Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Building a Solid Inner Circle

I used to believe that certain people just had a "right" to be in my inner circle. Like, the fact that I've known them for 20 years, or the fact that they were my parents, or my siblings, or grandparents (and the list goes on). But over time I realized that family means so much more than just sharing a last name or the same DNA. And just because you've known someone forever doesn't mean they are healthy. It was probably in my late twenties I realized I have a choice on the matter. I decide who I want in my inner circle, and here are my guidelines for that position:

1. Can I share my dreams with you?

2. Can I share my victories and my failures with you?

3. Do you work as hard at being healthy as I do?

4. Do we share similar basic core values?

5. Do you have depth to you or do you live at the surface?

6. Are you trustworthy?

7. Can we run together or is one of us always running ahead of the other one?

8. Do you believe the best about me, even when everyone else doesn't?

9. Do you have permission to change my mind, and do I have permission to change yours?

10. Would you fly across the country tomorrow to help me if I needed it?

Sometimes you may only find one other person that really qualifies for that inner circle position. I can't imagine having more than 10 that would. This is an elite group of special people in your life. This is your core group. You can trust them with your life, and they can trust you with theirs. And every once in a while, your inner circle group may change. For example, the inner circle you build during your college years may need to be updated in your 30's. Sometimes there is a natural separation that happens due to life circumstances. And sometimes people start out safe, and then just drop the ball later on - it's sad, but it happens.

The most important thing to remember in building a solid inner circle is no one has an automatic right to be there, it is a position earned by someone who can carry your heart well. The choice is yours, choose wisely!


  1. Great post! Couldn't have said it better myself:D

  2. You should write a book on this expounding on each number. This article is great and can help end cycles of codependency. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Oooo great idea Lacey. There's a full outline right there just waiting for me to expound on! :-)

  4. Go for it Nicole!! I just email three of your articles to a friend!!

  5. Thanks Sarah, you are a faithful reader!

  6. Awesome wise words Nicole!

  7. i think number 10 really stood out to me. you always know those who are the closest because of their reaction when all hell breaks loose. walking through a nightmare right now with dear friends of mine i keep being reminded of the verse, "a brother is born for adversity." when adversity comes, those who stand and fight with you and for you are family.

    my recent post: a surprise waiting in the wilderness

  8. You're right! There's a girl I've "known" since kindergarten, but I never could really trust her to be there for me. She'd be my friend if she had an interest in me at that moment, or if there was some benefit to her. But, if someone else came along, I was very easily snubbed or dropped. I had felt like I had an obligation to continue being her friend, as we've known each other a long time. But, recently I was honest with her about some things, and she cut off contact. I felt guilty, yet also somewhat relieved. Anyway, thx for sharing your thoughts :)


  9. This is brilliant! I am 22 and it took me almost all of my life to learn this. I would treat everyone in my life almost in the same manner. But then I realized I was just being dishonest with myself. Now I have chosen the people I want in my 'core' group. Some bits of me are exclusive to them alone. And you are very right about the natural separation part, too. <3 from India.