“It’s tidy up time” I say to my daughters. One of whom looks at me with incredulity and goes back to what she’s doing and the other one grabs a cloth and starts ‘helping’ me. We all have to periodically tidy up. I have spent the past week decluttering my house. It was a bit of a bigger project than I anticipated as taking the first step set off a chain reaction of other steps!
Anyway, it got me thinking as I recycled and got rid of things I no longer need. This decluttering process isn’t only useful at home. I do this in my tribe too. It sounds a little bit harsh as I write it down but there is a method in my madness.
Where to start?
I start with social media, going through Facebook groups and reviewing whether they are
- Still relevant to me and my interests
- Somewhere I can add value
If the answer to either of those questions is no then I leave the group. The same is true for accounts that I follow across the different platforms available. Finally, I go through my tribe – personal and professional. Here I have a few more criteria:
- Are we still in contact?
- If so, when did we last speak?
- Is the relationship balanced?
- Is it supportive?
- What is the relationship based on?
Quality not quantity
Why is it important? Why not just befriend everyone I meet? Well, because, for me, trying to keep up with everyone is impossible. If I don’t then I feel guilty and this can cause an overwhelming feeling for me. I am a big believer in the saying:
Friends for a reason, friends for a season and friends for life – Anon
I have certainly found this in my own career and personal life. Especially as someone who makes lots of friends I have found it impossible to stay friends with everyone. As I have moved about for jobs, university etc. there are some special ones who have stayed with me throughout but others have fallen away. That’s not to say that the friendships have ended badly, it’s just that life has happened to both/all of us.
As I was chatting with one of my friends about this topic she reminded me that we need to mindful of the energies which pass between people. If you feel that a friendship/relationship has or is turning toxic then it’s time to walk away.
It’s all about connection
My friend and I often joke that we never finish a sentence, let alone a conversation. We see each other almost daily but it’s broken by constant interruption. I find it slightly easier with my two besties as they live far away so we communicate through the magic of modern technology via instant message apps. But so often life again happens and a conversation has to wait.
What if instead of trying to talk regularly you set aside time to truly catch up and connect. To listen deeply to the other person and really hear what they have to say. Wouldn’t that be better for everyone concerned? That’s not to say we can’t have interrupted conversations at the park but that we don’t try and have meaningful conversations in those moments.
When I do my coaching sessions I have two really important rules:
- No kids
- A place that is not full of interruption (and ideally quiet)
This is so that I and the client can connect so that she or he can know I am listening and taking them seriously. I may be part of their tribe for a reason, sometimes that turns into a season but it is rarely a lifetime.
It is the same principle for any other relationship we have…so I ask you these questions:
- Where in your life do you need to declutter?
- Who would you like to reconnect with?
- How healthy is your tribe?