Christmas Cournt Down - Day 16
The Sixteenth Day of Christmas - Celebrating FriendshipWe can't choose our relatives but we can choose our friends. Sometimes it feels like we have too many and at others it feels like we are friendless. This can be particularly so at Christmas. Some of us may be invited to so many events we have a difficult time choosing which invitations to accept and worry about offending a mate if we choose to accept another offer. Others may feel be feeling alone and uncared for because they have not been invited to certain parties or events. Too nanny or too little social engagement is one of the stressors of the festive season.
In the 1980’s, Robin Dunbar ,the University of Oxford anthropologist and psychologist (then at University College London) determined that judging from the size of an average human brain, the number of people the average person could have in her social group was a hundred and fifty. He further divided this number into a series of subgroups. The largest number of a hundred and fifty, is the number of people we call casual friends—people you might see irregularly or invite to large gathering. The next layer down consists of about 50 people, whom we refer to as close friends— people you see often, but not so much that you consider them to be true intimates. Then there’s the circle of fifteen, people you see regularly and turn to for support and sympathy when you need it, the ones you can confide in about most things. The most intimate group, consisting of about five people, and are you r closest support group – your besties and are often family members. Dunbar found that while the group sizes are relatively stable in size, their composition can be quite fluid with members from one group shifting up or down the layers.
So whether you are spending time alone this Christmas or rocking the night away at a Christmas Eve party, I encourage you to think outside the box when determining who is in or out of your friendship circle. I am going to draw up a friendship map in my Journal. I don't think I have anywhere near 150 people I could call casual friends and my sub- groups are correspondingly smaller too. I am quite a closed person so probably inadvertently lock people out. Perhaps something to reflect on for a New year's resolution. How would you compare your friendship may with Dunbar's model?
Journal Prompts - Recognise Your Besetie
- Ask yourself: who is the one person your could not have lived without this past year? Journal about everything they meant to you, when they were there for you, what they helped you with, what things you couldn't have achieved without them, and what qualities they possess that made them so invaluable to you this year? Are there qualities or character traits they have that you wish you could grow within yourself? What great qualities do the tow of you share? What gift did you give them for Christmas?
- Who were you an absolute BBF hero to this year? What kind of things did you do to make a difference in their lives in 2017 - now is not the time to be humble, list them all (big and small)? What qualities or characteristics in yourself enabled you to be a best friend to someone this year - and how can you use those qualities to take better car of yourself in 2018? You deserve it too, you know.
- Friends are not always people. Sometimes the relationship we have with our pet is more significant than any other. Explore the strengths and limitations of having a bestie who is not human.
- Frenemy - one who pretends to be a friend but is actually an enemy or rival. Frenemies are often supportive and complimentary, sometimes to excess. But deep down they harbor a ulterior motive – to compete with or humiliate their “friend.” Have you been battling a war of wills with a frenemy in 2017? (Michael Nichols has written an interesting article about the Classic Signs of a Frenemy). Write a letter to this person and tell them how it has impacted on your life and how you feel about how they have treated you. You might like to give them advice on how you would like your relationship to be like in 2018. When you have finished the letter burn it or rip it up. Alternatively leave it in your journal and read it at the end of 2018 and note any changes that have occurred since you wrote it.
Unsent LettersUnsent Letters is a powerful journaling tool especially if you are wanting to gain closure, clarity, confidence and/or calm. Putting your thoughts and feeling down on paper can help you gain a better understanding of an event or particular situation.