S3E3: Pairing Up, Splitting Up, and How Partners Cultivate Networks Differently with Max Dickins

In this episode, I speak with Max Dickins. He reached out to me directly on Twitter after seeing a post about The Reliants Project. Max is an Author, Playwright, Actor, Presenter & Comedian. His latest book is called Improvise, which helps people learn how to handle whatever comes their way at work using simple rules and techniques from improv. He is currently researching friendship and loneliness.

In this episode we talk about:

  • The moment that he noticed that his network wasn’t as strong as he’d like it to be
  • How he audited his network to understand how it had changed over time
  • How he and his fiance think about the various relationships in their lives
    and how their networks differ
  • Some of the new strategies he has implemented to nurture relationships
  • What type of inner work he thinks is critical to building quality friendships
  • We also talk about some of his thoughts on loneliness and masculinity

Show Notes

  • The moment that he first noticed the quality of his network [2:05]
  • What people think of as the lonely stereotype [3:36]
  • His process for doing a network audit [5:00]
  • Coming up with a definition of friendship [6:21]
  • Structures that make it easier to make friends and how they change as you age [8:31]
  • Difference between his friendships and his partner’s friendships [10:00]
  • Common differences between female-to-female and male-to-male friendships [11:10]
  • Different types of loneliness [11:45]
  • How well integrated his and his partner’s networks are [13:03]
  • Acknowledging that you have to divide your time between more people when you partner with someone [14:11]
  • Importance of maintaining friendships separate from your partner [15:01]
  • Becoming the ‘friend sherpa’ [16:30]
  • Giving people time and space to share what’s on their mind [18:14]
  • Social problems are accounting problems [19:32]
  • Getting into the rythym of keeping in touch [21:10]
  • Why birthdays are important [22:29]
  • Making new friends individually or as a couple [23:57]
  • Taking the lead in cultivating friendships as a couple [25:41]
  • What can happen when relationships end [27:35]
  • Importance of working on yourself [29:00]
  • Analogy of engagement modes to a gearbox [31:40]
  • Quick exercise to help people reflect on their network [34:10]
  • Stigma of saying I don’t have many friends and want more [34:45]
  • The word friend is too vague [37:06]

Selected Links

Connect to Max Dickins: LinkedIn | Twitter | website


Learn more about other life events that impact your network and how to reduce their impact here.