When it comes to relationships, many times reality is that we are friends with this person, that person and another person; but none of them are friends with each other. Our relational grid looks very linear. Consider a few of the many problems with this sort of relational set up:
- There’s little accountability. It’s not too hard to hide things from singular people that are spread out. It’s also not hard to act differently around different types of people. But, it’s hard to do both inside of a community.
- There’s no shared place. You won’t share a common place if none of your friends knows each other. They simply won’t be motivated to live in proximity of one another.
- There’s no shared purpose. Without a purpose bigger than our individual lives, we’ll just continue to live individualistic lifestyles.
- Time is fragmented. Because your relationships are linear, your time is split up between them; causing this resource to be spread very thin.
- The best you can do is maintain. Because your time is spread so thin, you can’t grow in relationships, you can only maintain the relationship level that is possible with the limited time you have to give to each.
Instead, our relationships should be circular; providing the context through which healthy community can develop and grow (and not simply be maintained).
Of course, in order to do this you must concentrate your relational efforts on people that can and will also be committed to each other. Practically speaking, this requires a geographic space (like a neighborhood, college dormitory, etc.) that can make this possible, because a circle of friends only works if they live life together in close proximity.