Paper Social Network

13 07 2009

Summer’s here.  Well okay, it’s been here for a while.  But if you live in a college town like me, you know what this means – social life can fall flat, especially if everyone else goes home.  All of the sudden you find yourself back at square one in the meeting new people stage.  Unfortunately, meeting new people is easier said than done.  Sometimes we can get in such a social rut and become so comfortable with a few close friends that when they aren’t around, we don’t know what to do. When this happened to me this summer, I got kind of desparate.  After doing some brainstorming, I got this crazy idea – physically map out my social network.  I thought this would just be a fun experiment, but to my surprise it actually helped me socially.  With this map, I knew exactly who to talk to and where to go to expand my circle of friends.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Take a piece of paper and draw a circle in the middle.  In that circle, write “Me”.
  2. Create more circles with your closest friends (or groups of friends) directly above and below your circle.  Connect with lines.
  3. Create circles farther out for friends you don’t talk to as much, then connect them to your circle.
  4. For friends of friends, draw circles on the outside connected to the person that you know them through.
  5. Review your map and ask yourself some questions:
    1. Who have I not spent time with lately?
    2. Who might have some great friends I could meet?
    3. Who should I develop stronger relationships with?
  6. Finally, make concrete plans to expand your network.

my first social network (yes, I can be a nerd sometimes - I did it on the computer)

It doesn’t matter how large or small your network currently is – this visual approach will help you to see where relationships can be strengthened and where your best sources for new friends are.  Give it a try – let me know how it works for you.