Years ago when i was having difficulty evaluating true relationships, my friend and pastor Dr. A.R Bernard (Christian Cultural Center) and I had a conversation and he shared a concept that I found to be both brilliant and illuminating.
Over the years, I've refined it just a bit...and given it the "star treatment" and I now call it "The Dartboard Theory."
Try to think of yourself as a dart board. You're the center of that board---and thus, the tiniest circle. It's the center that everyone tries to reach when you are playing darts. When you hit it…you get the greatest number of points.
Notice that the center circle doesn't hold much space. If too many people converge on that tiny circle, it becomes obliterated...in other words, you lose yourself. Notice, that the concentric circles all get larger as they get away from the center. The farther away from the center, the more room in the circle.
Ask yourself...how are the "circles" of my life arranged...and is everyone in the correct circle?
Here are my thoughts.
The circle closest to you is for the people I call your "INTIMATES"...the people you love and who love you... Unconditionally. The people who if you lost everything you had in a hurricane, would drive to the border of your state, wait sixteen hours until you got there and then take you to their home for a long as you needed to stay. These are the people who you would trust to raise your children if something happened to you. Ask those questions and I'll bet the circle is smaller than you thought.
The next circle is a little bigger, that's for your "CONFIDANTS"...the people you trust with your secrets and you can turn to in the time of trouble. If your guy is "acting up," these are the people you call to vent to about how you are "done with his butt"...and when you forgive him 2 days later...these are the people who pretend you never told them anything and go bowling with ya'll on Friday like nothing every happened...because they have your back.
The next circle is for your "FRIENDS AND FAMILY." They belong to you and you belong to them...for better or for worse. You actually adore them, you never forget their birthday and for the ones who aren't your actual family; you refer to them as your "sister,", "cousin", or "auntie"...when they really aren't...but they really are. But sometimes...arms length is called for; if you know what I mean...'cause "Uncle Leroy" is a trip.
The next circle is bigger because this one contains all your "ASSOCIATES." You admire these people and feel fondness for them in your business or personal life...they stay late at work to help you with your projects, you both test new ideas on each other, you're glad to see them when you're out at events and you always promise to hang out "socially", but yet...you rarely do. And neither one of you "trips" because you both know exactly who you are to each other.
Finally, the circle that is farthest away from you, but in truth, is the largest group of people in our lives...these are our "ACQUAINTANCES." Some you wish you knew better; some you vaguely distrust but need; some you just think are interesting. You only have to ask yourself one question to see who belongs in this circle: whom do you often like, sometimes need, but really wouldn't miss for a minute if you never saw them again as long as you live?
Don't get me wrong, all my relationships add to my life. They are at times amusing, interesting, helpful and very much a part of the joy of my life------but I now know, everyone is not FIRST- CIRCLE- IMPORTANT. In my life, they’re finally in their correct circle.
When you start making yourself important, you’ve got to be clear about priorities. I think too often we put people in a circle that they don't belong in.
It is our job to arrange our circles so that the most real relationships remain special. Because on the real...everyone needs to earn their position on your dart board of your life.