Is it just me? I’m missing my casual friends, I really am.
The man walking the dog that I bump into at different points whilst walking on a Sunday, the regulars in the coffee shop each morning, the cheery team to say hello to at Runcorn station. I am even considering Chris Evans and the Breakfast Show as friends during my commute. The bustle, energy and great service at lunchtime in the many Pret’s I frequent. The friends of friends I say hello to, the former colleagues and clients and the relationships with so many of the talented people I've coached. Casual maybe, but so much more.
I referred to this briefly in my article last week when I wrote about this being the time to grow and leverage diverse networks and to collaborate together for change. Do please take a read
It was then I found that my casual friends had a name. Maybe not as complimentary as I’d like but there’s a name for them. They’re ‘weak ties’ and in what used to be a 'normal' working day, apparently people interacted with between 11 and 16 weak ties on the way to work, while running errands, or on a break between meetings at the office.
Over the last 11 weeks or so of lockdown, mostly all of my social interactions have been with my close, high trust relationships, the family and friends in my inner circle. My ‘strong ties’ as they are known.
Reading this article from Harvard Business Review was a revelation, a much needed answer.
The good news? It’s not just me! It’s a real phenomenon, these ‘weak-tie’ relationships give me the ‘short informal interactions, the new information and social variety’ I have been missing. That’s why I’ve missed my casual friends.
And now, I know if it’s going to improve my mood and spread joy, then I’m going to be reaching out, more informally, spontaneously and staying connected with my much needed casual friends.
Just letting you know and if it’s the same for you, take a moment to think. Who will you be connecting with?