How many people do you have around you? I don’t mean your 5K Twitter followers and I don’t mean all the friends of friends of friends that you’re connected with via Facebook. What I do mean is people who you know personally and with whom you have contact in real life.
Most people have a circle around them of 100 to 200 people, sometimes a bit more, sometimes a bit less. It all depends if you have a big or a small family and how active and outgoing you are.
Then, from your circle of let’s say 200, who are the ones who are important enough to you to be a part of your life?
Wait a minute… what exactly does that mean, being a part of someone’ s life?
The meeting room
Is it enough to just know someone to say they are a part of your life? Of course not! You probably have a lot of acquaintances but you can hardly say that they are a part of your life. What they do or don’t do probably doesn’t change anything for you (also see ‘The H and C factor of relationships’).
How about your neighbours? Are they a part of your life? If you only say “Good morning”, “Good afternoon” or “Good evening” whenever you meet them by chance, you can’t say they are a part of your life. Maybe that changes when they are very noisy or you often get disturbed by their dog or something else they do. Then you often go and ring their doorbell to ask them to be a bit quieter. Maybe it changes when they are very curious and they want to know everything about you, what you are doing, who you are meeting and what you are up to…
And how about your colleagues, who you see every day? You need to work together as a team. But then a project is finished or the department is being reorganised and now you work together with other people. Can you consider them to be a part of your life?
What about good friends with whom you were once very close but who are now living far away from where you live. From time to time you get together and then it feels just as before. You still have this special connection with them but from the day after you hung out, it will be months before you see them again.
I would say that the people who are a part of your life are those who take up a lot of your time and mental resources, as well as people you have strong feelings for, positive or negative. When you have strong feelings for someone (deep friendship, love, hate,…), you tend to think or daydream about them a lot, using your mental resources which takes up a lot of your time. That is what makes them important to you.
The VIP room
But then, there are also people, who are a part of your life, but you don’t really think a lot about them because you have this very strong connection with them and you get along so naturally and effortless. These are the people in your VIP room, the happy few.
So, how many people are your VIPs? Your significant other should be in your VIP room for sure! Then, there can be your parents, kids, siblings or other relatives and very close friends. There can even be your neighbours and some of your colleagues.
It’s not only this strong effortless connection that makes them different from other people who are also a part of your life. Would you feel a huge loss if they’re not there anymore? If you don’t have any contact with them anymore? I guess you would! That’s what makes the difference.
Then, whose VIP room are you in? In general you should be in the VIP room of those people who are in your VIP room and the other way around. Otherwise your relationship goes only one way and that is a major source of unhappiness!
Another source of unhappiness is because the connection is so natural and effortless, instead of being grateful, especially to those who love us and who are always supporting us, we tend to take them for granted. This is a big, big NO NO. No relationship is unconditional! I will repeat because this is important: NO RELATIONSHIP IS UNCONDITIONAL!
So, what do you have to offer so you are important to them? What do you bring to the table, in terms of love, friendship, help, validation, fun and other positive emotions? Think a few minutes about this… No relationship is unconditional. It must be a WIN-WIN situation for both!