So just how do you make friends and influence people?
Well, first off…maybe re-consider getting into HR. At least for the making friends part…unless of course, you only want to be friends with other HR people. Which is totally cool.
Lately the topic of friendship has come up around our dinner table. The kids are both at ages when friendships start to break-apart and float away in different directions. Sure, new ones are forming, but it’s not as easy or immediate as it was in grade school, when all it took was a simple: “will you be my friend?”.
Friends in grade school, high school, and even college are somewhat of a necessity as they provide us with support group. Going it lone wolf is tough at any age, but particularly then.
So why is it so hard to make friends?
This article on Lifehacker points out that we often blame our busy work schedules, family demands, and increasing demands.
But that’s only part if it isn’t it. I’m still in touch with friends that I’ve had for ages, and we don’t see each other regularly, but I get this nagging feeling like I should…so I call, we get together, and then I remember why we don’t see each other regularly. Our lives, our interests, our perspectives have changed so much.
Clearly our expectations change in what we want in a friend, as well as what we are willing to give.
So, I’ve found myself in a place where I have a really, really ridiculously small number of people on my official friend’s list. And this was worrying me, until I realized that I have been adding a lot of names to the “People I have things in common with and share interests with”. People I’m connecting with through Twitter, people I’m interacting with through blogging, people I’m talking to on the phone.
I know that I’m not likely to meet most of these people in person. But that’s okay because my expectation of a friend has changed dramatically over the past few years.
Back in the day, a friend was someone you hung out with all the time, they knew everything about you, you knew everything about them, and they had the potential to make or break your day based on whether they showed up at school or not.
Today, this kind of friendship would not only be unsustainable, but stifling. I want people who I can go to depending on what the situation calls for – support, a laugh, advice, a slap upside the head. And included in this group are the people who I’ve met online – some who have extended invites to meet, should our travel paths ever cross. And honestly, that’s exactly what I need right now.
So the kids have asked about how to make friends when you are older. And this is what I’ve been telling my kids:
You have friends now and they may or may not be there in a few years, but that’s okay, because you will meet new people who will share your new interests.
I have admitted that it will get harder to make friends, but that their definition of what is a friend and what friendship means to them will change as they do.
They need to be open to all kinds of people and all kinds of friendship.
Oh, and avoid HR.