Lose touch with people

One of the many great things Brené Brown has given the world is the concept of a square squad. Here’s what you do:

  1. Cut a 1 inch by 1 inch square out of paper
  2. On that square, write the names of the people who really matter to you

You can only fit a few names on that tiny square, and that’s the point. These are the people you trust and love and can be fully authentic with. That’s your square squad, and your life will be worse if you don’t keep in touch with those people.

One of the worst things about social media (Facebook especially) is that it makes it hard to lose touch with the people who don’t really matter to you. The square squad is meaningless because everyone stays in touch with everyone for years and years.

In the olden days, you’d make temporary friends through school or work, and eventually they’d fade away. You wouldn’t still be commenting on each other’s posts 10 years after you stopped working together.

David Heinemeier Hansson has a great post about this:

What allowed me to change and prosper was the freedom to grow apart and lose touch with people. It’s hard to change yourself if you’re stuck in the same social orbit. There’s a gravitational force that pulls you into repeating the same circular pattern over and over again. Breaking out of that takes tremendous force.

[…] But Facebook changed that. It stunted this natural, gentle process of growing apart and losing touch. Now the default is to stay connected with everyone you’ve ever friended forever. And to break that connection, you have to actively sever it. Something most people don’t like doing, and don’t like having done to them, so it generally doesn’t happen.

Losing touch with people who aren’t on your square squad is healthy. It allows you to evolve. That used to be the default, and now it’s not. Now the default is to stay connected for decades. I don’t like that. That’s why I deny almost every FB friend request, and I don’t follow anyone on Twitter.

It doesn’t mean I don’t like you, it just means you’re not on my square squad and I’m probably not on yours either.

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