When I shared the Virtual Handshake Method, I mentioned that the strength of a network of relationships is a combination of both the quantity of relationships and the quality of those relationships.
While people’s limits vary (with Connectors having a strong edge and affinity here), we’re all aware that we can have only a certain number of strong relationships before the addition of another person diminishes our ability to stay as strongly connected with people in that set of strong relationships. At the same time, we can be weakly connected with exponentially more people in the outer set of acquaintances, neighbors, and other people we know but don’t consider to be close friends.
Developing Strong Relationships Takes Time
What the Virtual Handshake Method underplayed is that there’s also a threshold beyond which a large number of weak-tie relationships undermines our ability to maintain our strong-tie relationships. Though the time-per-relationship ratio is much lower when it comes to weak-tie relationships, they still add up. And what’s more important than the time-per-relationship aspect is that complex webs of relationships require considerably more mental resources to keep up with.
As nice as having a lot of weak-tie relationships might feel from a vanity level, it’s the strong-tie relationships that matter the most. True friends help us flourish.
30 Days to Be a Better Friend
Do you want to strengthen your bond with people you already know? Pick 15 people you already have a medium-to-strong relationship with and 15 people you have a weak relationship with, and for each one, ask what you can do to strengthen that relationship. Thirty people, 30 days, for 30 minutes (or less) of your time.
Might it be time to schedule a real-time call or a meat-meet with one of your online pals?
Would one of your friends or near-friends appreciate a gift or a card?
Would finally hanging that picture on the wall make your partner or family member happy?
All of this to paraphrase Crosby, Stills, and Nash: love the ones you’re with.