Ah, adult friendships. A concept many of us feel we haven’t quite yet master. We throw out ideas for meals with friends and find ourselves lost in a web of scheduling conflicts and tight budgets. We often end up resorting to text messaging or Facetiming our closest companions instead. So how can we make true and lasting connections that bring us closer together? Enter the 3-6 Rule.
The 3-6 Rule applies to both phone conversations and face-to-face interactions. Expert friends and relationships coach, John Gray, recommends that inside of three days and outside of six, we should check in with our closest friends. This creates a foundation for an intimate and trusting relationship. The idea is that by having regular communication with someone, you can sustain an ongoing connection. Not only does this keep your relationship fresh and progressing but it also gives you time to stay close without having to worry about the logistics of planning and commitment.
The frequency of communication with your best friends is what really matters – particularly those you don't get to see as frequently during your day-to-day life. We all have different personalities and skill sets that contribute to the way we create relationships. As adults, it’s important to define caregiving boundaries and successfully navigate conversations amongst our peers. If you are intentional and strategic with how often you reach out, your friendships will become a healthy source of social connection and growth.
The 3-6 Rule is a quicker, more meaningful way of reconnecting. It provides room for deep, intentional conversations that are relevant to you and your loved ones. Instead of an hour-long awkward dinner or unfocused conversations over the phone, these chats can be uplifting and emotionally nourishing. For example, soon after you hit the three-day mark, initiate a Zoom call. Announcing that you thought about them and wanted to catch up not only shows you care about them but would also ensure your relationship isn’t stagnant.
New relationships require understanding and effort from both parties; it’s essential to remember that forming grown-up relationships takes time and patience. We must be devoted to our key relationships and cultivate mutually desired connection. Whether near or far, with the 3-6 Rule, meaningful and fruitful relationships with those around you have never been simpler.
So go ahead, take charge of your adult relationships. The boundaries are set: Take initiative, be there when each other needs you but don’t overburden one another. Yourself, as well as your friends, deserve to reap the rewards of applying the 3-6 Rule to elevate your relationships to a higher level. With it comes a sense of peace and contentment — music to any adult’s ears.
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