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Friendship: Social Nature & Needs

By Andrew Burgon / phoenix@projectfellowship.com
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October 23, 2013

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What do you want out of your social life?


 
Image credit: andresr / 123RF Stock Photo
 

Knowing yourself and taking action to ensure your social needs are met and your nature is expressed is the surest path to fulfillment and contentment in life.

One of the most important things Project Fellowship taught me was what my social identity, nature and needs were and how that compared with other people. When it comes to people desiring friendship and being social there is a hierarchy. To put it simply, at the top we have people I call Angelics who strongly desire friendship with others and at the bottom we have Hermits who don’t particularly feel the need for friendship at all.

Heed and Respect Your Social Nature and Needs

One of the tenants of Project Fellowship is heed and respect your social nature and needs. Concerning these things I had a vague idea before Project Fellowship but on the whole I was pretty clueless. The intensive social experiences I had helped me take off my rose-colored glasses and see that the world for the most part was running on friendship lite software. That did explain a lot. That knowledge did make a difference. I realized though that while the world may be running on that, I definitely wasn’t.

My levels of initiative, warmth, hospitality and interest that I showed other people was not only comparably off the charts but would have been long term had many of them not been so passive. So I came to know what my identity and nature were.

In the beginning I made a huge shift in my life socially and made a wholehearted effort in the pursuit of good friends. I allowed my social nature to fully express itself. As for needs, I discovered that I needed three good friends that I can meet up with now and then. Throw in a group of at least a dozen people that I ‘belong’ to and I truly thrive. I remember achieving this a while back and inside me I had this odd feeling of moving scales that balanced inside of me then locked into place with a thud. It felt really good and comforting.

How do you go about knowing what your social identity, nature and needs are if you haven’t fully grasped it already? Well, a good amount of social experience, introspection and dwelling on the subject of friendship is how I discovered it. Also, keep pursuing friendships till you are happy and content. Then analyze your circle of friends and make a mental note of what it took for that to happen.

Strange to say but continual loneliness and light depression should be considered as a friendly cue to take positive action to thrust yourself into the friendship sweet spot of life. Think of that sweet spot as the inner circle that you’re headed for. You’ll know when you’re there and finding it will tell you a lot about yourself. Feeling as though you don’t fit in and don’t belong is another indicator that should prompt you to set sail and head for that inner circle.

Some people get frustrated about their friendships and it’s often to do with the fact that their friends reciprocate poorly or not at all. They throw in the towel and socialize a lot less. If they have a high social nature though it is a thorn in their side the discomfort of which lingers for a long time. A vacuum is created in their life and nothing can fill that void but friendships alone. If you don’t express your nature and fulfill your needs it can cause you pain. Heed that flashing red exclamation sign! If that’s you then I encourage you to get out there and pursue the kind of friendships you truly desire.
 
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