Community is doing life together.
A long time ago, I heard this explanation of relationships and it has stuck with me as an important way to evaluate the relationships in my life. Navigating relationships is one of the most difficult things to do. If you were to step back and look at all the people in your life you would see three clear groups of people.
Think of these three groups as concentric circles and you are in the center. In the first circle closest to you are the people in your realm of influence. These are the people who are closest to you. They know you and you know them better than anyone. This group is usually made up of a small number of people. It is filled with family and friends who feel like family. You love these people deeply and they love you just as much. These people have the most influence in your life and they would say the same about you. You should be very careful who you allow in this circle because at the end of the day you become who you spend the most time with.
The next group of people in these concentric circles is your friends. These are the people who know you but don’t know everything about you. You spend time with them but not all the time. You care about them and they care about you. When you see these people, you give them a hug and you spend a few minutes catching up. You love these people and care about them. You hope the feeling is mutual. This could be a large group of people.
The last circle is acquaintances. This group of people you have met, talked with, and maybe even shared a fun experience together, but you really don’t know anything about them. If you see them out and about you might say hi and keep moving. You might even avoid these people because you recognize their face but you can’t remember their name. You care that these people exist but maybe not enough to spend much time with them.
We all have people in each of these circles. As you step back and evaluate the people in your life, you will easily be able to see which circle they are in. The one I really want you to evaluate is the first circle. I believe it’s the most important circle. These people have to most influence on your life. Who are the most influential people in your life and how did they get there? The answer to this question will help you decide what is important to you and help you add or subtract people from this circle. If the only people standing in that circle are there because they are related to you, it’s time to step out. If you have very few people in that first circle it is time to find a community of people who can love and care for you. You need people in your life. Don’t do life alone!