What do I want from a social practice? I want to broaden and deepen my circle of acquaintance. Yet, we are all limited in the scope of our acquaintance. I don’t really like to admit that to myself, but it’s true.
So let’s look at the first aim: to broaden my acquaintance. In the course of our lives, we will meet people who fall across our path. Some will be interesting, some less so. We can learn from all of them, but occasionally one will particularly attract our attention, or draw us in. The conversation will be particularly interesting in terms of content and level of trust and vulnerability. We want to pursue these people. Write them into a list. Keep track of the times we contact them. Make notes of our conversation.
And we want to deepen our relationships. What does this entail? Well a deep relationship is based on trust and vulnerability. It can’t be deep otherwise.
To build trust we have to be trustworthy. We can’t betray a trust by telling tales out of school. Moreover it requires being reliable, by doing what we say we’re going to do, and accomplishing the task in a timely manner.
A person has to feel safe before they will be willing to make themselves vulnerable. I think trust comes before vulnerability. We have to have already built trust before a person in going to bare their soul to us.
I think a person is more likely to be vulnerable with a listener than they are a talker. We want to know we are being listened to, before we share the shadows of our soul. We need emotional space.
A deep relationship is both encouraging and challenging. We don’t humiliate each other with the other’s shame. But we do challenge each other, “Hey, you said you wanted to write, so why aren’t you writing?” We encourage each other to move forward, to face our fears, and to act in the face of them.