Check out the Circles of Support visual above and consider doing an inventory of personal supports for yourself or someone you love today. This tool can be used for everyday situations, emergency planning, and in preventing social isolation.

Personal independence can’t exist without social interdependence.


People tend to fall into four categories in our lives:


The Circle of Intimacy

This circle is made up of people we love. People we feel safe with, are vulnerable with. This includes very close family members, partners, and very close friends.

The Circle of Friendship

This circle includes people who are good friends – people we have coffee or tea with, go out to dinner with, spend social time engaging with.

The Circle of Participation

This circle comprises acquaintances from many different areas of our lives – school, work, church, social clubs. There’s an opportunity for these people to move into the friendship or intimacy circles over time.

The Circle of Exchange

This circle includes those who are paid to be in our lives. Doctors, teachers, social workers, case managers, providers, etc. These relationships are purely transactional.

Are there areas where you have many connections?
Areas where you have just a couple or maybe none?
Are there people in your circle of participation you might want or need to reach out to when considering backup and emergency planning right now?
Are there people who have moved outside of your inner circle that you might want to reconnect with?
Who can we help you connect with?

Click here to download a PDF version of the blank Circles of Support tool.

Print it out and add the names of the people who fall into each circle in your life. This is a great way to inventory your support circles – and consider where you might focus on bringing more people into your network.

The concept of Circles of Support has been around for forty years, the brainchild of disability leaders Judith Snow and Marsha Forest. We are so grateful for their work.

Read Judith’s incredible story here: