A Little Help From My…

by Frost on June 5, 2011

Young adulthood is a time for making friends. It’s also a time for losing them.

As a child, you never really pick your friends. Fate picks them for you based on where you live, what school you go to, and whether or not you can throw a football. For most, “childhood” extends into college and beyond.

One of the perks of adulthood is that you get to choose your friends. Since who you spend time with is ultimately one of the core determinants of the person you become, it’s an important perk to take advantage of.

Do you want to spend the rest of your life in the same town, working for the same company? You can do it. Start a bowling team with high school buddies who won’t torment you with stressful challenges to dream bigger.

Do you want to slavishly climb the corporate ladder? Network with others on the same track as you, whether they’re at your level, a little ahead, or a little behind. It’s probably a better investment of your time than anything you do at your desk.

But once you have goals and a life plan that are unconventional, finding a like-minded peer group is more difficult. If you want to play in the NHL, compose a platinum album, or write a best-seller, you’ll have to say “Hi, I’m ____” to a lot of people before you meet someone else who thinks like you, and who has the ability and work ethic to follow through. Judged by their actions rather than their thoughts and words, the vast majority of people are average and will remain so for their entire lives.

I want friends who teach, inspire and encourage me. I also want friends who look for the same from me. In some friendships, one person – a mentor -  does significantly more of the teaching than the other – a protege. Most of what I know in life, I’ve learned from watching people more successful than I am. And here’s an open secret: Successful people trip over themselves to help out a rookie with potential.

So does this mean I’m trying to find more ambitious, more inspiring replacements for my current friends? Not at all.

When I meet a fun, interesting person who’s starting a business similar to (but not competing against) my own and writing a blog about it, I want to have lunch with him. I want to share ideas, laugh at each other’s missteps, and subconsciously convince ourselves that what we’re doing is not weird.

But will I call him when I come home from work and my wife has changed the locks and filed a restraining order? When I’m out of money and need a meal and a place to stay?* Probably not.

There are some things in life that you need real friends for. Friends that fate made for you in your childhood, and have stuck around since. It’s not impossible for adult friendships to take on the closeness and permanency that characterizes decades-old childhood friendships. But it’s tough.

Fortunately, we all have a lot of childhood friends. High school, undergrad, and our first grown-up jobs: Each brings a fresh set of 10+ friends. As you mature, you’ll naturally gravitate and grow closer to the ones you identify with.Most of the time, anyways. If you have four best friends working alongside you to conquer the world, having a fifth who just wants to sell TVs and smoke weed won’t kill you, especially if he’s the only one who would help you bury a body some day. At least, he’ll get you a deal on a flatscreen.

My circle of friends has some remarkable people, and many of them are doing various sorts of weird, awesome things with their lives. There’s a budding hip-hop star. A few globetrotters. A pirate.  A few trying to escape the 9-5 grind and pre-set life of complacency and routines. There are even some who are fully embracing the conventional life path of career and family, and believe it or not, I have the utmost respect for them.

The important thing is that each adds something of value.

What are your friends adding to your life? Do they suck? Get new ones. Are they great, but stagnant? Hold onto them, but find a new peer group to inspire you.

Lucky bastard that I am, I’ve spent the past decade watching the friends I made as a child – at school, camp, and college -  grow into some incredible people. If you’re similarly blessed, good for you. If not, it’s probably one of the biggest factors holding you back in life. Fix it.

*Neither of these is realistic since I will  never cohabitate let alone get married, and welfare seems to be generous enough for cigarettes, booze and cable TV. But you get the idea.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

TL;DR June 15, 2011 at 2:49 am
Ezra Moon June 7, 2011 at 6:22 pm

If you got hobbies it’s easy to meet people, both guys and girls. I joined a improv class and still hang out with some of the girls there. I joined an MMA club, and I’m still good friends with two guys from there.

The thing is no matter how many people I meet, I’m still the tightest with my boys from primary school, it’s just an unspoken bond.

Anyways great article man

boss June 7, 2011 at 11:42 am

I havent finished reading the article yet, but damn..what an article,…thanks a lot

Frost June 7, 2011 at 4:26 pm

Wait until you get to end!

Seriously though, it’s like 500 words. What happens when you try to read an actual book?

Laws of the Cave June 6, 2011 at 11:06 am

Awesome post Frost. I am actually in the middle of drafting a post similar to this one.

Your mention of a friend who would help you bury a body had me laughing, but those guys are awesome for sure.

Frost June 7, 2011 at 4:17 pm

Thanks! From an LotC perspective, humans are evolved to desperately want to be a part of a close-knit band of ~50 close friends and family, and feel lonely and isolated if we don’t have one. So contra your post (thanks for the link btw), I think close friends are absolutely necessary for good mental health.

Frost June 6, 2011 at 10:59 am

Good luck! Sometimes old friends surprise you. If not, you need to get out and pick up dudes, no homo.

Jeff June 6, 2011 at 6:45 pm

Call me weird, but I’ve always had a harder time making male friends than picking up girls. Most people already have a close circle of friends by the time they graduate college and no real desire to make new ones.

Also, the old “no homo” thing is a big reason why guys don’t just go up to other guys and say hey I like you, let’s be friends.

Would love to hear more thoughts on this in the future. My lack of a good social circle has always been an obstacle to my game.

Frost June 7, 2011 at 4:24 pm

Not weird at all. Making guy friends is hard. IMO the best way is to bang girls, and meet their guy friends.

Social circle game can be lucrative, but it shouldn’t be your focus. Not enough options, too high of consequences if you fuck up. Until you’re confident that your social skills are awesome, I suggest letting female friends be female friends. Meeting new girls is way easier than making new friends.

Jeff June 7, 2011 at 8:34 pm

I meant a lack of a fun social circle to go out and meet new girls with at bars, etc. Not hitting on my existing female friends :)

Interesting tip about befriending a girls’ male friends. I have a girlfriend now and I’ve always hesitated about befriending her friends because I’d likely lose them if we broke up.

Frost June 8, 2011 at 10:07 am

Ah. Social circle game usually refers to meeting and banging girls within your circle of friends. C’mon man, how do you expect to be good with women if you aren’t fully up to date on the latest lingo and acronyms? I jest.

Anyways I may write a post on this alter, but for now my best piece of advice is to treat making guy friends like picking up girls. Introduce yourself to a lot of guys, present yourself well, and screen for qualities that you want in a friend. Your gf’s peripheral guy friends are one good source, but also check out Ezra’s post below.

Cheers and good luck!

Frost

whiteboykrispy June 6, 2011 at 10:31 am

Good stuff, I needed this.

Being in a transitory stage from college to the real world, away from the crew and back in the land of high school “friends”, is tough.

I gotta find me some more reliable friends back here that actually bring something to the table.

Princeps June 6, 2011 at 12:20 am

Good shit. I was just thinking today that I needed to trade in a few of mine for better models.

On a mostly unrelated note, what are your thoughts on building confidence? I realize that is the fundamental principle of “Game.” All the game bloggers go on and on about being confident, but how does a somewhat artistic, introverted type become confident?

“Fake it” can sort of work, especially if you’ve got a couple of beers in your stomach, but one can’t be buzzed 24/7.

Frost June 6, 2011 at 10:58 am

I think the only way to get confidence is to actually improve yourself. You can “fake” confident behaviours, but really that’s just improving your social skills. I don’t really like the idea of confidence as this magical nebulous quality, but rather your body rewarding you for useful behaviours.

Cheers,

Frost

J.W. Black June 7, 2011 at 5:00 pm

I agree with this point. You can reinforce the thoughts of confidence with literature to some extent, but a majority is going to come from ‘doing’ things that lead to more confidence – mastery of the body and a skill or two coupled with the proper literature is really the key.

Regards,
JW BLACK

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