Friends are very influential people in your life. The conversations you have can either inspire you to set and achieve new goals or abandon them and accept the status quo. The power these people have on your life and your future should not be underestimated. Finding and making the right friends is not something best left to chance if you want to control your destiny.
It has been my experience that some of my friends push me forward. For example I have a few friends that are actively on top of happenings with junior oil companies and when I hang out with them I get the occasional stock tip which is worth investigating. In order to contribute to those conversations I need to be doing research myself and learn about the industry. As a result I learn valuable new things that could result in long term financial gains.
Other friends of mine drink, party and play video games most of the time. They’re fun to hang out with but can make me feel like a jerk when I have work to do. The only thing either of us get out of it is a few laughs and a hangover the next morning.
Finding and making friends that will help you achieve your personal goals faster is something that few people take any initiative on.
One thing to keep in mind is that friendship requires work to maintain. Provide value to your friends without expecting anything in return and without “keeping score”.
Where to find Friends
There are two great ways to meet people who may become a great friend.
Ask your other friends. They may already know someone who has already accomplished what your goals are or have similar interests. Getting an introduction through friends is a fantastic way to start warm with the trusted opinion of a common friend to help bond.
Find a meetup, social group or volunteer organization to join. Check out meetup.com for local groups, perhaps join the chamber of commerce in your area for business connections, find a related volunteer group, or join a board. You’ll never make friends with the people you want to if you never get a chance to talk to them – so surround your self with good people.
How to build Friendships
People are interesting animals and the psychology involved in friendship is rather fascinating and complex. But there are few key triggers to keep in mind.
People don’t feel like 50/50 is fair. Friendship is a give and take but if you could count the giving and taking between two people who gave and took exactly equal amounts then asked them what their perception was chances are they would both say they give more than they get. The sooner you can stop tracking how much you get out of a friendship and instead focus on how much more you can give the better off your friendships will be.
Consistant communication. Friendships whither and die without attention. It doesn’t take much – maybe a birthday email, Christmas card, pass on a joke every now and then or a congratulations message if you find out something good happened to them. These short messages take very little effort nowadays with Facebook helping to track all this stuff for you. It’s important to show you take an interest in your friends lives, and continue to be on their radar.
Introduce people. Constantly be thinking of who you can introduce where both people stand to benefit from a friendship. Providing introductions is perhaps the secret weapon of making friends. By bringing two people together there is a chance that big things could happen. Million dollar business deals could be inked, new product ideas created and sales made could be attributed to your helpful introductions. The more people hear about you being the connector the more people will seek you out. This can and will snowball you into success.
Listen. If most people like to talk then who’s going to listen? Being a good active listener is an incredibly valuable skill and one that helps build relationships.
There you go. A bunch of my best tips for choosing and keeping the friends you need to be successful. One last thing though. it’s worth taking the effort to learn and practice any of these skills that you don’t already have. It may not be easy or feel natural but will pay off in droves.