THE BLOG
11/13/2012 12:26 pm ET | Updated Jan 13, 2013

Strong vs. Weak Links

I gravitate toward certain people. I meet tons of people and usually end up loving most of them, but some pull me in deeper immediately. I get an instant connection that I can't deny or ignore; it doesn't make perfect sense but just happens. I have had instances where I meet people and it is as if they are saying things I said the day before; I have had ideas run through my head said by that person immediately as I think them, I feel deeply immediately, which is both beautiful and dangerous.

Malcolm Gladwell coins certain individuals who collect acquaintances "connectors." He says while most people are judging left and right, connectors just love them all. I have absolutely collected my fair share of acquaintances. Networking technology has allowed me to keep tabs on a lot of people who I know as "weak links" -- I know about their last vacation, but couldn't tell you about the last thing that hurt their feelings. I "connect" with them on a level where I feel I know them, but in reality my lack of face-to-face connection with them keeps me at arm's length.

Since I have moved three times, have had six different internships growing up and countless "extracurricular" activities, I have a lot of different people to keep track of. People have reached out to me from all walks of life -- some I haven't seen in years, and message me out of the blue to say, "It seems as if I know you because of what I've seen on this or that network." There is something amazing about an age where you can create your own brand and be identified with the information you put out into the world. People can "know" the version you share with them, and yet those rare moments when you meet someone in person and it just clicks is just magic that can't be recreated from clicking through a friend's photo albums.

I'm going through a few transitions in my life between moving, work and just understanding myself better, so I have not been able to be with the people I love as much as I'd like. I'm learning to figure out ways to prioritize to show the people who are closest to me that I appreciate them by attempting to expend more energy, effort and time in those relationships.

I recently had a fight with a friend who said based on social media, it seemed as if I was so close with so many people, and she felt slighted based on the fact that I hadn't made an effort to stay close with her. It made me realize how easy it is to take friendships for granted. Low-engagement friendships, weak links, people who may know how "great I'm doing" but have no idea how sad I was two weeks ago are a fairly big part of my everyday life, but they don't define me.

I am realizing how important it is to be vulnerable with those I love, make the extra effort, take the extra moment and put in the time it takes to maintain these relationships. I once had a friend tell me they would drop anything for me no matter what I needed, and I didn't understand at the time how much this meant to me. I have been so consumed by my weak links that it has been difficult for me to spend my time on making sure my strong links don't get weak. And while this may take a little bit more time and effort than it would to scroll through their last photo album or Tweet at them, I already know the return on this social investment is priceless.

For more by Amanda Slavin, click here.

For more on conscious relationships, click here.