Monday, June 27, 2016

The "Friends Matrix" - perhaps this is how I engage with people

I've had reason and opportunity recently to reflect on the sorts of people I would like to engage with. It's an old story now about how introverts do not have a bottomless pool of emotional energy and need to make clearheaded decisions about where they spend it.

That statement is common sense to some people and entirely foreign to others. However one thing I learned is that the greatest gift I can give the people around me is for me to understand myself first before I try to understand them.

I have a working hypothesis of how my brain works over this. The "friends matrix" is the best model I can think of. On the vertical axis there is simply how much I like you. You might be a rock star, you may be a student or a member of the family but I have the choice as to whether or not I really like you.

Horizontal axis is about your willingness, but importantly also your ability to engage with me. Sure it's self-centered to think about how well you can engage with me but this is of course a model about all about how I see the world. Here is where the introvert/extrovert divide becomes apparent again.

If you are invading my personal space, offering advice that I didn't ask for, forcing your opinions on me, smothering me with hospitality or not respecting my freedom in other ways then you are probably low on this scale - by accident. Some people just don't give a crap about me, and that's fine too.

Overly simplistic I know but this gives me four types of people in my life. I have the true friend, of which my sister is one, and the superstar that I can only but admire from a distance. The rest - well you just have to work out for yourself, if you bother to. But I'll probably be engaging with you in a manner consistent with where you sit on this grid of mine.

1 comment:

  1. I really like this model. It makes a lot of sense and its not just applicable to introverts, it applies to us extroverts too. Probably the main difference is how the horizontal axis actually works, the workings of the relationship in extroverts compared with introverts, but at the end of the day, it's the same result.

    The effect that the numbers in each quadrant have on me is different as an extrovert, as I thrive with a greater number in the true friend quadrant than an introvert would.

    I am finding that these days I have a much lower amount of people in the true friend quadrant, which is a pretty big disappointment and likely explains my tendency for deeper grief in the last couple of years.

    It has taken me a long time and a big change in the way we rate each other on our vertical axis to be in each others true friend quadrant. Now we are there, I like it. A lot.