Minimum Viable Friendship (Video)

As an introverted loner, I often use a "Minimum Viable Friendship" approach with acquaintances.

Call me heartless, but I know I'm a cyborg.



Subtitles are also available in the video.

I moved from a small, beach, college town to Atlanta, Georgia, and I never realized until I moved how much of a loner I can be. To the point where I legitimately don't feel like I need very much social time. I'm the oldest of six kids and I've not had a room to myself except for maybe one or two years of my entire life, and now I live alone in an apartment, and I love it so much.

As a society, we seem to have this concept of having a lot of friends. You always need to meet new people. You need to "expand your friend horizons" or whatever, act extroverted, be bubbly and loud and, I don't know, just generally energetic.

So! Today I'm going to talk about one of the most introverted metaphors I have: Minimum Viable Friendship.

In software development, there's a term "minimum viable product," MVP. It means the core product that you can get out there, that has as few features as possible, while still being useful to whoever you're giving it to.

In this metaphor, minimum viable friendship means how little can you do with someone to still be their friend, not hurt their feelings at all, but at the same time you aren't obligated to text them, or to hang out with them.

I do realize it's very important to have people in your life. However, I'm not the type of person who needs a group of fifteen close friends or anything. This sometimes makes me worried, am I not social enough? Do I not care enough about other people? But I don't think that's true. Because I always try to be polite to people. If they talk with me, I'll talk back. If they message me, I'll message back. Most of the time. I think there's a balance to be had.

I guess I want to make this as a defense of minimum viable friendship and how it is not a bad thing in your life if you don't actually want to strike up a friendship with everyone you ever talk with, ever. That limits you. It dilutes the friends you have when you have so many of them. It dilutes the conversations you have with them and how close you can get.

If you would like to be my minimum viable friend, subscribe to this channel. I consider that to reach the threshold of friendship, without having to go beyond and ever interact in any form. Unless, of course, you wanted to add a comment to this video. [EDIT: Or comment on this blog post.]

Do you consider yourself to be an introvert, or an extrovert? Do you find yourself MVF-ing people, or are you always looking to talk with anyone who's available? Let me know, and thanks for watching!



For the Myers Briggs nerds (like me!), I'm an INTP. I may make future videos about Myers Briggs, personality typing (pros and cons), and being an INTP.

Here's an blog post I wrote with some introverted friends: Have a Cup of Tea with Four INTPs.


INTPs are the obsessively logical and creative folks of the Myers Briggs personality assessment. Read this post to have a virtual tea party with four INTPs — myself and three friends — and read our answers to ten questions about our lives as INTPs.