When I look at the many people I am connected to in professional social networks like LinkedIn, I am sometimes amazed at how few I could call a friend. Over our professional careers we meet and work with a ton of people, but very few earn the status of friend.
I define a friend I can trust with very confidential information. I define a friend as someone I support and they support me with endeavors we each are working on outside of work. And maybe this is too obvious, but I also define a friend as someone who has my back and would never stab me in that back.
Maybe you have a different way to define friends, and I encourage you to write down your definition so it doesn’t shift based on emotion. Then compare your definition to the people in your network. My guess is you will have a markedly smaller list of friends compared to the massive list of contacts and associates.
Why am I talking about this issue?
I have recently experienced challenges with people I thought were friends. These were people I have supported, and yet when I need them to support me I have been confronted with the reality they are nowhere to be found. And this is 100% my fault to expect an equal Quid Pro Quo from people I support.
I have a need, something that made me a valuable asset as a training professional, to help others. So I am always finding ways to support the goals of others. Yet very few people see the need to return the favor. I am writing this blog to spare you some of the heartache I have felt by suggesting you never expect anything in return for the support you give.
I’m also keeping a better record of those who support my efforts, so that my time is available to help them first. People that come to me for help in getting a job, a referral, a free bit of consulting (I’d be rich if I’d gotten paid for all the free time) no longer get my services first. Frankly I’m tired of being used and getting nothing in return from so many folks.
Friends, like I have said, never stab you in the back. But a piece of advice for those that do stab you is not to seek revenge. It is hurtful I agree. But holding that hurt inside, or worse seeking revenge is by far more damaging. Turning away and letting God deal with the injustice is a much better solution.
Now while I don’t believe I have included my faith in any previous blog, this is one area where I can testify to the many opportunities I have been given to seek revenge for an injustice from someone I thought to be a friend or associate that suffered a worse outcome than anything I could have ever done because I turned it over to God.
So for the dozen or so people that showed their true stripes this week, I forgive you. But for the record, you are also being moved off the official friends list for good.