On having a social circle that is too small

As an ex-pat working and living in a foreign country, there is a limited social circle I got. Most of my friends are in my home country, while the people I interact with daily is my colleagues only. This is too small of a circle, which would harm my life. Last time, in an unfortunate event of lease termination, I got kicked out of my rental place suddenly and needed to find another room to stay, effective immediately. I didn’t have a lot of friends to offer help. I had no idea which neighbour is good and not sure which real estate agent could be trusted. End up I moved to a tiny room with no opening window, which wasn’t ideal. This was the moment that I realised how important it is to have a bigger social circle so that I could get some advice from local and possibly find a place with cheaper rent. I was paying too much for renting a shared space, and I could find a bigger private room in some rural area with the same price. I would never find it out by having a small social circle in this foreign country.

I might have done differently by expanding my social network. Other than the colleagues I met at work, I need to know more people outside of my company. Instead of reading books at home on weekend as an introvert, I need to be active in joining other social activities, such as public speaking clubs, to meet new friends. I can also utilise the internet to reach out to people which I don’t normally know, like by writing blog posts to readers around the world and doing a podcast to an audience who has a completely different background as I do. It is important to understand people from another perspective, as I wouldn’t know everything in the world. I would be relying on others to share their knowledge in other to find out the truth collectively. With a larger social circle, I could have more opportunities to contribute to others, instead of helping out the same small group of friends only. I could learn from people outside of my social circle, get some insights from an insider of different industries and better understand our world.

To work on improving this fault, I would start blogging every day. There are three main reasons for doing this. Firstly, blogging helps me to reach out to people outside of my social circle. By writing down my ideas, I got more time to craft my words and express myself. Next time when there is a chance for me to talk to strangers, I could find the right words to connect with them since I had already written down these sentences in advance at some point in one of my blog posts. It helps my public speaking and articulate complex ideas. Secondly, there are important ideas for me to share with people outside of my social circle. Writing blogs posts helps me to remember and learn new concepts while teaching and sharing with others at the same time. My favourite physicist, Richard Feynman, has invented an effective learning method called the Feynman Technique. By pretending to teach a new concept to others using simple wordings, I can identify the gap with my understanding, while also help to transmit these new ideas to people outside of my social circle. Lastly, writing helps me to do self-reflection, such as writing in the self-authoring website invented by Jordan Peterson, who is a clinical psychologist and author of my favourite book 12 rules of life. By writing down my faults, by doing retrospective and taking actions to improve, I can also help other people outside of my social circle as well, and making a bigger impact on my personal development.

Written by Victor Leung who is a keen traveller to see every country in the world, passionate about cutting edge technologies. 
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Originally published at https://victorleungtw.com.

By Victor Leung

Experience in software development, consulting services and technical product management. Understanding of business and technology with an MBA in Finance and a Master degree in Computer Science. AWS Certified Solution Architect with experience in building products from scratch and serving as a charismatic leader.

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