First up on our list of things to look at in our current life is our Family and close friends. I group these two together because the types of activities we do here are similar depending on the phase of life we are in.
In my opinion, relationships are why we are here on earth. Close relationships can bring us our most joyful moments and our greatest sadness. This is especially true for immediate family. The actions of those we love affect us every day. The way we are treated by parents, grandparents, or other family members can set prime our mental models for the rest of our lives.
During your life, you will directly impact thousands of individuals. Some will be brief encounters, but the reality is, you will likely impact the most, those you spend the most time with.
Types of interactions
Each person we interact with can be through different types of interactions. I classify them as “synchronous” vs “asynchronous” and “personal” vs “impersonal”.
Synchronous (sync) means that you are communicating back and forth in real time. Examples of this are face to face, the telephone, or even video conferencing.
Asynchronous (async) is when any amount of time could pass between messages in the conversation without it being weird. (We’ve all been there when a friend in a face to face conversation is either staring out into space or worse is texting someone while we are talking to them…)
Personal in this sense is something directly to the person and not also shared with the world, while impersonal would be things like public facebook messages not directly to the individual.
So, let’s do a quick exercise to see who you are spending your time with (remember to include both async and sync communication types). This will help us identify the commitments we’ve made in our lives which will serve as a foundation for later steps.
Get out your notebook and pen and get ready to answer some questions about your friends and family.
Who (outside of work) do you interact with on a daily basis?
This one should be the easiest to fill in. If you have a significant other, kids, roommates, etc. quickly jot them down. I know I said outside of work, but you could put the people you carpool with, go to lunch with, or the gym or bar even though you also work with them as those are likely closer than just coworkers. Remember though, you do want these to be close relationships. If you don’t think you would hang out with that person if you didn’t work with them, you can leave them off.
Who do you interact with once or more per week?
This one might be a bit tougher. Think church or other weekly group activities or clubs. Do you do a weekly movie or game night? Hang out with a dog walking buddy on Saturdays? Ok, now for the next one.
What about those you interact with every few weeks or months?
Do you have a friend that comes into town fairly regularly? What about your parents or siblings? Do you give them regular calls? (I be your mom wishes she were higher on the list!)
How about yearly?
Yearly seems so crazy, but do you do things like a family or roommate reunion? What about birthdays or other holiday parties? Maybe you don’t know everyone that will be there but you go to a Halloween party every year with a few friends, put them down.
Alright! Nice work! We now have a list of people in our “Family and Close Friends” bucket. This will be important as we try to figure out what we want to do with our lives.