Keep your circle small and your beer cold.
I don’t know when I first came across this sentence. It has been somewhere in my conscience for as long as I can remember. However, I call bullshit. Especially after the last half-decade or so.
I was a firm believer of keeping my circle small to the point that I deliberately cut ties with people as I progressed through the years. It’s almost funny how I have always remained egotistical enough to outgrow people and groups.
I’d be scrolling through social media and I’d stumble upon a recent photo of a group I was once a part of and it would bug me to see that the only person who didn’t remain was me. Everyone else was somehow together. A minute later, I’d shrug it off by taking a ride on my high horse.
For years, this cliché that most people accept so beautifully fueled my inability to interact with people and in an effort to keep my circle small and tight, I kept losing friends and people. Until I outgrew that belief itself and I allowed for people to come into my life and stay there for a while. That is when things started getting better.
Maybe it was my following Naruto religiously that brought about that change. Leaving people behind is something I really struggle with even though I am the first to proclaim selfishness over toxicity. Especially when it comes to relationships. That proclamation is, in some convoluted way, me trying to say the right thing. There is a difference between a large circle and a toxic one. While they might intersect, you can quite easily sift the trash from those who add value.
Social media is a beautiful tool when used correctly. You don’t have to exchange messages constantly. All you need to do is be available enough so that you can have a bite-sized conversation with a person you met back in 10th grade in some tuition class. Maybe they appreciate your work and maybe you appreciate their’s and somehow between that, you talk for some time. You end the conversation when you’re done and there’s that. Simple communication.
I am in touch with some people from school. That includes people from my batch, from those preceding mine and those after mine. I am still in touch with some people from my short time at architecture school. I met countless people in the last three years of university. Those are just people I met through my education. There are countless others. Friends of friends. People I met through blogging. People I just met somewhere. Each person has something to teach me and that is a maxim I truly believe in now.
In the last five years or so, I’ve strengthened some friendships, made countless new friends and acquaintances and sometimes, chains of friends. I confided or hung out with people I never thought I will be able to tolerate. I shared parts of myself with them in both moments and conversations. In doing all of that, I grew up. I’m twenty-one years old as of today and well, this version is a thousand times better than any that ever existed.
It is obvious not each of those relationships is here to stay. It is also obvious that some relationships and bonds are more important than others. Prioritization is important and yes, in life you tend to lose people when you look the other way for a while. However, make sure you’re honest enough in it while it lasts. Be honest in all interactions and you’ll slowly realise why we’re called social animals. People don’t need you as much as you need them.
My circle is ever-growing for I am ever-growing. As long as I can learn and experience, I’ll need more people around myself. In that sense, keeping my circle smaller is hindering my own growth. How did that work out for anyone ever?