked is, ‘Does it matter if I don’t have all of these types in my inner ring?’ Well … yes, a little, because we need the diversity while we’re taking things up a level to create the life we want. But please don’t stress — take your time. It took me two years to curate my inner ring.
The final thing I get told is, ‘I’m so busy, I don’t have time to have those Friends or Sex in the City–style friendships.’ Of course you don’t — unless you live in a commune, that is. Remember, you want to choose the people who are going to help you level up your life even if you just spend an hour a month with them.
This is a person much like my friend who, in one moment, can change the whole course of your life, inspire a transformation, a book or an opportunity that there is no way you’d have uncovered on your own. They can come like my friend did—as an invitation to a better version of yourself—or they can leave you shrouded in heartbreak. Both are valuable in their own way.
Bottom line: whatever their form, Catalysts change you forever.
This is the person you can call on to have a fun time with, no matter what. They remind you that life is fun and meant to be lived. You’ll know when you find this person as they have a contagious lust for life, a wide smile and you can’t help but have fun in their presence.That’s not to say you don’t nurture each other. You do — hell, they know all your prior relationship problems — but that’s not the basis of your relationship.
Bottom line: Players help you find your voice and bust out of your ‘boring’, and they have zero tolerance for your ‘poor me’ chatter.
This is a second mother. The kind of person who has a bed for you when you need it, helps you when you are sick and sorts out things you can’t fix. This person will quite literally travel across a big city to deliver you chicken soup.You run to their arms when you need to have a good cry or are totally overwhelmed. Your first role with this person is to say yes to them. For many of us, this is the most difficult tribe member to accept into our inner circle because we think we should be doing everything ourselves.
Bottom line: Nurturers are there when you need them—no matter what.
This is a person you will never ever get enough of. You hang on their words and they fill you with ideas and a sense of possibility to do great things. Every conversation or experience with them matters and you always come away with a head of new thoughts and a heart full of new hopes. They are the ones who encourage you to start a business and believe in yourself.
Bottom line: Inspirers fill your head with possibilities and your heart with hope.
This person is your fellow ‘sapiosexual’ (Urban Dictionary definition: ‘One who finds the contents of someone else’s mind to be their most attractive attribute’). They don’t do small talk—only deep conversations—and they are always challenging the status quo. Your brain feels like it may implode after hanging out with them, but they challenge you to see the world (and yourself) in a new way.
Bottom line: Challengers blast open your mind.
Now this isn’t a lover in the traditional sense of the term.This is the person who loves you no matter how much of a crazy b**ch you are. For most people, this is usually your parents or one of your long-term besties who you can be totally real with. This person is the go-to person when you need a chat, advice or to just cry it out — no judgement. The one who takes you in when you’re broken or homeless.
Bottom line: Lovers look after you no matter what.
I talk about meeting your Maker a whole lot more in the final chapter of my book Smart Girls Screw Up Too, so what I want to share here is that it’s vital to get your vibe and your tribe sorted first — in other words, try to see your Maker as a bonus member of your tribe. Because when you’ve got all these tribe members in play you might well, choose very differently.
Bella Zanesco is Business Chicks resident career coach and Australia’s leading Career Acceleration Coach. She’s delivered millions in negotiation outcomes for her clients. She is the Entrepreneur In Residence for Slingshot, Australia’s leading corporate startup accelerator, a keynote speaker and Author of the smash hit ‘Smart Girls Screw Up Too, the no-nonsense guide to creating the life you want’. Bella’s vision is to support one million women to love Mondays, be magnetic and get paid what they’re worth.
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