I think it’s a tradeoff because a more diverse social circle can offer more diverse benefits, and a larger social circle is more robust (in case some members become unavailable). Being able to maintain a diverse social circle also means you can fare better in society outside that circle.
On the other hand the process will expose you more to rejection and other social liabilities. So the question is if it’s worth it or not. If it’s too hard or not rewarding enough then it might not be. Maybe we can say that people often miscalculate here because they underestimate how much easier it is to find new people than to change a person’s mind about you.
There’s lots of examples of this. Easier to move up at a new compan than to get a promotion. Easier to find more potential customers than to sell to someone who is uninterested.
So, just to clarify, I don’t think “set yourself up for abundant social success” is the same as “never risk social failure.”
What I think you want is to have abundant opportunities for positive social interactions. You want to expose your monkey brain to enough positive feedback that it believes “I can have smiles and friendly conversations literally whenever I want, I have surplus here, I have abundance here, I have more than I can use.” Then, from a place of abundance, you can experiment with riskier or more ambitious social bids, and you will be more likely to succeed because you’re not projecting neediness.
I’m not saying you should always operate in your “easy mode” comfort zone. I’m saying you should have a comfort zone, and expand outward from it.
The first, innermost comfort zone is actually not social, it’s self-soothing. It’s having a “happy place” to go to—rest, meditation, physical comfort, etc, when you’re alone and there are no demands on you. You can’t spend 24 hours a day in your happy place, but you need to have one at all in order to not be freaked out all the time.
And, then, similarly, you need secure intimate relationships as a cozy “home base”, even though in practice you won’t spend all your time at “home.” And in more professional, less personal contexts, you need solid allies, people who are already securely on board with your agenda, as a jumping-off point to build more uncertain alliances. You start with easy wins and then work up to bigger challenges. This is how disruptive innovation works. It’s actually how skill-building works in general; you wait until you’ve mastered the easy stuff almost completely before moving on to harder stuff.
I see, that’s an interesting point. I think there’s also a lot of interesting parallels with investing and risk management, like the idea of leveraging current assets into high reward/high risk plays, or people’s varying risk tolerance (need more/less of the comfort zone), or the idea of diminishing returns (going from 0 to 1 friend is a much bigger perceived jump than 100 to 101).