Let’s Get Real About Friendships

09/30/2016 02:52 pm ET | Updated Oct 01, 2016

When was the last time you could openly share your most private, real moments to your closest friends publicly without your boss, relative or anyone else getting wind of it?

Our best and most meaningful friendships are open, honest and when we’ve got each other’s back. We can laugh, cry and everything in between without judgment.

What if you could do that and even more privately yet publicly? Enter Camarilla. I had the privilege to talk to the leading lady behind the world’s smallest social network that is making big waves and attracting the attention and fanfare of Facebook and many A-list celebrities, models, moguls and even royalty.

To hear how all of this got started read Camarilla founder, Constance Scholten’s story:

Q: Why Camarilla?

A: I’m an entrepreneur who is passionate about human behavior, technology and innovation.

For a long time I struggled to maintain a healthy balance between work and my private life. My work was exciting and demanding, but I felt like the important stuff in my life was just passing me by.

The idea for Camarilla came to me one Tuesday night in 2014. I was working as a commercial director for TravelBird, one of Europe’s fastest growing technology companies. I had given birth to my beautiful son Hector just one month earlier. But I was back out on the road, sitting alone in another hotel room, in another city. I felt lonely and disconnected from the people I cared about the most.

I logged onto Facebook, but realized that my 2,114 Facebook friends were not the people I wanted to interact with right then. Facebook is great for keeping in touch superficially, but its role in our lives has changed. We feel the need to present a positive image of ourselves at all times, to perform for “likes” to an audience of casual acquaintances. It’s impossible to maintain a meaningful connection with 2000 people. Our brains simply cannot manage it.

I thought it was odd that there wasn’t a place just for your inner circle, the people who really matter in your life. In this demanding world we live in, it is often difficult to bridge time and space with our closest friends. But investing in these real friendships is crucial for a happy life.

We all know - and research supports it - that we feel happiest when we have our closest friends and family around us. Think about the last birthday party you celebrated with friends. Those are the moments that that nourish us.

We describe Camarilla as the world’s smallest social network. It’s a private space where you can post photos and videos for your 15 closest friends. You don’t need to worry about public approval. There’s no “like” button, no hearts, no followers. When a friend responds to your post, the conversation is one-on-one - just you and them. It encourages those honest, unguarded moments we typically share with the people we hold dear. That’s very different to the dynamic you get when you share posts with a group.

The 15-person limit is based on research from Oxford anthropologist Robert Dunbar, who discovered that your ‘inner circle’ is on average 12-15 people. Dunbar’s research showed that you can’t really create a deep bond with more than 15 people.

Our members are using smallness to rediscover the art of meaningful connection. It’s the first social media platform where instead of performing, you’re connecting. It’s an app for real friendship and that app has grown into a global movement. We have users in 130 countries and counting. Discover Camarilla for yourself here.

In honor of Women’s Friendship Month think of one way you could meaningfully connect with a close and dear friend.

Kirsi Bhasin helps overachieving, busy professionals overcome exhaustion and burnout and be happier and healthier.  She is the creator of The Burnout Test

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