cover art for part 1 of relationships podcast with Kristen KB Newton

Why is it so hard to make deep, meaningful friendships as an adult? Kristen “KB” Newton has asked this question one hundred times over. Listen to this first part of our interview to learn how to expand your friendship life by understanding the different types and levels of friendship and the five “I”s of connection. This will help you superpower your relationships.

KB’s most recent company is HEART Convos. After building this company, she discovered the secret to deep, meaningful friendships as an adult and is eager to share it with you. For Labor Day 2022, KB has a special event coming up, FRIENDCATION Experience 2022!  Learn more at

Listen to part two of the conversation, Connection is the Foundation for Relationships, Business, and Life, here.

We recorded this episode on June 3, 2022.

Give yourself a few more categories to try to make sense of the people around you so that you’re not holding yourself to an unrealistic expectation of needing to sustain relationships that might not need all the attention that you feel the pressure to give it, or investing in relationships that aren’t going to give you back what it is that you’re looking for, that reciprocity that people long for in their connections.

Your Challenge Invitation

Think about three relationships in your life and be honest about what makes them what they are. Where do each of them fit on the two frameworks that KB shared in the interview?

Think of the four types of friendships – meaningful and deep, meaningful and not deep, not meaningful and deep and not deep not meaningful – as four rooms in your friendship house. Place each of the three relationships in one of the rooms. Then consider the level of connection from the five “I”s for each of the relationships. Is it at the level of information, invest, interests, intent or intimacy

This mapping will help you make sense of the relationships. What have you learned from each relationship through the exercise? You can use this information to adjust your boundaries and expectations for each relationship. It can help resolve any issues of dissatisfaction and strain on the relationship.

Contact and follow KB on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Clubhouse or TikTok. Her website is

You can connect with Damianne on the Changes BIG and small website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube. You’re also invited to join the Changes BIG and small Facebook community.

When you see yourself, you can truly be yourself.

Similar Episodes

Timeline of the Chat

00:51 – What Makes a good friendship – removing polarity
04:58 – Dimensions of deep and meaningful in relationships
11:11 – The Five “I”s of connection
16:59 – Heart Convos
21:51 – Where do you start to learn more and change your life
24:30 – Invitation/Challenge

Enjoyed this episode? Please click this link to rate the podcast.

Start being curious. Just be more curious about people. Be interested, be interesting. Gather information. Collect as much as you possibly can.

Everything in life has resistance, challenge, turmoil, conflict, all the things.

Transcript of the Episode

[00:51] What Makes a good friendship

[00:51] Damianne President: I’m going to start with what some people think is an easy question and others have said it’s hard. What makes a good friendship?

[00:58] Kristen KB Newton: Ooh. Well, I guess it depends on who you’re asking, right? It depends on the person, but I will say generally what makes a good friendship is a friendship that is meeting the need that you have for the relationship to meet, in that season. That is what makes the friendship good and life-giving and satisfying.

[01:16] Damianne President: One of the things that I hope listeners do when they listen to conversations here is that it kind of sparks them to think. So what makes a good friendship to them as well? And so the fact that you’re saying that it’s individualized, I think really resonates because it’s up to each person to decide what matters to me in friendship.

[01:33] Kristen KB Newton: Absolutely. This is what I’ve really discovered just in my work. In my work I’ve discovered that most people believe that there is only one way to kind of do a healthy relationship or a healthy friendship, like certain ways it has to look. And if it doesn’t look that way, whatever the way is you have in your mind for what success in friendship looks like or healthy looks like, then it’s not healthy. And that’s not necessarily true.

We typically have two extremes by which we qualify people in our lives. And I think some of that is an issue as well because we know that there can’t just be people who matter to us and then everyone else but that’s usually how we live. There are the people who matter, who mean the most or the closest to us, that we’re related to, whatever, and then there’s just everybody else. And everybody else is kind of like, if you’re here, you’re here; if you’re not, you’re not, until I label you a person that matters, and then you move over to this other extreme. And now I’m trying to figure out how to navigate this connection. And so that’s why with the question like what’s the key to having a healthy friendship, well, again, it just depends on how you look at your relationships, what you want, what you need. Yeah, it’s a little bit layered, but I won’t get into all that just off the bat.

[02:38] Damianne President: Yeah, it’s interesting because I was thinking about that, as we grow and as we change and how our friendships and our view on friendship change, but not just friendship, but even how we show up in the world, how we move through the world. I can remember at some point thinking, well, if somebody does something I don’t like or say something, I don’t like, I can just pretend that they don’t exist. And I went with that for a long time in my twenties and thought this is working for me. And then I remember saying this to a much older lady and she commented about how that was not a very good way to go about life. And I was like, what’s she’s talking about; that seems to be working just fine for me.

Now looking back, it connects to what you’re saying about people either being in your group or not in your group, because I think I had so much of a polarity there where, oh, I don’t like what you’re saying, I’ll just pretend you don’t exist, which doesn’t really appreciate the fullness of humans in terms of there are things that you can do that I don’t like and then there are other things that I can appreciate about you. So I’ve been reflecting about that recently.

[03:43] Kristen KB Newton: Thank you for sharing that because I think it’s honest and I think that it exposes that gap that exists. Again, like you said, there’s that polarity. So if there’s these extreme sides, that means that there’s a lot of middle that’s not being covered. Also I think it creates some sense of cognitive dissonance in us to tell ourselves this doesn’t matter when it does. Now, do you want it to be a determining factor for how you live your life? No, but also something that I see a pattern in the lives of the people that I help and that I coach is sometimes people don’t know the difference between a contributing factor and a determining factor. Because they don’t know the difference and they think that everything has to impact them, they then formulate a framework or a habit around how they deal with things and that is acting like they don’t exist, pushing it down, muffling it, stuffing it, avoiding it, you know, with a good vibes only movement.

It’s like, I’m just going to avoid anything that doesn’t make me feel good cause I don’t actually know what to do with the things that don’t make me feel good. And so I’m going to make that my focus, my pursuit. But everything in life has resistance, challenge, turmoil, conflict, all the things. And so if that is true, then in order for us to grow and to be healthy and to really have the kinds of freedom that we want in life, we have to have learned how to navigate that stuff. And so the gap in relationships, I think, kind of plays on this term that I use called deep and meaningful. So can I break that down really quickly?

[04:57] Damianne President: Absolutely. 

[04:58] Dimensions of deep and meaningful in relationships

[04:58] Kristen KB Newton: I would say that most people in their life want deep, meaningful relationships. How many you want is up to you, who you want that with, it’s up to you. But for the most part, we want to find deep, meaningful relationships, connections. And then usually people think, well, they’re those relationships and then there’s everyone else.

I would like to argue or suggest really that there’s deep, meaningful relationships and then there are relationships that are not deep or meaningful. Now, if you have those two sides, deep, meaningful, not deep, not meaningful, then where do the middle ground sit? Well, the middle ground is relationships that are meaningful and not deep or deep and not meaningful.

People will say, well, how does that even work? I don’t even have a framework for thinking about that, but these are the four kinds of relationships I teach about in my spaces where I explain to folks a not deep not meaningful relationship is a relationship that if the person was not there, it would not matter to you.

So just think about all of the people you encounter, all the strangers or acquaintances that you encounter day in and day out. Whether you saw that person or didn’t see that person, it doesn’t do anything for you. You know, you’re not particular about who serves you your food and it’s not like you’re going in looking for a specific waiter or waitress, right? You just get what you get. It’s kinda like it could have been you or 16 other people. It wouldn’t have mattered to me.

There are people who you don’t notice when they’re not there. That is a individual to you that is not meaningful, whereas let’s say you go to church every week. Somebody is not there that is meaningful to you. You will notice, right? You’ll notice that they are missing. Whether the relationship is deep or not, it doesn’t matter. But you’re noticing like, oh Sarah wasn’t here today. There were also 1700 other people in service and you weren’t taking them into account. Why? Because those people aren’t meaningful to you and that is okay. They might be strangers to you. Again, they might be acquaintances to you.

Then when you have people who are not deep, well, there’s no substance here. Beneath the surface, there’s really no depth. There’s no shared intimacy or intention or any of that. We have people in our lives that fall in that category. The mix becomes when you have people who are meaningful to you but the relationship is not deep.

So again, a meaningful relationship, you are looking for a specific waitress. You have a specific masseuse that you want. You have a specific clinician that you like to see. But maybe the relationship, again, isn’t deep; you just value whatever service or benefit that you get from that particular relationship. You enjoy hanging out with a specific person when it comes to watching Married at First Sight week to week. If you go on bowling, you’re inviting a certain person, but that doesn’t mean that person is your best friend. You have a deep attachment to them. You know everything about their life. They have a specific level of meaning to you.

Then you have relationships that are deep and not meaningful and people will say, well, how does that work? And I would say, well, those are the people that you have formed a strong attachment with at some point in your life, but you no longer need to engage them day to day. You don’t have to engage them, connect with them, be with them all the time. Whereas like for a relationship you might be working on right now, there’s a consistency, we talk every day, we update each other, all that kind of stuff. But then the relationship transitions where it’s like, oh, we haven’t talked in like three months, but when we do talk, we’re going to pick up right where we left off. That is a deep, not meaningful relationship.

Somebody right now you’re thinking about that can call you, you would do whatever they needed. And you wouldn’t have a 16 hour long conversation about how they hadn’t called in three months, like you haven’t talked to me and you didn’t ask me how… That’s not a deep, not meaningful relationship. You get what I’m saying? A deep not meaningful relationship is a relationship with the bond is so strong, there’s so much relational capital in that relationship that whether you’re pulling from that account or not pulling from that relationship account, it’s strong, it’s steady, it’s not going anywhere. But when you need it, you tap in.

So if you just think about those four categories, people usually have the extremes of you matter or you don’t. But let’s say you add those two nuanced spaces. So many people fit in those nuanced spaces. And when you can really place the people in your life in the right room, so to speak, in this home that you have, then you can adjust appropriately your boundaries and expectations for each person. You can start to navigate, oh, well, if this is a deep, not meaningful relationship, I don’t have to feel the pressure to check in on them all the time, or question if the relationship is going to fall apart because I haven’t called in three months. You just know. There’s a security there because you’ve established what this is, what it is not.

For people who are not deep, but they are meaningful to you, you know exactly what brings you together. You’re forming your bonds over mutual investments, over things that benefit the both of you or whatever. But they’re not the person that you call in the middle of the night when you need help. Does that make sense?

[09:03] Damianne President: Yeah. And what I’m thinking is that for some of those categories, then you’ll have easily move in and out. So for example, if you’re deep and not meaningful, that could happen if somebody has moved, but you’ve built a lot of deep connection in the past. Then maybe when you come back in the same town or something, that relationship becomes more meaningful and it has maintained its deepness with the separation.

Okay. You’re not in, so…

[09:31] Kristen KB Newton: You got it. That’s it. I just did a workshop last night. At the workshop, a woman raised her hand. She said, well, I think that my dad is a meaningful but not a deep relationship. And I was like, okay, let’s talk about it. She’s like, I don’t have a strong relationship with my dad, but he’s meaningful because he’s my dad. I didn’t go deeper, but we could have even gone deeper and said, well, is he meaningful because he holds a title or is he meaningful because there’s a level of behavior there that matches the title of a father?

You can go really, really deep with this stuff really, really quickly. But just on the surface, give yourself a few more categories to try to make sense of the people around you so that you’re not holding yourself to an unrealistic expectation of needing to sustain relationships that might not need all the attention that you feel the pressure to give it, or investing in relationships that aren’t going to give you back what it is that you’re looking for, that reciprocity that people long for in their connections.

That conversation around connection and how connections are formed within those relationships is a whole nother conversation. That’s those five levels of connection that I talk about a lot in my content. Again, the fourth types of relationships you’ve got those rooms, but now it’s like, okay, well what happens in those rooms? And how do people move in and out of those rooms? And that’s when I would say, okay, that’s why you have the four levels of connection. You have those strangers, acquaintances, compatriots, comrades, people in your inner circle.

I tell people all the time to think about it like an ice cream cone, it’s wide or at the top. And then it’s smaller at the bottom. Your strangers, they’re going to be at the top because you’re always going to know more strangers than you do any other person in life, but all the way at the bottom of your ice cream cone is going to be your inner circle. And there’s always going to be fewer people in your inner circle than are at the top. Well, the question becomes, how does a person move from the top to the bottom? Or how do you move somebody who is at the bottom further up the cone if life has changed. And I would say, you have to understand this thing that I teach called the five Is.

[11:11] The Five “I”s of connection

[11:11] Kristen KB Newton: The reason why people are strangers is because we have no information about them. So if you don’t want someone to be a stranger anymore, you have to learn how to gather information well. And that is something that people are like, well, I don’t know how to. When I talk to people, I feel awkward and I don’t know what to do and I don’t know what to say. I’m like, well, when you don’t have information about something, what do you do? People will say, well, I ask questions. I’m like, Okay, we’ll ask questions. Then the other side of it as well. Oh, I don’t want to settle for like interviewing a whole bunch of people. I feel like I have to do all this; it’s not a job interviews, didn’t feel authentic, etc. I’m like, all right, let’s just change the language.

You don’t ask questions. Start being curious. Just be more curious about people. Be interested, be interesting. Gather information. Collect as much as you possibly can. That’s not always happening in conversation. That’s happening in body language. That’s watching people’s behavior in their other relationships. You can gather information in so many ways, but guess what happens once you gather enough information, you then can move a person to the next level, which is an acquaintance, because then you’ll say to yourself, do I have enough information that I feel comfortable now to invest? If I don’t have enough information, guess what? I’m not gonna feel comfortable doing investing.

And so once you have enough information, whatever that is. For me, I just need your name. And then I’m like, all right, Hey, let’s do it. People are like, Kristen, you don’t know a stranger. You could talk to a wall. Then I’m like, I absolutely could. It doesn’t take much for me, but that’s because of where I’m at on my journey. At the beginning, because I felt uncertain about people and their intentions and their motives and all the things, I would try to let so much time pass as if that was going to determine whether I could trust the person or not, which is also a misconception that you can do all of these things that determine if someone is trustworthy when it’s not actually true. The only way that you will know someone is trustworthy is if you trust them. You just have to decide I’m going to trust you. And the only way that you will know someone who’s not trustworthy is when they break your trust.

 I’ll stop before I get to the next two and just ask if you have any thoughts about those first two, like moving someone from a stranger to an acquaintance, gathering information, knowing when you should invest, what are your thoughts?

[13:11] Damianne President: Would you mind giving me the five and then we’ll visit them as it’s appropriate throughout the conversation?

[13:17] Kristen KB Newton: Sure. Yeah, the five levels are stranger, acquaintance, compatriot, comrade, inner circle.

And the way that you move from one to the other: strangers, you gather information. Acquaintances, you share investment. your compatriots, you’re looking for interests as a return on your investment. You’re looking to garner interest.

With a comrade, you share intent. And with your inner circle, you’re building a relationship over intimacy. So after you invest so much, you start to think, am I getting a return on this investment? That’s where that reciprocity conversation sits. I’ve been doing this. I feel like I’m always the one initiating. I’m always the one doing whatever it might be for the person I’m not getting back whatever it is that I would qualify as value.

The amount of information is gonna be different for everybody. The investment will be different for everybody. Some people, the intent is like saying hello, introducing themselves, putting themselves out there to do that. Some people, the investment is sending that text message. For another person, the investment is inviting the person to the coffee. So there’s levels to it. But then the interest is also different. Some people are looking for the same thing back, like I said, hello and you then responded with a hello. Other people are like, oh, I don’t mind investing, like being generous and giving you a birthday gift whether you give me one or not. I gave you a gift for your birthday; return on the investment was seeing the satisfaction on your face, that you were excited, that you felt thought of, love. That was enough of me. That would encourage me to continue to give you gifts because I can acknowledge that that’s your level. Whereas another person might say, if I give you a gift for my birthday, and then my birthday comes around and you didn’t give me a gift, we are going to have problems.

And I mean, again, everybody’s different. Everybody’s looking for something different. But then you think about the intent, well, the shared intent is like when you get beyond what you’re doing for the other or with each other, and you start thinking about what connects the two of you beneath this. So, intent is a person you shared like heart with, like mind with, your souls are aligned. This is an alignment conversation. Are we just in the same alignment space? Do we not necessarily believe and do all the same things, but do we push one another forward? Is there something about you beneath what you do or don’t do that adds value to my life, just who you are.

You could be a hilarious person and I just love your humor. I love your heart. I love your passion, whatever that is. That has nothing to do with whether or not you live close to me or not close to me. That has nothing to do with whether you’re single or married. People will ask why did the relationship end when we graduated from college? Because your relationship was built on your investments and your interests, but once the investment changed, which was school, then there was nothing else to hold the relationship together. But if a relationship gets beyond those first three areas, that’s when it goes from shallow to deep, because now it’s like whether we’re in school or not in school, there’s still something binding our hearts together.

[16:03] Damianne President: When we get to the intimacy piece, I always say that there are people that I will travel around the world for. Like, all you have to do is call me and I’ll be there. I don’t know, maybe not if it will get me in prison, but for almost anything else.

[16:17] Kristen KB Newton: That is hilarious because I have a friend which I say, Hey, Let me know if I need to go get the oregano, like if we need to bury a body, I got you. I will go to jail for you.

[16:25] Damianne President: We have different limits; we have different boundaries.

I really appreciate you breaking down all of the different levels of friendship and the types of friendships, the type of connections. The reason I reached out to you is because it’s evident in your work of your strong understanding about the field of friendship. Your website, is the first place that I learned about you. You have social media; there are lots of free resources that people can already understand the field of friendship, and then they can get more in-depth by working with you. 

[16:59] Heart Convos

[16:59] Damianne President: Was there a turning point for you with your Heart Convos work?

[17:04] Kristen KB Newton: So the work started in my life personally in 2007. I went to work for an organization a Christian sports organization, and they had this weird kind of morning routine that they would do every morning where all of the female staff and the men staff give each other what they call morning hugs. So the psychology around it is like, if you hug like seven or eight people a day, like it does something for your body. And so, it was also a way to build unity, hey, all right, we’re going into this state of serving these students, you know, that kind of thing.

Well, prior to starting at that camp, I had an issue with touch and intimacy with women. And so it was like, I don’t feel comfortable hugging all these women. I don’t want to hug 20 women every day for the next two months, like the math is overwhelming for me. And so I realized that whenever we would be going through the motions of giving morning hugs, I would be very tense. I don’t know if you’ve ever hugged someone that you didn’t want to hug before, or that you didn’t feel safe

[17:58] Damianne President: I have such a memory of just standing there while somebody that I did not expect to hug me gave me a hug once. I was like 12, but I just froze. And I was just like, what is going on here?

[18:09] Kristen KB Newton: It’s not okay. I mean, there’s so much happening. Your body’s uncomfortable. You just feel so guarded. You feel tense, right? But when a hug is a good hug, your arms are wide open. You are fully exposed. You’re chest to chest. It’s an embrace. It’s vulnerable. It’s sweet. It’s satisfying.

Here’s the thing. I think morning hugs taught me something about my life that summer that I was walking around guarded, afraid to be vulnerable, afraid to open myself up to other people, for fear of being rejected, being seen and people being afraid of what they saw, all of the things. And so as the summer went on, I noticed the more I started practicing kind of like just leaning into the morning hug every day, it started to create something, not just in my heart and mind, but even in my body. My body stopped responding in the way that it was responding initially because every time I went to do it, my body was seeing there was proof that I am safe to do this.

[19:06] Damianne President: Were you aware of it at the time

[19:07] Kristen KB Newton: Absolutely not. Absolutely I have all this language now that makes sound nice and pretty and perfect. In the moment, I just realized this is just what I’m doing now. I didn’t actually have the skills to see myself. I have a resource called the See Yourself Be Yourself Dare. And I tell people all the time, like when you see yourself, you can truly be yourself.

But oftentimes we don’t take the time to look into our mirror to see who we truly are, good, bad, and ugly. And so we are afraid when we see things in other people and we also are afraid to see things in ourselves. So I didn’t see it at the time; I didn’t have those tools. But when I reflect back, I think, oh my goodness, something happened to me that summer to where by the end of the summer, even though I hadn’t seen that process, I did realize that I was in a different place and I was desiring different things.

I wanted to go home and to carry what I had experienced at that camp to my real life. I was like, how the heck do I get this at home? Not hugs every morning, right? But literally the freedom, the vulnerability, the safety that I feel here. And that was a turning point for me in the work. So the work started that summer. Heart Convos was birth in 2018, where it really started off as a passion project to help women navigate the tension that exists in friendship.

I just wanted to get on a soap box and blog about women and friendship. And I started doing that and people started watching videos. Then people started asking questions. And so then the pandemic hit and that’s when Heart Convos had to move from a passion project to my full-time work. And because I am a DJ by profession and I DJ for the NBA, there were no more arena events. We weren’t gathering 20,000 people every week to do a basketball game,

[20:41] Damianne President: You weren’t gathering five people every anything.

[20:45] Kristen KB Newton: I wasn’t. I couldn’t do my banquets, my galas, 600 people, 300. I couldn’t do any of that. So, because work went down in that way, I had to figure out how do I make Heart Convos a business? And for two years, Heart Convos has just kind of been exploding from a business standpoint as I’ve been helping these women, but it’s even transitioning now because I helped enough women in power who have said this needs to be in the workplace.

So now Heart Convos is creating a platform called Workplace Convos where people can learn the art of connection and connecting and communicating at a high level in the workplace. And so that’s where it came from. That’s why people are like, oh my gosh, I just found this girl. And I’m like, well, I’ve kind of been around for a while, but,

[21:27] Damianne President: That’s always the story, right? I think it really is the long tail where you are doing something because you love it. You’re doing something because you’re growing in that way, because you were finding it out, it’s working for you. And then it gets to the point where it’s like, okay, there’s an opportunity here. And you make that choice to take it, which sounds like it’s been an exciting journey for you.

[21:48] Kristen KB Newton: Up and down, it’s and down, but it’s been good. 

[21:51] Where do you start learning more, changing your life

[21:51] Damianne President: Sometimes it’s easy for us or people who’ve been reading about relationships to think, oh, well, there’s so much that people already know, but I’m discovering that lots of people haven’t really thought about this deeply or interrogated it. So if somebody is new to this space and thinking about friendships and the strength or the depth of their relationships, where do they start? What do you recommend?

[22:11] Kristen KB Newton: Great question. I would say go to Instagram. If you are a stranger to me, this is your first time hearing me and my work and what I’m saying is resonating with you, go to my Instagram, which is heart_convos. Even if you just typed in heart convos, I would pop up. Scroll to the bottom of my content. I think there’s probably like a little over 500 posts now, or 600. I don’t know how many posts there are but just go all the way down to the beginning of my content and just start there. You’re not going to find selfies and random pictures of my family. Like of the 500 pieces of content, you might find five of those, maybe. And I would start there because, again, it will ask you some really basic question and you’ll see how the conversation deepens. Even as you start from the beginning and kind of work your way up to where we are in the present, you’ll see the turn from friendship heavy all the way, even just to the art of connection.

And so, I would start there. There’s a lot of specific content around friendship, the connection, navigating conflict, all that kind of stuff in that space and it’s free. And so that’s why I would say just follow me on Instagram. Start binge-watching all the content. If you start out at the reels, people typically go to the reels and they go from the top down. But if you’re going to go to the reels and you want a shorter content, then I would, again, just go to the bottom, scroll to the bottom and work your up.

[23:30] Damianne President: And if anybody’s on here who does not use Instagram, if you just search on Facebook and I’ll add those links to the show notes too, even the newer short episodes; there is one about reciprocity that got me thinking. There are lots of things that I think are relevant to friendships

[23:46] Kristen KB Newton: Yep, YouTube, Facebook, I’ve got a Ted talk called Nine Ways to Tell if Your Friends are Trash, you can listen to that. Another talk I did is called Love Your Friends. It’ll tell you the camp story that I just told you today. I’ve got an article on Ted Thoughts if you want to get that. And I’ve got a lot of interviews; I’ve done on podcasts with different organizations, talking about different angles. I’ve got things I’ve talked about on race and religion and all the things. There’s just so much content.

But in the theme of all of my content, you’ll hear this championing of connection. Because, again, that is my north star. I live to champion deep, meaningful connection by disrupting the status quo to help people communicate and connect at the highest levels. That is why I live, why I breathe, and the theme that you’ll hear in all of my content.

[24:30] Invitation/Challenge

[24:30] Damianne President: And in that vein, do you have a call of action or an invitation for people around connection or anything else we’ve talked about today?

[24:39] Kristen KB Newton: Absolutely. I think just again, if you’ve only ever heard me on this episode, just in what we talked about today around understanding that relationships don’t live in these polarized categories, that there’s levels to relationships, that relationships are nuanced, I would give you the call to action to just think about three relationships in your life and be honest about what makes them what they are, and see where they fit on those two kind of frameworks that I posed, those four relationships.

Is this a not deep, not meaningful relationship, a meaningful not deep relationship, a deep not meaningful relationship, or a deep and meaningful relationship. And in whatever category you put them, there’s no judgment because you need all four to thrive in life. Once you’ve done that, then take those same relationships and walk them through those five levels of connection.

Is this person a stranger to me, do I have enough information to where I feel comfortable to invest? Am I investing in actually seeing return on my investment? Because there are some people who listen to my content and they have life shattering revelations or they’re like, oh my God, the person I have called my best friend in the whole life is really just a compatriot. And I’m like, I am I just feel like I should apologize. They’re like, oh no, there’s no intimacy here like what are you talking about? Like, I’m not allowing this person to see into me or anything. We just kick like all the time. And I’m like, okay, that’s fine. I’m just letting you know that there are deeper levels of connection in the event that you wanted that. But if level three has been enough for you, okay, fine.

Now I would argue everybody is made for deep, meaningful connection at some level. So it might not be this friendship, but I would then ask, is there another relationship in your life where you feel like you have that safe space, you have that intimacy and intimacy doesn’t equal sex. So it doesn’t have to be a romantic partner. It can be a friend or family or whoever.

I would just take a relationship in your life and try to make sense of it based on what you learned today and see what comes to the surface and if it is exposed or you’re like, hey, where I’ve been putting people probably isn’t where they really are based on the framework you talked about. Then your next step is just to adjust your boundaries and your expectations for the relationship.

Because I guarantee you, if someone in your life you’ve been giving them the position, the power or the influence of someone in your inner circle, but they’re really just a level three, there’s probably been some level of dissatisfaction and strain in that relationship because you’ve had expectations of an inner circle commitment from someone who really just likes doing stuff together.

Again, it’s hard to hear and I know it’s heavy, but this is the work that is absolutely necessary in 2022 for people to thrive and survive, because the way that our world is going right now, if you don’t get this right how connection really works right here, you will be sucked into this black hole of shallowness that is being perpetuated on the media and news cycles, on social media.

Because, again, we’re doing a lot of things, but none of them is actually satisfying. You get this though, you give yourself a level of control for how you do relationships, no matter what the heck is going on in the world. And that is to me, what the most exciting and liberating part of my work is.

[27:50] Damianne President: Definitely no judgment here. I definitely have people in my friendship circle that I’ve done trips with them, I keep in touch with them, but they don’t know my secrets. And it’s not that I don’t trust them, it’s just that we’re never gone there.

We’ve never expressed interest or maybe one person has tried and the other person has some resistance. So I think there is something in friendship to also recognizing where people are and then deciding am I okay with this or not? You can’t really change people. Maybe they’re not capable, like maybe that’s their journey. And then you have to decide are you going to be friends with them or not?

[28:31] Kristen KB Newton: It doesn’t have to be, well, are we friends or are we not friends? So now it’s like, okay, this relationship isn’t satisfying a specific need. Which level is the need at? That’s why people can start doing their own work just listening to this podcast. Because it’s like, well, something has been missing, but what is it? Is it investment. I’m not feeling the investment from them, the effort or no, I am seeing effort, but I’m not getting the interest that I’m trying to get, or that interest is not compounding and I still feel like we’re working really hard. If people are asking those questions, then it might not be, we’re not friends. It’s oh, I’m just moving you to a different tier. It’s the level of the connection. Like, oh, we really just hang out; when I see you, I see you. It’s a sweet moment. It’s a meaningful but not deep relationship. And whenever I have the opportunity to engage you and to be with you, I take it. But it’s not something I have to keep looking to be a constant in my life because that person, like you said, is not in that place.

Yeah. This stuff will change your life. It’s powerful.

[29:26] Damianne President: Thank you so much for chatting with me today. Anything else?

[29:30] Kristen KB Newton: No, I love what you do. I love your heart. Thank so much for the opportunity to share with your people who trust you to bring on solid people., I don’t take it lightly when people ask me to be on their podcast episodes, because I’m like you have an audience of individuals that trust you and you have brought me into that space. And so thank you. It’s an honor.

[29:51] Damianne President: I feel that your heart shines through this conversation and the definitely I can see the consistency in what you’re saying and the way you describe your work. And I have a lot of appreciation and value that. So thank you. 

When a hug is a good hug, your arms are wide open. You are fully exposed. You’re chest to chest. It’s an embrace. It’s vulnerable. It’s sweet. It’s satisfying.


About the Author
I'm a curious problem solver.

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