Good friends are not only essential to enjoying life but also to finding success. As Jim Rohn is famously quoted, you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. We all know that friends are invaluable, but often, in today’s world, our social interactions can settle into the superficial and lead to more casual acquaintances rather than deep friendships. The great potential of friendship to enhance our lives—as the following examples show—won’t be realized without taking deliberate steps to grow your circle and strengthen existing ties.
Learning new skills
Many first-time car owners would love to get more comfortable with working under the hood to troubleshoot their cars. But if you have zero prior knowledge, online tutorials can only get you so far in learning this new skill. Buying auto repair equipment and other tools will help. Learning from friends who already know how to change oil, tires, sparkplugs, and do other basic maintenance tasks will, however, greatly accelerate the process.
Any skill can become much easier to acquire if you have a more experienced buddy to help you along the learning curve. To maximize this potential, you can expand your circle of friends by building on shared interests. Volunteer for causes you care about, join local clubs, or attend events. In such ways, it will be easier to find common ground with people, make new friends, and expose yourself to new skills and pathways to learning.
“A friend in need is a friend indeed,” as the saying goes; everybody knows good friends are there for you when you’re down. Not only will friends help you out of a bad situation, but they can also step in to prevent matters from getting out of hand. Studies show that people who have low self-control can manage to overcome temptations by relying on their more disciplined friends. With so many things going on each day, our reserves of willpower can be easily drained, leading to poor judgment. So a friend keeping us from making a bad decision is valuable. Just don’t forget that friendship, like all relationships, is a two-way street. See to it that you give back (or pay forward) and intervene when you feel your friends are about to make a wrong decision; this strengthens the relationship and ensures that you can expect the same in turn.
Boosting performance and morale
Another benefit of strong friendships that we know about subconsciously, yet we fail to harness each day properly, is motivation. When you have positive, high-quality social interactions at work, you’re more likely to feel the sought-after morale boost and perform better each day. Studies show thatloneliness in the workplace is linked to employees having a weaker relationship with colleagues, managers, and the organization as a whole. This has nothing to do with being a loner or introvert; it’s all about the effort. Anyone will find those good relationships require investment. Put in the effort to make friends at work, step outside that isolated social comfort zone, and get to know your colleagues better. Be helpful and receptive to help; go out of your way to initiate social exchanges. In turn, you’ll find that it’s easier to go beyond your role, do even more, and be happier at work.
You may have a lot of friends on social media, but how many are your real friends in person? With these steps to cultivate good friendships, you can enrich your life in more ways than one.