As I continue to think, research, and lecture about social capital and relationships, I am amazed at the simplicity/complexity of this construct. Everyone reading this blog has experienced relationships from the time you were born. You might think now about the quantity and quality of your current relationships. Relationships are the essence of life.
Still, all of us struggle with relationships. We make mistakes, give too much, or give too little. We all know that we could be better friends with those we care for or find in our lives. In this regard relationships are complex.
Theory on social capital tells us that on the simple side "similarities" and "regularity" combine as important ingredients that first bridge us to other people (similarities) and then when we see them again and again (regularity) we position ourselves to strengthen these relationships. As important as these ingredients are, I have been thinking about 2 additional, simple ingredients that also fuel our social capital.
These are "memories" and "plans" and they are key to keeping, and then growing our social capital. Think about it, with all of your important relationships you have a past that often is the fodder for your conversations and connection. This might include how you met, and the experiences that have developed your relationships. Then with these same people, we often build plans for the future that bring on anticipation and excitement.
So take a moment now, to reflect on some of your key friends and bring back those memories. Remember those fun things you have done together, commonalities you share. Then, think about the plans you might have coming up. This might include going to an upcoming game, or spending some vacation time together.
Social Capital is simple, yet complex. Keep your eyes on the simple things and you will surely strengthen what you have.