I remember losing my first friendship. It wasn’t a sudden thing that jolted me; it was a slow fade – so slow I hardly even noticed it. I was sitting in the car and I’d just had a meltdown and was feeling like I needed to talk.
Reaching for my phone, I realized with dread that I’d isolated myself so much over the past 12 months that I didn’t have anyone to call. Name after name floated through my brain. I even scrolled through my contacts list to see if there was anyone who would listen to my problems and understand them… but I came up empty.
The one special friendship I thought would last forever was, in this moment, broken, and I had done it by shutting out my best friend. While she was patient, and allowed me to rebuild with her, it took time and effort that I shouldn’t have had to put her through.
Here are some fairly easy steps to maintaining your friendships while you’re building your empire.
1. Pick up the phone and text or call them.
It might not seem like a huge deal, but we get so swamped with client calls, emails, and projects that sometimes we forget to have a normal conversation with our friends. Another tip? Send a text and simply say, “How are you?” This goes a long way toward showing them you still care, even though your path is really full of meetings and strategy sessions right now.
2. Have a physical coffee in a physical coffee shop.
I feel like I have to specify or you’ll run off and book virtual coffee dates, if you’re anything like me! There’s something so draining, at times, about putting on clothes and makeup and going out of the house in those cute boots you bought a month ago but haven’t worn. It might even seem a bit daunting. Once you get out and feel the fresh air, taste the coffee, and see your friend’s smile, it’ll all be worth it.
3. Ask them about them.
Don’t tell them about your business first. Ask them how they are. Ask them what’s going on in their life. One tip that has helped my friendships stay crazy nurtured is making our friendship about them during this time in my life. I’m currently going through something that they don’t understand don’t know how to interact with, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t pour into them as their friend. They will do their best, if they are good friends, to remember to ask about what is to you your “baby”, but they might forget and it’s up to us to let that be alright.
4. Stop waiting for them to care.
As I said above, this is not about you. Maintaining this friendship is very one-sided at this point in time, and perhaps it’ll be different for you, but for me, I discovered very early on that they simply don’t care about my path in life right now as much as I do, and likely never will.
This point is harsh, but I mean only to prepare you for what you might start to see down the road. When you dedicate your waking hours to building an empire that is someday going to support you while you do whatever it is that fills your heart – travel, teach, volunteer, etc – and they don’t spend their time the same way, it makes for an unbalanced relationship.
It’s okay. It’ll balance out eventually. Just be okay with it not being your dream friendship right now.
Now, you may be like me, and have one or two phenomenal friends who always ask about your business and always seem (or pretend to be) interested. They interact with my story – with my situation, and that’s special. It’s not normal, at least not in my lifetime.
Hopefully these tips will help you understand the changes you may or may not need to make moving forward. My last tip is a seemingly obvious tip, but doesn’t always make sense when you’re starting out.
5. Make biz friends.
While you can’t really talk about funnels or lead generation with your high school friends, you can talk about those topics with a biz friend! She might be in a completely different state, or have kids while you don’t (or vice versa), and she might be a total punk rocker while you’re a total Betty Cooper, but you will have so much in common that you will likely overlook it and simply be thrilled that someone can speak your language! I love my biz friends and have since had meetups with them in different states, attended retreats with them, and hosted classes as their co-host.
It makes all the difference in the world to have someone you can chat with about your day to day life as an entrepreneur. And while it might seem a little bit of work to run so many friendships, you’ll be thankful for maintaining the old and building the new when you’re a little further down the road and can look back on how each type of friendship helped you grow.