“Friendship is the only cement that will ever hold the world together”. – Woodrow T. Wilson
I read somewhere that great friends are God’s rewards for the patience displayed while dealing with bad relatives. I have been blessed with some great friends who have made a huge difference in my life. These friends have been great companions on some unforgettable trips, provided valuable counsel during life-changing moments and shared unbridled laughter and fun.
As I look at my friend circle, I have found different kinds of friendships, each very valuable in its own way and enhancing the quality of life with its own unique flavor. In my life, I find the following types of friendships:
- Foxhole Buddies: Foxhole Buddies are friends who know everything about you and still love you unconditionally. Foxhole Buddies are those friends that if they call you, you will travel the world just to be with them. They would be willing to take the bullet for you and you would be willing to take the bullet for them. They know about your needs better than you. I have been blessed to have a friend like this in my life. I met Mukesh for the first time in college and we became instant friends and consistent project-partners for the next 4 years. Today after 30 years, nothing has changed, we have still share the same bond. He has been for me through very tough times, standing strong like the rock of Gibraltar. Recently, when he fell sick and was not recovering, his wife called me and shared her worries about his sickness and within two hours, I was on a flight to California.
- Mastermind Buddies: Mastermind buddies are committed to each other’s success. They provide the support when your commitment to your goal becomes weak and they challenge you when you are not playing to your highest potential. They have a deep understanding of your strengths and your weaknesses and they provide very valuable perspectives when you are deeply mired in the complexity of your situations. Derek has been my mastermind buddy for four years. We bonded instantly after meeting at a group coaching event. Over the years, I have been inspired by his approach to life and how he tackled some very serious challenges. He has provided very valuable support whenever I have been stuck in tough situations. He has also shared different ways to look at situations to arrive at a better outcome while dealing with business and life’s complexities.
- Passion Buddies: Passion buddies are friends who share a common passion. They are uniquely bonded in love with their passion. Any time that is spent together in sharing and working on their passions makes that moment heavenly. I have a passion for spiritual living and I have a spiritual buddy, Surendra who is unparalleled in his commitment to spiritual beliefs and principles. He reads a lot and is willing to share his deeply held spiritual views. We go on hour long nature walks and I listen with rapt attention as he shares his recent learnings and views. Every time, when I am back after those walks, I feel energized with the positive vibes that emanate from his being.
- Laughter Buddies: Laughter buddies are buddies who get together on weekends and feed on each other’s funny comments, creating an atmosphere of raucous fun. When you are in this group, you forget all your life-challenges and indulge in continuous barrage of belly laughs. I have been blessed with a friend, Sharmaji who can bring into any group a deluge of roaring laughter. Sharmaji’s unique ability is his sharp wit and unparalleled gift of cracking jokes sparing no one.
- Professional Buddies: Professional buddies are critical for professional success. In today’s professional world, it is not individuals who win or lose, it is the networks that win or lose. Professional buddies constitute a network of trusted relationships, where you are an important node as a provider and recipient of critical information. By carefully building a reputation of high-end delivery, you earn the respect of your peers and they can refer to you great opportunities and provide very valuable introductions. I have been blessed with many such relationships. The ground rule to have a strong professional network is to always focus on giving consistent value before asking for help. The best jobs and opportunities today are not advertised, they all get filled up through deep professional relationships. Tools like LinkedIn can help to build and cultivate these relationships.
As you can see, there are various dimensions of human relationships which can add immense value to the quality of your life. It is important to understand the rules of these relationships. For example, if you always share jokes on LinkedIn, you might lose some credibility. If you are always discussing and asking about business opportunities in social conversations, you might not get invited again. Follow the rules for each of these networks and you can have best of personal and professional relationships thereby transforming your personal and professional life. Please share your thoughts on what categories of friends you have in your life.