How to do a friend

February 2, 2006

I left out the last word of the title just to get your attention: How to do a friend map.

1. Make a numbered list of people who are important to you now.

2. In the list, write down their relationship to you (brother, co-worker, friend, etc), their ages, and how far away they are. Can you meet them for a coffee in the morning? Or do you need a day trip or an overnight to visit? Or are they abroad?

3. Now, draw a circle with four concentric rings around it.

4. Write the numbers representing people onto the rings in order of their importance to you. You are in the centre ring, literally the “inner circle,” so the people closest to you go there and fan out to the outermost rings. You may want to use a pencil in case you need to revise.

5. You can add rings if you must but most people are fine with four.

6. When placing people on the rings, be sure you’re not idealizing. If you put your brother in the centre but only because you feel you must, move him.

7. Check: Have you left anyone out from your school days? College? First job? Just because you don’t see people often doesn’t mean they’re not important to you.

8. Now, look at each person on your map. Are they exactly where they should be?

This is stolen from an article found in Saturday’s Globe and Mail: How to do a friend map by Tralee Pearce.

It’s talking about a new book that was published, called The Philosophy of Friendship by British author Mark Vernon. It’s talking about the importance of friends in this infinitely-connected world thanks to websites like Friendster, MySpace and Hi5. How do we value our friendships, and are our friendships becoming more important that marriage? A lot of friends turn towards friends for help, for support during the bad times of life, and marriage troubles. It’s a very interesting article, nevertheless, and I don’t want to add much comment to it right now.

I haven’t actually tried creating this friend map, but it seems like something to try when you have some free-time. It certainly would be interesting to see how people are connected to the friends they list on Myspace and how they would fall on their friend maps. I don’t have nearly enough friends for this to be useful, but anyone with a lot of friends should try and see how things shake out with their Myspace friends and friends in general.

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