“Don’t Confuse Your Circle With Your Audience”

Friendships, Motivation and Inspiration

Awhile back I came across a great quote on someone’s Facebook page that said: “Don’t confuse your circle with your audience” (originally from TD Jakes). I instantly connected with this short, yet significant, statement based on my personal experiences in dealing with certain people especially because I have a tendency to be a “people pleaser.” I”m learning now more than ever that it matters less when it comes to pleasing others and it matters more when it comes to pleasing God.

Don’t let social media confuse you. 

First thing I asked myself when I read that quote was “What is the difference between my circle and my audience and where do I place certain people in my life?” Based on my definition, in general my “circle” is made up of those I like to call “my clique” or “my crew.” They’re the ones I know are going to hold it down for me no matter what and after my husband and mom of course, they’re the ones I trust most. Just like the synonyms describe a circle, the friendship is continuous and I feel surrounded by their love and the same is true for them.

“Audiences,” on the other hand, are more like spectators and viewers; not necessarily those who read our blogs and support our work (even though you must beware of cyber bullies), but even in real life they’re the ones that watch from a distance. They think they know you and have you all figured out because they know your past, they know where you came from or they just happen to follow you on social media. Depending on how transparent we are on social media, it’s possible to reveal more than we realize about who we are and what we care about.

Most “audience members”, however, only observe and analyze you through short snippets of your life whether through social media, brief run-ins or even based on what they hear or assume about you. Some even watch from the sidelines and secretly plot against you or simply follow you on social media just to keep up with what’s going on in your life. #SilentSpectators

With so many social media platforms today, it’s easy to become consumed with our “following” and the audiences, and think everyone we’re connected to is a part of our inner circle. If you’re not careful, you’ll find it difficult to differentiate between your audience and your circle; which can lead to distrust, heartache, disappointment or even betrayal.

Whether they like all of your pictures, status updates, share your posts or none at all, none of that should be an indicator of your true friends. Point blank: Followers aren’t substitutes for friends. That’s not to say that a person in your circle can’t necessarily be a part of your audience as well because there are definitely instances of overlap when it comes to your circle and your audience. However, there are some people in our lives – whether online or not – who we know fall into the audience category versus the circle category.

For example, have you ever known someone who calls or texts every blue moon and acts as if they’re interested in what’s going on in your life, but you know deep down inside they’re just calling to meddle or to talk about themselves? What about the people who claim to be your friend but they don’t ever seem to be happy for you when good things happen in your life? Even worse, what about the people who claim to want the best for you, but you know they’re secretly hating, jealous or talking bad about you behind your back? That’s why we have to be mindful of those who portray themselves as friends but really aren’t.

It’s like the old adage: “It’s not about quantity; it’s about quality” – and the same holds true when it comes to friendship. The older I get, the more I realize who is truly in my circle – whether they’ve been there for 20 years plus or 2 years. Believe me, I’ve had friends on both ends of the spectrum and sometimes the ones you think will be the first to support are sometimes the last. The ones you thought you could trust end up being the ones who betray you.

I can say I’m truly blessed to have friends who I consider practically family because of the relationships we’ve developed over the years…and even the new friends I’ve made along the way. That’s not to say that it’s always been perfect or that it will be, but it’s the relationships that continue to grow and flourish that matter most.

I’ve learned where certain people fall in my life or in my “friends category” (e.g., best/closest friends, girlfriend, “fun” friend, etc.). For some people, I stopped expecting different results from the same people and accepted them for face value. Once you’ve accepted this, then you’ll know what to expect from certain types of people; which will ultimately help you avoid potential hurt or disappointment rom those who fail to meet your standards or expectations of friendship.

On the flip side, I’ve also lost some friends along the way for whatever reason – whether it was because of our differences, betrayal or because we just grew apart. Nevertheless, I’m aware now, more than ever, of the differences between my circle and my audience.

The Difference Between Your Audience and Your Circle 
  • There will always be some type of distance between you and your audience and some people you’ll have to love from a distance, but when it comes to your circle there will always be love no matter the distance.
  • Your audience is waiting for you to fail, but your circle is waiting for you to succeed.
  • Your audience will take advantage of public forums to call you out or send cryptic messages via status updates or tweets, but your circle will choose to handle issues privately.
  • Your audience will hate on you, but your circle will be happy for you.
  • Your audience will try to hinder you, but your circle will try to help you.
  • Most times, you’ll feel like you have to put on a show for your audience, but your circle will always feel genuine and you can always be yourself around them.
  • Your audience will talk about you, but your circle will speak up for you.
  • Your audience won’t know the whole story and will only try to judge you, but your circle sees, knows and understands your story – the highs and the lows – and even helps you through it.
  • Your audience may not stay around for a long period of time, but your circle is built to last.
  • Just like a fan in an audience, sometimes they will turn on you and even “boo” you (i.e., hate on you), but your circle will always be there and they definitely won’t turn on you.
  • Your audience will stand in front of you, but your circle will stand in front, behind and beside you.
  • Your audience likes you for what they see or assume about you, but your inner circle loves you for who you are on the inside and despite what they may know about you.
  • Your audience will discourage you, but your circle will encourage you.
  • Your audience will only “hitch a ride” and tag along when it’s convenient or beneficial for them and when they see you going somewhere, but your circle will “ride or die” no matter what.

Just like the audiences on morning and late-night talk shows change every day, your real-life audience members will change as well in your own life. But having a tight, loyal circle means having a group of friends for life.


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