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The nature of friendship breeds success

June 13, 2012
They are probably best friends since they were...

They are probably best friends since they were kids. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I think the most important element to true friendship is openness.

When I look back at all my relationships, the hallmark of each one was that the other person and I felt comfortable with discussing any topic or element of our lives.

I have a wide range of friends, all from VERY different backgrounds, all with very different perspectives on life. But the one unifying element of my friendships  is how open we are with each other, no topic is taboo. There are the things we want to talk about and the things we HAVE to talk about.

If I screw up, I know I can talk to friends about it without fear. Oh, they’ll come down on me for being stupid, and then they’ll help me figure out the mess.

This openness doesn’t come from close proximity or regular conversation. I might go months or years without talking to one friend or another, but it doesn’t matter. I know I can leap into any subject and the conversation will be beneficial, whether it be a neutral topic, a blessing or a colossal screw up.

In the relationships I have with people who aren’t open and receptive to discussing our collective lives, there always exists a sense of reservation, which often breeds distrust, whether warranted or not.

However, openness and honesty with each other breeds the feeling of being part of a collective effort.

I’m not suggesting you have to unload everything onto your friend, it just means you can. These relationships based on openness are a great resource, because each of us have a different perspective, which can be useful in figuring things out. This isn’t to say you’re going to get good advice from your friend. Several of my friends are morons, I wouldn’t take their advice on certain topics if you paid me, but the process of the conversation and their unique point of view helps me to see the bigger picture in whatever issue I’m trying to master.

You know what kind of person who makes mistakes repeatedly? The person who thinks they know exactly what they’re doing and doesn’t engage someone else for an opinion. These are all the people who “whatever” you when you approach them with an issue.

I routinely go to people I trust for advice because they have life experiences I’ve never had, they’ve been through things I don’t understand. To not go to SOMEONE in both good and bad situations is a recipe for failure.

Does this kind of openness require the element of friendship? Not at all!

I think being open and engaging is a hallmark of most successful people. Folks who naturally share a back and forth with others seem to have a good handle on the world. I don’t think that means everyone they meet becomes their friend, but I do think it creates positive experiences and opportunities.

Therefore, the hallmark of friendship is also the hallmark of success.

Sheldon forgot openness in his algorithm, mutual interest doesn’t breed friendship or success. As he later finds out.

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