Relational Minimalism

Minimalism is not a fad; it’s a survival instinct.

The idea of getting rid of things runs counter to our cultural instinct to gather and collect. Our economy is actually built on buying things we don’t need. In order for most companies to exist, they need to sell us stuff that we already have. That’s why we always want the new and improved.

Minimalism’s power comes through admitting that we don’t need so much stuff.

Along with material minimalism, we should consider relational minimalism.

At one point in my Facebook journey, I had nearly 2,000 “friends.” Facebook’s use of the word “friend” is obvious trickery. It would be much more honest for them to call them “quantifiable units of mineable data.” In a sense, having that many friends is relational hoarding. Think of each Facebook friend as an old newspaper taking up space in your small living room. Since you might read that newspaper in the future, it’s best to hold on to it.

In reality, we all have a limited amount of relational bandwidth. The more people in your social circle, the less amount of attention you can give to each of them.

It seems heartless to suggest that people can become someone’s relational clutter, but I think it’s true. I’m not saying people themselves are clutter, but they can be your clutter if you have too many relationships.

Relational minimalism means focusing on the quality of relationships rather than the quantity of relationships.