The Social Networker: Tips for Managing Friendships



Written by: Lindsay Daniels / Social Skills / February 5th, 2018

Do you ever feel like your social life is exhausting? Do you find yourself attending certain events out of obligation at times? I can relate!

As a highly extraverted individual, I was guilty of having an over-active social life, filled up with frequent lunch dates, gatherings, concerts, birthday parties, and every imaginable engagement in-between.

While also being committed to a full-time job and personal responsibilities, I would often find myself feeling burnt out.

Because I never wanted to let any of my valued relationships down by cancelling, I would regularly stretch myself too-thinly. I found myself prioritizing social commitments over going to the gym or getting an extra hour of sleep. While this might be okay once in a while, I can testify that it is not a healthy long-term lifestyle.

It’s not realistic to expect yourself to be “on” all the time.

This is where the friendship pyramid comes in. The friendship pyramid is a useful tool that allows you to identify, organize, and assign the appropriate priority level to your friendships. 

The Friendship Pyramid

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While it’s not necessarily healthy to “rank” your friends with a hierarchy, it is important to establish priorities. A friend I met at the gym and sometimes workout with should not receive the same priority level as my best friend of ten years.

What I quickly realized after observing the friendship pyramid was that instead of 1-2 close friends, I was operating with 8-10, and instead of 2-7 bonded friends, I identified 20+.

A restructuring of my friendship pyramid was in order.

The Steps

So how did I do this? 

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By re-identifying who was truly a close friend, who was a bonded friend, and who was more accurately an evolving friendship, I was able to assign appropriate priority levels for each category.

The first change I made was about my reactions and responses in real-time. If one of my closest friends reaches out (Level 6), needing or wanting my attention, I respond immediately, even if I’m on my way to the gym or am getting ready for bed. However, if a friend from Level 4 or 5 reaches out (assuming it's not urgent and that they're safe and okay), I’ve become more comfortable with prioritizing myself first, before investing time.

This might be as simple as finishing my workout, coming home, and taking a shower before calling or texting them back. It seems simple but over time it makes a difference.

It doesn't mean I love my friends any less than I did before, or that I don't want to be generous, but in today's society, in which we are always connected digitally and otherwise, it's important to remember that we're not obligated to be available all the time.

The Result

Our friendships and social time should be enjoyable! The key to maximizing this enjoyment is to organize both our relationships and our time in a way that leaves room for solo activities or alone time, spontaneity, and simply unstructured periods. 

In my case, I feel rested and recharged more of the time and I find myself looking forward to my social engagements to a greater extent than before. 

If you feel you would benefit from some support in approaching and potentially restructuring your social life, our fabulous clinicians at Well Said: Toronto Speech Therapy are equipped and available. 

To connect, you can always send me an email: