Focus on your relationships in both business and in life.
From the barista who hands you your coffee, the accountant doing your taxes, your neighbor, to your best friend—every relationship has value. But how can you ensure that you’re building quality rather than just quantity relationships? In a culture that celebrates how many “likes” you can accrue rather than how many lives you can change, we encourage you to think deeper. Read on for our favorite ways to develop quality friendships.
Start with a compliment.
In life: It’s amazing how something as simple as, “I love your shirt” can snowball into an entire conversation. The recipient of your compliment may mention that they bought it while visiting New York, which could prompt you to share that you’ve always wanted to travel there. Your off-hand remark could be the start of a remarkable friendship. By finding one relatable topic and building from there, you’ll be on track to not just smile at the person in line next to you, but to actually get to know them.
In business: Focus on establishing lasting relationships. If you’re trying to sell a product, it’s mutually beneficial to start by finding something relatable with your potential client rather than leading with a hard sell. Don’t risk repelling someone by coming on too strongly at first. Instead, invest in building mutual relationships. Keep in mind, it’s not called “net-sitting;” networking takes work but is a wonderful way to build bonds with people you’d like to do business with for years to come.
Be an all-weather friend.
In life: Friendship is an action. Demonstrate your loyalty by being there for others without being asked. Look for opportunities to have your friend’s back—do this consistently! By reaching out to your friends more often than just on their birthday, they’ll know they can count on you. If you say something you regret or make a mistake, own it! Being vulnerable deepens trust.
In business: Always remember that you’re a team. Even if you have a disagreement or argument with a teammate, you should still support one another, especially in front of clients. Rather than wondering who’s right or wrong, look at the bigger picture. Can you come to an understanding that benefits all parties?
Travel to the top together.
In life: Be selfless rather than selfish in your pursuit of your goals. If you’re working toward a health-related milestone, include your friends in your efforts. Attend workout classes and encourage each other to bring healthier lunches to work. Developing healthy habits together makes achieving them even more special.
In business: Share in each other’s struggles, and wins. If a teammate is having trouble meeting a deadline, what can you do to help? Try splitting some of their workload up or bringing them a snack, so they stay fueled while they power through their tasks. If they need something delivered or picked up, offer to help! Exhibit selflessness and expect it in return the next time you get overwhelmed yourself (we all do!).
With all your friendships, continue to celebrate each other’s differences, behave with integrity, listen actively! Keep these tips in mind, and you’ll quickly discover that your “in life” friends and your “in business” friends start to merge into “your friends!” Also remember that before you develop quality relationships with others, you must first build a strong connection with yourself. Develop confidence and security in YOU, and then go out and find the same in other people. It’s helpful to remember that we’re all complex individuals who have unique personality traits—our relationships will be dynamic, too. Focus on building quality relationships, and enjoy the increased happiness, health, and prosperity that follows.
Another key quality of a good friend is the ability to empathize. Learn ways to increase your empathy, here.