Webs of Relationships
The Key – Build a Web of Relationships – Like a spider’s web.
Some relationships will be close and some will not be particularly close. Some relationships will be long lasting and some will be shorter lived. It’s kind of like being a spider in a web. You make a bunch of connections, take care of them, replace some when they break or simply end, etc. Some relationships will be more important than others. Relationships take work – and they are worth it.
Lots of Potential Connections
You can be connected to individuals, groups and teams, organizations, faith communities, neighborhood groups, etc. The key is to explore lots of connections. Some won’t work very well, but others will. It’s kind of a numbers game. Try lots of connections and see what works.
|Examples of Relationships in a Relationship Web
Inner and Outer Relationship Circles
Another way to think about the web of relationships that you can build is to think about it as an inner circle of close relationships and outer circles of relationships that that vary in importance, but are not as close as those in the inner circle.
These are relationships where there is clear genuine caring and connections that you can rely on. These are relationships where you can share what is really important to you and take some risks in sharing or getting advice. They may be relationships with a longer or shorter history, and they may be easy or difficult, but they are the relationships where you know that people really care about you.
Frequent Inner Circle Relationships
- Immediate family, particularly parents
- Close Friends
You can make as many outer circles in your web of relationships as make sense to you, but probably at least two circles. For instance, your second circle could have people that know you reasonable well and that you trust to be generally supportive. They aren’t particularly close, but you know them well enough to see them as friends.
A second outer circle might have people that are acquaintances, people that you sometimes have fun doing activities with or people that you can go to if you need something.
Frequent Relationships in Outer Circles
(Some of these could be inner circle – it varies from person to person)
- Extended family
- Team or club members
- Community organizations
- Faith community
- People in the criminal justice system
There are lots of ways to draw relationship circles. A good one is shown below. Even if you hit a time when you don’t have a best friend or even good friends, you can still be connected to casual friends or acquaintances and you can still be part of groups or organizations.
All the Relationships Matter
All the relationships in your web matter, so don’t ignore any of them. Not all will have the same importance, but it is important to see the whole web of relationships that can be part of life.
The More the Better
The more connections you have in these circles, the better. Even though some will be much more important than others, they all make a difference and a strong web can help buffer all the changes that can happen in key relationships. Friends often come and go as do girl/boyfriends. Family relationships can get closer or more distant.
The relationships in the outer circles can often be taken for granted or underappreciated. One of the pitfalls in creating relationships on the journey is focusing too much on just a few relationships, which leaves you vulnerable to changes in those relationships – many of which you just can’t control. So, don’t fall into the trap of focusing only on one or a few relationships. Pay attention to the whole web – building it and maintaining it.