Fam+Friends

Family and Friends - PFP Assignments 

1. Family and Friend Circles. 
List the names (and optional contact info, if you have a private wiki) of two categories of important people in your social universe, such as:

A) Family (your family by relation)
B) Friends (your best and more distant friends)
OR two alternative titles, such as: 
A) My Tribe/Clan/Gang/Family 
(best friends and close family)
B) ExtendedFamily (more distant friends and family, but not acquaintances)

Try to come up with at least10 names for Category A and 20 names for Category B. If you are in any social groups (Facebook, etc.) take a look at those to find some of these names. List the names in alpha order, by first or last name as you prefer. (2 lists)
Add your F&F lists here...

2. Enlarging Your Social Groups. 
Look at your two relationship circles above. Are they each an appropriate size for your interests and goals in life? The anthropologist 
Robin Dunbar estimates we can maintain strong social relationships, where we know who each person is and how they relate socially to others, with as many as 150 people (Dunbar's number) at a time. How close are you to "maximizing" your relationship potential? Would it be helpful to you to have more friends in either circle? Go back and add at least two (2) potential Category A and (4) potential Category B friends or family to your circles. 
Put these individuals names in italics. Potential Category A could be folks like cousins, aunts, uncles, in-laws, etc. that may be far away or otherwise distanced from you. Or they could be people you've been thinking could become a good friend, but you haven't put the effort into getting to know them. Do you want to contact any of these folks? If so, write this down on your Tasks page.
Add your potential names in italics to your F&F lists above...

3. Strengthening Your Social Groups - Communication.
Go back to your list above and classify them in two ways: a) Close Contact and b) Occasional Contact Family&Friends. Close Contact Family&Friends are folks you currently see or contact (in person, phone, email, IM, etc.) 
10 or more times a year. Put a > (greater than sign) after the names of all the folks you presently contact more than 10 times a year (be honest), and a < (less than sign) after the names of all those you contact less than 10 times a year. Now ask yourself: Are any of these folks in the wrong category (A versus B)? Do you want to move them, so their category better reflects your actual communication patterns with them? If not, do you want to contact some of them more frequently in the future? Some of them less? If so, write this down on your Tasks page.
Annotate the names in your F&F lists above...

4. Personal Characteristics of Your Family and Friends.

a. Shared and Conflicting Values. Look again at your values statement on your Values+Psych page (finish it on that page if necessary before returning here). Now look at your lists above. Typically, all your family and friends will share most of your core values to a reasonable degree, but a few will share them to the point of inspiring you (they may even live them better than you presently do, in your estimation), and another few will not share many at all (to the point of causing unproductive conflict, because you each see some basic things about the world very differently). Put a + (plus sign) after the name of any family member or friend who really inspires you with their values, and a ~ (approximate symbol) after their name of any whose values may led to unproductive conflict for you. For each of these two special categories of friends (+ and ~) write a few words after their name that describe why they are positively inspirational (or approximate) friends for you, at present. If you don't have any friends in either of these categories, think about how you can widen your circle of friends until you have a few in each category.
Annotate the names in your F&F lists above...

b. Strengths. Thinking about all of your friends in terms of StrengthsFinder, write a few words (at least one or two words for each person) after each of their names that describe something about either their values or their strengths that you admire (like "optimistic", or "kind," or "a great competitor" or "always learning"). Discovering people's values and strengths is an ongoing process. People display their values and strengths even more by theirbehaviors than by what they say. Watch both carefully and you can understandwho they presently are, as well as who they wish, or think they are, which is often a very different thing.
Annotate the names in your F&F lists above...

c. Shared and Diverse Skills. Look again at your goals on your Career Goals page (finish writing them there if necessary before returning here). Do you have an appropriate number of friends who share your most-valued skills relative to your goals, so you can help each other improve? Which friends share your skills? Note them with an (S) in your list above, and a word or two describing the skills you share (coding, hacking, design, networking, etc.). Now ask a different question: Among your friend circle, how broad is the set of useful skills that are relevant to achieving your current goals? Which friends have totally different but still goal-relevant skills from you? Note them with a (D) in your list above, and a word or two describing these skills. If you cultivate friends that have unique skills that are also important to your goals, you will have many more opportunities to do projects and startups with your friends. If you don't, your only option will be to go to work for others who are not your friends. No matter which of these two courses (working with friends or strangers) you chose at any point in your life (and both can work quite well), it is very good, whenever you can manage it, to always have both options available to you. People with alternatives can always negotiate their terms "from a position of strength."
Annotate the names in your F&F lists above...

d. Critical Thinking. Do you have friends who respectfully help you examine and improve your beliefs, and think critically? Note them with a (C) for critical thinking in your list above. Socrates said "An unexamined life is not worth living." Miguel Aznar said "An unexamined (blindly held) principle or belief is not worth having." Cultivating friends who gently help you examine your beliefs and decisions will improve the quality of your life, as long as their criticisms don't tear you down or their egos don't try to control you.
Annotate the names in your F&F lists above...

e. "Problem" or "Project" Family and Friends. Problem/Project friends may share your core values but they also have regular communication, personality, or behavior clashes with you. That means it is often a "project" (a pain) on your part to hang out with them. These folks may enjoy communicating with you (i.e., you give them something by communicating with them) but, relative to you, you find them controlling, apathetic, depressed, manic, too optimistic, too pessimistic, too critical (of themselves or others), rude, too loud, too quiet, etc. We may wish to just avoid all such individuals, but it greatly helps us learn patience and empathy, and allows us to do good for others, to have a few such individuals in our friend circle. Of course, you don't want too many or you won't be able to maintain your own equilibrium. You also need to find the right balance of time that you spend with such friends. Again, too much time isn't good for either of you, but too little time and you miss the opportunity help someone who may really need and value your friendship. If you have a private wiki, label any project friends or family with a (P) after their name. Write a few words next to their name about why it's hard to communicate with them, but also why it's worthwhile, and how often you plan to stay in touch with them.
Annotate the names in your F&F lists above...

6. Foresight Story.
Pick one of your family or friends above and tell us a very brief story about someone who is either particularly foresighted in their personal or professional life (a model of future thinking), or someone who did some particular thing which seemed to you especially foresighted, showed good planning, etc. Can you learn anything from this story for your own life? (1 paragraph)
Write here...

7. Lack-of-Foresight Story.
Again, pick one of your family or friends and tell a brief story about something they did (or presently do) in their personal or professional life which didn't (doesn't) seem particularly foresighted. Can you learn anything from this story for your own life? (1 paragraph)
Write here...

8.
 Your Relationships - Future. 
What kind of long-term relationships do you want to develop in your life? What are the first descriptive words (adjectives, verbs, nouns) that come to mind? Do you want a “significant other?” Marriage? Kids? None of the above? 
If you already have any of these, how you want to improve your relationships with family and friends going forward? If you want and are still waiting for a “significant other,” what values, talents, and personality characteristics do you think will best “complement” you in a partner? If you don't have some of those values, talents, and personality characteristics in your present partner, how can you get them? Through your friends? By building them in yourself? By paying someone to provide them in a professional capacity? By asking your partner if they are willing to help you get them? (2 paragraphs)
Write here...


Ready to start using this wiki page to record and reflect on Friends and Family? Go ahead and keep writing at the top of this page once you've finished these assignments. May you have a happy, peaceful and productive future!


Fam+Friends - Personal Futures Wiki - ExampleAll material on this wiki is open source, creative commons licensed. Feel free to use any portion of this with appropriate attribution to "University of Advancing Technology, Foresight Development curriculum."
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