Social Boundaries

Session 5


The Yellow Handshake Circle (Neighbors)

The Yellow Handshake Circle includes your learner’s neighbors, teachers/coaches and peers. In this session, we will focus on neighbors. In the next session (Session 6), we will focus on the rest of the crew!

The three “Ts” for the Yellow Handshake Circle are:

  • TALK. Your learner can greet neighbors and engage in small talk. They can not ask personal questions or talk about personal things.
  • TRUST. Your learner can have only limited trust of neighbors they do not know well.
  • TOUCH. Your learner can share a handshake or fist bump only once when greeting a neighbor. Touch is limited to hands and there is no hugging.


  • Neighbors are people who live in close proximity to your home. In most instances, neighbors are placed in the Yellow Handshake Circle. However, you might have a closer relationship with a neighbor that moves them into a closer circle, such as the Green Far Away Hug Circle. You can use the six questions we have been discussing to help determine circle placement.

The Six Deciding Factors are:

    1. HOW LONG have I known the person?
    2. HOW OFTEN do I see the person?
    3. HOW MANY common bonds do I have with the person?
    4. HOW WELL do I know the person?
    5. HOW DEEP are my feelings for the person?
    6. HOW SAFE am I with the person?
  • Once you move beyond the Blue Hug Circle, your world of circles will be different from your learner’s world of circles. With respect to neighbors, this might make a difference. For example, a neighbor might be your good friend, but not emotionally close to your learner. Thus, that neighbor would be in your Green Far Away Hug Circle, but in your learner’s Yellow Handshake Circle.
  • Note that over time, you can reassess placement using the six deciding factors. Some people do move into closer circles as they become more known to your learner.

Learning Objectives

Participants will learn/understand:

  • Which neighbors are in the Yellow Handshake Circle
  • The three “T” rules for the Yellow Handshake Circle
  • The sign for the Yellow Handshake Circle

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