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How to expand one's social circle

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Hello guys and girls,

Context

so here is a brief reminder of my most recent social life.

  1. 3 years ago: I had destroyed my social circle/life because of being very involved in my job and because I was surrounded by narcissists (family, friends, GF) so I did not know anymore who to trust (victim of gaslighting I guess). So I removed everyone. It's a very painful experience and I would not recommend it.
  2. 2 years ago: I started to build a social circle (5 people) made mostly of French expats, with the support of the TPM community in order to navigate it

Now, I realised that my French expats friends have a more extended social circle than me. It's small in Switzerland, but they live in a shared house, so it's an easy way to grow their social circle: friends of roommates, friends of friends of roommates. And they can do activities together.

Also asking the same people every week-end what they were doing kind of felt stale: I was the one always initiating (which means also chasing) and they were still doing activities with other friends. That means they had more social power than I.

I started to realize that I do have a big social circle. I just did not tap into it. All the old friends that I ghosted, my colleagues, etc.

So as I started to accept people for who they are and not having such high standards for people, I see much more opportunities for my social circle and friendships.

I followed the "5 people rule" and I removed people instead of adding them. That was stupid and self-destructive.

So that is all for the context.

Now I'm currently expanding my social circle and adding more women to it.

Why expand one's social circle?

  • Kavalier put it best as your social power depends a lot on the number people you know.
  • This gives you access to many more different people and more skills (power through people: lawyer, carpenter, well-connected friend)
  • It increases your status (higher status)
  • You don't have to rely on the same 5 people to have a social life (more social power)
  • It opens you to more mating opportunities
  • You'll be invited to more events.

How to expand one's social circle

Well, first the mistake I did was to not prioritize enough my original social circle. So that is the first rule:

  1. Prioritize your current social circle
  2. Either invite new people to your current social circle activities or separate your WE in 2 days: Friday for expanding (inviting colleagues, old friends, etc.) where you can bond with new people. Saturday for your main group.

You always want to have good 1-on-1 relationships with the people you invite. They're not sacs of meat, they're people. And you want to spend time with people you like of course. So it's more about opening yourself to other people you like and including them in your social life than "using people". It's a matter of mindset.

So basically, you want to introduce more people to more people. That is social power. So strategically expanding one's social circle is key to social power. It is THE key.

However, it starts with having a solid and reliable core social circle and be loyal to them. Otherwise you're shooting yourself in the foot. Add more people and you're the de facto leader since who do all these people have in common? Exactly. You.

As I experiment and make mistakes, I'll let you know guys about this process.

The mindset is MOOORE PEOPLE! (Hahaha)

Cheers!

PS: @lucio, from now one I'll use the keywords "How to" for these kinds of topics. So if one day you want to make an encyclopaedia of "How to" they'll be easier to find using the search function.

Lucio Buffalmano, Kavalier and 4 other users have reacted to this post.
Lucio BuffalmanoKavalierAlexBelleaderoffunEmily

Now to go is the lower granularity:

  1. You don't want to invite the same people every week as it is a bit chasing. Every other week is fine. Exception: your close social circle.
  2. You want to start to invite the people with whom you have the most leverage: your closest friend who prioritize you as well. Then you go down the list and ask other people as now you have a group. With the power of the group, it's more likely they're going to say yes.

How to invite people

This is very important. I use WhatsApp.

First, I ping them:

"Hello JB!" (it's low investment)

If they tell me right away they're busy, I take some news from them, vibe a bit and wish them well.

If they're not busy, I used to do this:

What are your plans for this week-end?

I learned through SU that this was not optimal as I depend on their schedule.

So this is how I do it now:

Me and So-and-So are doing this activity on Friday if you're up for it.

So I'm telling them what I'm going to do and do not expect a reply. Whether they come or not does not matter. To the first person it's a bit of a different approach:

(To first person you invite): Let's go have a drink/do this thing! (untested as I used to ask questions and just learned this as I'm typing this)

So basically the principles are:

  1. Don't chase too hard (don't contact them too often, not too many questions, don't look desperate) = keep your power
  2. Be a leader
  3. Be independent of them coming or not (do your thing for yourself and who's up for it is welcome)

Rinse and repeat

Lucio Buffalmano, Transitioned and 4 other users have reacted to this post.
Lucio BuffalmanoTransitionedMats GBelleaderoffunEmily

Another advantage of having a large social circle: people get value from you because you introduce them to other people, expanding their own social circle.

Win-win.

Lucio Buffalmano, Transitioned and Bel have reacted to this post.
Lucio BuffalmanoTransitionedBel

Awesome stuff, John!

Also liked the throwing out of the self-help cliche' of "you are the 5 people you... ".

Yeah, for sure there's some truth to it, your environment influences you.
BUT you can be bigger than your environment, including: only take the best from the people you meet, don't allow the bigger turkey to influence you or drag you down, learn  more from more people with different characters and novel ideas instead of sticking to a small number, meet even more new ones through a bigger circle, etc. etc.
Plus, in socialization, as you say, more is generally better, so sticking to a small number is just generally not good life strategy.

John Freeman, Transitioned and 3 other users have reacted to this post.
John FreemanTransitionedBeldsnw2022Emily
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Good stuff as well, thanks!

Mind expansion <-> Social expansion.

I was thinking about this yesterday. The people you meet actually share with you their experiences. So you have access to information or experiences that you won't have experienced yourself. The bigger and more diversified your network, the larger your database. That is, from a purely biological/functional point-of-view.

From a philosophical point of view, it opens us up to other people's experiences, making us more open and less judgmental. We understand better the other people, simply said (and ourselves, our dark side, etc.). So we connect better. This makes for a richer life. As travel opens us to other ways of thinking and doing as well.

Plus, in socialization, as you say, more is generally better, so sticking to a small number is just generally not good life strategy.

It's a mistake I might have done if not seen in writing here. The desire for closeness and connection. That shows me that if you lack those family ties, you will look for them outside. That's what the army does and other contexts. So we need these few close connections. From there, we need to expand. So there is confusion that can be made between close and not-close people. I know because I've done it.

This is where the mind/reason is important to come in and sort things out between the emotional needs and the rational ones. It's a big topic that I open here.

The bottom line is: let us be careful that our animal emotional needs (the tribe: I'm good I have my family I feel like I belong that is enough) don't close us to the possibility of the mind (the larger network: I don't know what's out there, I'm happy I have my family but there is more out there).

There is a balancing act as represented in my current situation: loyalty towards my core group vs expanding my social circle. There's a loyalty conflict here. So it shows that this typically the kind of situation where Machiavellianism has its place: how to get more for myself without upsetting anyone and still being authentic. Of course, still with win-win in mind as if you have love for people, you're happy to introduce them to other people.

Emily has reacted to this post.
Emily

Wow, great info John. I especially enjoyed reading your strategies of how to connect and introduce different people while maintaining your calm/not chasing too much. I will see how I can put those into use in the future.

I was like you and got burnt out by toxic people/rejections/cancelling etc. so cut out some people rather abruptly and now I thought that wasn't too wise. We all need close relationships, as you pointed out, but close relationships are costly to build and maintain. We can always keep people in the periphery and expand our social circle strategically. I remember reading somewhere also that the more "loose connections" you have, the more social leverage/influence you have.

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Lucio BuffalmanoJohn FreemanBelleaderoffun

Something that I'm also learning. Basically for people to include you in their lives, there has to be a threshold of positive interactions/value that you exchanged before they consider seeing you in their free time.

That is why this goes to the basics:

Social Exchange Law: make sure that you don't cheat people in social interactions

Being positive: of course you can exchange around what's wrong. However, people are addicted to fun, inspiration and positivity. If you would choose to talk about something you're pissed off about or something you love. What would you choose?

Bringing value: people are attracted to value. Once again, being generally positive, a good listener, non-judging is the basics.

Not being a party pooper: this goes back to Lucio's article

Being a good conversationalist: what do we do together 95% of the time: we talk. So this is key.

Being genuinely interested about other people: remembering details about them. How do you react when a colleague remembers your favourite band, your previous holiday or asks you about your last vacation, your family? Exactly, closer to them.

Being high-power: the kind of charmer high power (George Clooney, Brad Pitt). Not the dominant high power. More like the cool guy who does not let people step on him and is using his resources, knowledge and character for other people.

Cheers!

Lucio Buffalmano and Emily have reacted to this post.
Lucio BuffalmanoEmily

Timing of proposing events to people

I'm finding that proposing events every 2-3 weeks to people works best if you're not best friends and see each other every week-end. I find 3 weeks is optimal for regular friends, 2 weeks for closer friends, 4 weeks to acquaintances. It's a ballpark, not a fixed rules, to adapt to the culture of course.

If you're proposing them events every week, it makes you look like you have no other friends.

It gives time to people to miss you so they value you more, due to the scarcity principle.

However, it's not fake scarcity, it's real scarcity. In the mean time you don't see them, you ask to other people. So after some time you become in demand because when they propose you stuff you say: "I'm sorry I already have something at this moment".

Since I'm proposing things to people less often, I found they contact me more. So it works.

The time in-between is the time you use to grow your social circle with other people.

Lucio Buffalmano, Bel and 2 other users have reacted to this post.
Lucio BuffalmanoBelleaderoffunEmily

Thank you for this update, John.

I also took a note in case of a future section specific for social circles / friendships in PU.

John Freeman and Emily have reacted to this post.
John FreemanEmily
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

a future section specific for social circles / friendships in PU

This sounds really good.

Maybe separating friendship social circles and business social circles would be a good idea. The skills to build both are similar, but the differences are big enough IMO to deserve different treatments.

For example, someone trying to launch a big project inside a bigCo will need to gather support from different groups internally; that's also social circle building. They will need to make friends and (as a cost of doing business) enemies, and he will have to create associations between people with the same interests. This might be beyond the scope of PU since (if I understand it right), it covers interpersonal relationships. Associations to maximize power when we are talking groups of people is out of scope. Is this correct?

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Lucio BuffalmanoJohn FreemanAlex
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