Sunday, 19 May 2013

And now for something completely different...

"If you shut up, listen, and watch long enough, your mouth will know what to say when it's time to speak."

Whenever I decide to read a sociology/human behavior book, or spend a lot of time around a group of people, my brain kicks into overdrive. I get excited. I truly believe that the reason I became a personal trainer is because I didn't have the patience to get my Ph.D in Psychology... And i <3 muscles. 

Thankfully, I get the best of both worlds, as my job affords me the to opportunity to meet an extravagant number of people that I'd never have the pleasure, and in some cases privilege, of coming across if I wasn't involved in the fitness industry.

When I get to spend time with people, especially my friends, I regret that there are only 24 hours in a day, and only 7 days in a week. And that some people hate being interrogated. If I could devote my life to being a professional "people meeter" (what?), I'd do that for a living in a second. In an industry that's so often chastised and rebuked for being socially insular and having a self-seeking attitude, there is actually an abundance of people who genuinely care and want to listen instead of talk. Ironically, THOSE people are often the one's with the most insight and perspective to impart. Those are the people I want to sit down with. For the record: I'm not claiming to be one of those interestING people; I'm claiming to be one of the interesTED people. Just clarifying.

Now, with that positive "A stranger is a friend you haven't met" speech out of the way, I want to share something interesting I read. 'Dunbar's Number': "A suggested cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships. These are relationships in which an individual knows who each person is, and how each person relates to every other person." In layman's terms, we have a limited number of space in our lives for people. That number is 150. "Dunbar has argued that 150 would be the mean group size only for communities with a very high incentive to remain together. For a group of this size to remain cohesive, Dunbar speculated that as much as 42% of the group's time would have to be devoted to social grooming." In layman's terms, if you want to stay close to those 150 people, almost half your time has to be devoted to staying in touch with those people. What?! Who has that kind of time?!

Whoa. Heavy, right? You can be friends with 150 people at any given time. 150 people may sound like a lot, but check out your Facebook friends list. Check out how many people you follow on Twitter/Instagram. Check out your family tree. Check out your text message history. Relatively speaking, it doesn't seem like a lot anymore, does it? It's said that we make a first impression within the first 3 to 30 seconds. You have half a minute to decide if someone's going to wriggle into your 150. I had an awesome talk with a close friend about the use of the words "friend", "best friend", "acquaintance", etc. He said, "We overuse the word BEST. Best is a superlative. There can only be one "best", that's the point of making it the BEST! Count how many people you ACTUALLY see regularly on purpose. Count how many people you purposely go out of your way to make time for. Count how many people whose friendship you'd fight for." Now YOU think about it... Think about how many "BEST" friends you have... Think about my friend's idea... Maybe you've just freed up a little space in your 150...? Or maybe you didn't! Maybe you still have 5 best friends. I think I do. And they range from people I've known for 20 years, to people who may have just come into my life.

I'm not trying to break up friendships here, or make you reevaluate your priorities - G-d forbid. If anything, maybe you'll value the last 5 or 10 people you texted a little bit more, because those 5 are 5 out of only 150 in your important social network. All I'm saying is cherish the people who cherish you. Spend more time (in person, if you can) with the ones who make you feel important (because you are, and you deserve to hear it from them!), who spend more time listening than talking (because you're interesting!), who are genuine, who would go out of their way for you, and who would fight for your friendship (because it's worth it!).

You only have 150 attachments at your disposal.
Make every one count.

And just because this is a contest prep blog...
Requisite abs shot
May 16 2013

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