On Sunday I posted about friends that need dumping. Although today’s post title suggests yet another demographic to avoid, I want to go one step further and talk about the friends with which we should surround ourselves. In our quest for savvy, global do-gooding one our biggest priorities has to be finding the right friends.
A good 80% of my job as a professional fundraiser involves networking and relationship building. I have found that applying lessons of professional networking to my personal friendships pays off. Before you get too worked up, I am not preaching being fake or manipulative. I am talking about being productive and being intentional.
As lifestyle guru Tim Ferriss says, “surround yourself with smiling, positive people who have absolutely nothing to do with work.”
Why Not to Pick Work People - Where to find good friends? For starters, a good general rule is that you should avoid the workplace. Not that everyone you work with is a complete moron. But you do need a break from reminders of work… even if they come in the form of cool colleagues.
Easier Said Than Done – The question of how to make good friends gets tougher when it is over-analyzed. Letting it happen organically is the best way to go. The catch is that, even if it needs to happen naturally, you DO have to make an almost unnatural effort if you want to connect with the right people. Average efforts result in average networks. Chemistry is a mystery but without lots of activity, chemistry won’t have a chance to do its magic. So make the effort to go to where people are. Meet, interact, connect over things held in common. You’ll find some great people.
How to Attract Them – There is something about positive energy that attracts more of the same. Fun people don’t hang out with downers and vice versa. If you want smiling, happy friends, then develop a spring in your step. There is something irresistible about positivity. Regardless of your culture or nationality, positive energy transcends barriers and multiplies.
The Difference Between Energy and Cheese – There’s a little caveat that I would like to add to my last point, however. As this is CultureMutt I do want to point out that it is important to study a culture before trying to win friends in it. As an example, I am going to pick on Americans. American warmth and “excitement” often looks like unmitigated, goofy cheese when it is taken abroad. Tone it right down. Be yourself minus a few notches. A little homework on how to convey your energy goes a long way.
How do you attract the people that you want in your inner circle? Let me know in the comments….