*Note: I wrote this a number of years ago for a friends blog. I made some minor edits to this edition.
Since the beginning of mankind, human beings have traveled and settled in groups. Not only is this a primary trait in humans but all in many other mammal species. We will refer to these groups as social circles and view them as a vital link in the backbone of mankind. The human race would not have been able to survive and prosper without the formation of social circles, especially in today’s day and age. We will examine the importance of social circles, the process of creating and/or joining a social circle, how to use social intelligence and social circles in unison, and address any potential problems that may arise within a social circle.
Since childhood, humans are willingly or forcefully pushed into social circles. Family, classmates, teammates, friends, and even friends of friends are all different social circles we as people are identified with. We will be examining social circles from all angles. It is important to note that every social circle will have different norms, relationships, and codes of conduct that are acceptable. Also, your status within the social circle will vary greatly between groups. When creating or entering a new social circle, we will use this knowledge to our advantage to achieve our desired goals.
Social circles have the amazing ability to doors you never even knew existed. They can add value to every aspect of your life, especially in regards to relationships, work and overall happiness. Resulting in friends, connections, and access to special places and treatment, an understanding of social circles can help you accomplish all of this in the quickest and most straightforward fashion. In terms of relationships, over 80% of people will find only date within their social circle (and not necessarily because this was a conscious decision). It is frequent that members within a social circle will date one another and understanding this gives us a massive advantage.
There have been many observations and studies done on mammals and social circles. It can be clearly seen among many species of mammals that they travel in packs for protection and an increased chance of survival. This is the same for humans. Within the majority of these groups, a hierarchy can be found which tends to be lead by the alpha and those beneath him/her. This is an important characteristic to note because human social circles tend to have strict hierarchies (explicit or not). If you are able to befriend the leader of group, the other group members will naturally perceive you as high status because of your association with the leader. The leader or alpha role is not always defined in a social group but in business places and athletics, it is clearly stated. It should always be kept in mind to build rapport with the leader/alpha when possible.
In terms of building relationships whether from a romantic or business perspective, being part of a social circle significantly increases your chances of success. Revisiting the concept of building comfort and gaining rapport as a first step in the process of friendship/trust/attraction, this same concept is directly applicable to being part of a social circle. The comfort and rapport between members of a social circle will already be there in the majority of situations and creates an advantage for those who understand how to use this knowledge to their advantage. This factor alone will make a massive difference in your ability to cultivate the types of relationships you want in life. Taking an even broader viewpoint, it can be seen that social circles are optimal for creating social proof, preselection, and allowing for the perfect environment to bring a new friend/mate/business partner into. When combining your knowledge of social circles with a solid understanding of social intelligence, your ability to increase the number of value adding relationships in your life will naturally.
Now that we have a solid understanding of why a social circle is important and what it can help achieve, we will examine the fundamental building blocks of a social circle: common interest, being social, adding value, and befriend high value people. Each one of these is crucial in the successful creation of a social circle.
Virtually every social circle is based around a common interest between the members within the group. It can be anything from an interest in nightclubs, to taking a finance class, or even playing chess. This aspect alone makes social circles very powerful. It allows for the exchange of ideas and the sharing of information with like minds to allow for the advancement of the group. A perfect example of this is any online forum. This leads us to our next principle of being social.
As many would already guess, being social and meeting as many new people as possible will result in a greater number of positive relationships in your life. Because we are trying to create or join a social circle, it is our job as human beings to be as social as possible. Meeting new people, making their lives better, and introducing people to one another are all value-adding activities related to being social. The more social you are, the more chances you have to add value and the more interested other people will be in meeting you and hoping you will be a part of their lives.
Social circles can exist for a number of reasons and many are formed because they can add value to the members of the group. Revisiting our discussion of social circles and mammals, the creation of social circles increased the mammal chances of surviving. Today, social circles can exist for virtually any reason. If a study group is created, its purpose is to help the group as a whole increase their chances of success. It is important to take note of the type of social circle you are joining and figure out ways to add value. A successful member of a social circle is one who is able to add value to some or all of the group in one way or another. The more value he is able to add to the group, the more the group will want to return to the value adder. This in turn opens doors to other social groups and often opens many paths in life.
Our next concept to explore is the idea of befriending someone without taking any value. This does not mean fake, lead on, or pretend to befriend someone in order to get something later on. People and those around you will be able to sense your true intentions. Genuinely be interested in having someone as your friends regardless of what they can add to your life and the number of value adding relationships in your life will increase exponentially. This concept cannot be stressed enough. If this advice is ignored and you attempt to take value from everyone within a social circle, you are bound to fail. A further discussion of building rapport, preselection, and social proof within a social circle will be discussed in a later section.
Now that we understand the basic principles of social circles, we will discuss how to create, join, or strengthen a social circle. The best way to start the creation of a social circle is to host an event. This event can be anything from hosting a party at a nightclub, to teaching friends how to play a game, to something as simple as a meet up during happy hour. The most important thing is to pick something your genuinely interested in while keeping in mind the type of people you want to attract to your group. I have built a number of social circles built around event hosting, self improvement and now with the goal of building the most engaged online dating website. In terms of event hosting, I first joined another social circle, learned the ropes and then began on my own. I added value in everyway possible to everyone I could. I soon recruited others to help me and our group became a success. Our team was so successful because it was a group of people passionate and dedicated to achieving a common goal. Each person would continue adding to their own social circle in turn expanding the social circle of the other members of the group. This was an ideal situation and something I suggest to every one.
Instead of creating a social circle from scratch, you may be interested in joining another one. Your reasons for wanting to join a new social circle could be anything from the people involed, to business connections, to people who play the same sport. The best way to enter a new social circle, which is also the best way to meet anyone new, is by a warm introduction from a friend who is already part of the social circle. People will naturally perceive new comers introduced to them by friends in a positive light. This is a very powerful social tool.
Alex is friends with Whitney but doesn’t know John.
Whitney is friends with John.
Alex invites Whitney out who brings John along.
When Whitney introduces John to Alex, it is highly probable that Alex will view John in a positive light and John’s chances of being accepted within Alex’s social circle will improve massively.
This principle holds true in many instances even if you don’t have a friend currently in the social circle you’re interested in joining. If no warm introduction is available, it is best to first observe and determine how you can add value. The more value you add, the easier it will be to gain an “invite” into the social circle. Almost everyone has been in the bar at one point in their life and seen a group they are interested in meeting. Some will never make any attempt to meet them, some will open the group directly and be forced out, and the socially intelligent will build up a presence in the room, create some social proof, build preselection, exhibit other attractive qualities and then make an attempt at joining the group (but even this doesn’t always work). If this is the case, how can someone even get a chance at joining a group? While the other methods may work in only the luckiest of times, we are trying to create a way to be successful every time. The person who spent his time going around the room building social proof was actually headed in the right direction. The only possible room for error was in the way he initiated conversation with the group. This is where the idea of high-level social intelligence comes into play.
High-level social intelligence can best be described as studying your surrounding and using them to your advantage. Think of Bruce Lee and Jeet Kune Do. Be adaptive and flow like water. With this said, the person who takes the time to observe a group, work his way around a room, be a social guy and build up his social proof will have the highest chance of success. To improve our chances even further, wait for just the right moment to strike. You are waiting until the group temporarily breaks and some of its members branch off. Proceed to initiate conversation with the members who have left the group. (Some people will argue that the group never moves but everyone has to use the bathroom at some point). Going back to our principle of befriending people without taking value, we do this because we want to gain access to their entire social circle. Failure to befriend everyone leaves massive room for error. After you have built enough comfort with those who have temporarily left the group, you can either go with your new friends to rejoin their social circle or return to your activity and then reopen your new friends when they have returned to their social circle. (If no invitation is giving to join immediately, just reopen once they’ve returned). Upon entering the social circle via your new friends, the natural proceeding is a warm introduction to each and every member of the group. You have now accomplished your goal of receiving a warm introduce and your odds of success have drastically improved.
Joining new social circles can be a great thing but is not always necessary to achieve a desired goal. Temporarily joining a social circle through some of the previously discussed method can be just enough to get the job done. You can be creative in your thinking and temporarily join a social circle to create social proof, befriend people within the group, or get closer to whatever your goal may be. People will rarely be able to tell who you know and who you don’t know from just observing you with a group. In fact, most people will automatically assume that you know everyone in the group and are a part of it. If you see a group you are interested in, you may simply open a group (temporarily join) to create the effect of social proof to increase your perceived value in that social setting before opening the set that your interested in. Everything returns to the principle of examining the social setting and determining the best way to get closer to your target.
Now that you are able to create your own social circle, enter new ones permanently and temporarily; we will examine how to use them to our advantage. We will cover using a social circle for social proof and preselection, how to add to our social circle, and how to use a social circle to improve our lives.
One of the best advantages of being part of a social circle is the social proof you will already have without having to create it. When you walk into a venue where you already know half of the people you have what is know as social proof (Please refer to Robert Cialdini’s ‘Influence’). Social proof is one of the most attractive qualities a person can have and is so strong that it alone can help you achieve your goals (Why do you think famous people are so sought after other than their skill as a performer?). Having social proof is evidence to others that you are liked and this will be very attractive to on lookers. To understand even further, preselection is being seen and accepted by members of the opposite sex. When a man is seen with a woman, whether he knows them well or not, everyone else will subconsciously conclude that because the girls have already accepted him, there must be something about him.
If all of this is done properly, you will find yourself with new friends than you know what to do with. People will come and go from your social circles. Some will stay forever and some will only stay for a week. The goal is to be so entrenched in a social circle that it is actually your circle of friends. It all goes back to the principle of abundance.
In conclusion, social circles always were and will always be the most efficient way to receive value in life. With your new knowledge, it is now easier than ever to achieve your dreams.