Capture your social circle

Posted on: 29 November 2023

I keep a social diary and a record of people in my life in Notion. This data goes back as far as January 2021. It is now almost December 2023, meaning I have almost 3 years of social data. A useful amount to start digging into some analysis.

Some baseline stats

  • Friends: 38
  • Family: 12
  • Family-in-law: 19
  • Acquaintances: 9
  • Partner: 1
  • Total people: 79

I consider someone an acquaintance if I've spent time with them but don't really know them that well. Partners of friends, friends of friends, etc.


The gauge of a good relationship is how recently you’ve seen a person. Here is my breakdown:

Time period last seen People
Last 3 months 36
Last 6 months 49
Last year 61
Not seen in over a year 18

Of the 79 people in my life, I’ve seen 77% of them in the last year. Of the 23% I haven't, the relationship breakdown is as follows:

Relationship People
Family 0
Friends 3
Acquaintances 5
Family-in-law 9

Family being 0 is important. I’m pleased to say I’ve managed to see my whole family at least once in the last year. Acquaintances are looser connections and not seeing some in over a year is to be expected. Friends is disappointing, but understandable. There will always be some friends you don’t get to see often, but for most, an annual meet-up feels like a necessity for keeping the friendship alive.

In some cases, I’ve dropped the ball in maintaining these friendships; in others it’s perhaps time to acknowledge these people may be simply acquaintances in your life.

Finally, family-in-law is totally reasonable for connections to be over a year apart. Sometimes it’s just weddings, funerals and milestone Birthdays where you get to see these people.


Connections is a fun property I’ve been playing around with. Connections are calculated using a Rollup in Notion. For each person, it counts the number of unique people in the “Events” relation. As an example, if I’ve seen a person 2 times, once 1-on-1, and another time in a group of 5 other people, that person would have 6 connections (technically 5, but they themselves are counted).

Friends is the biggest area where high numbers of connections are possible. My top connected people include my wife and 4 of my friends. My wife shares 74 connections, followed by 50, 48 and 37 going down the list. Those 4 people have social connections with almost half (and in some cases much more) of the other people in my life.

In my opinion connections are important. Maintaining many disperate relationships is difficult to juggle. Friends knowing other friends in your life makes social engagements easier to plan and manage.

Due to my wife’s large family, family-in-law takes up a large proportion of the other most well-connected people in my life, 7 of which share 37 connections. 6 of my family follow closely behind with 36 connections.

Why systematise it at all?

Putting and tracking people in a system can give people the ick. It can feel odd to be this organised with something as spontaneous and unique as a relationship. However, most people track their events in their calendar anyway. This system simply takes that one step further; aggregating people as well as events.

Having a distinct record for a person in your life in a system is a great place to keep track of things about that person you want to remember. Key dates in that person’s life, achievements, important things you’ve previously discussed, targets they’re working towards, gift ideas. For a key person in your life, you do this naturally in your head anyway. Keeping all this data tentatively stored in your brain, however, is a surefire way of losing this information over time.

It’s not always obvious how often you see people in your life. Leaning on an organisational system like Notion to keep track of this for sure makes this much easier. Let Notion help you to keep track of the important people in your life.

Notion also becomes a useful tool for giving you a nudge to maintain more distant relationships. Haven’t seen someone for over 6 months? Drop them a message to find out what’s going on in their life. Schedule a meet.

Holes in your past

Despite capturing close to 3 year’s worth of social data, I’m missing people I haven’t seen outside of that time period. These may be relationships I consider to be significant, at least historically, but for one reason or another, I've fallen out of touch with. Since I only add people to my system when I have a social engagement with them, these people are missing from the database.

Included in this are old work colleagues and school & university friends that I want to keep in touch with, but aren’t visible in my system. I could go back through my calendar another year or two and fill in past events and potentially add a few extra people; however this time period includes the pandemic, where social interaction was scarce.

There's an argument that 3 years without seeing someone is grounds for "removing" them from your life, but I disagree. People from your past can and do drop into your life, sometimes unexpectedly. And this injection of familiarity and nostalgia can be a wonderfully wholesome thing.

This system can’t keep track of all those loose connections from your past, but if and when they do pop back into your life, it’ll be ready to capture them!