This essay was originally published on my website.
Friends don’t need to have similar interests. They need a common goal.
Who would you say your friends are? Would you say those who you grew up close with? Those whom you work with? Well, some of my best friends are all over the world and they all have different interests.
How can we be friends then? Don’t you have to have similar interests to be friends? Nope.
We’re friends because beyond interest, we have one common purpose, one common goal.
I took an online writing course called Write of Passage where I met these friends. In the course, students get together to write and get feedback on the weekends.
The course ended, but we kept the sessions going after one of these awesome friends named Adam took the lead and offered to host the sessions every weekend.
Recently, I’ve realized how close we’ve gotten in less than four months. I suppose if you meet and talk to the same people every weekend, that happens naturally. I also can’t believe how much I’ve learned from every single one. I feel like I’m a different and better person.
Good Friendships = Frequency
I also noticed an interesting pattern about friendships and how friendships are made. Friendships are not made with similar interests, rather friendships are made with frequency.
In our writing group, we all come from different backgrounds, different ages, different places, different languages, and different interests. We could not be more different from each other.
Yet we’ve become close friends.
How does that happen? We all come from different angles, but we all have a point that we are trying to achieve: to write consistently and publish every week.
You may think, “You all met at Write of Passage and you all wanted to become online writers.” Not true, most of us did not want to become online writers, but were looking to create opportunities, create businesses, share their lessons and stories, or change careers.
None of us like writing. I write because I can humbly share my ideas and help others and create opportunities.
Frequency and a common goal are major factors, but it’s not enough to become great friends. Something else is needed.
We can have one goal and be all happy about it, but this special factor made us close, and that is that we know we suck (at least I do) and we are all trying to be better.
We share vulnerability as a platform for friendship.
We give feedback and constructive criticism all the time. When I log in to the video chat, I know I will learn something and improve as a person and as a writer.
As we get older, it’s harder to make friends, our friends usually become people we spend the most time together. If you want to make other friends, you need to be more intentional with your time and commitments.
In The Strength of Weak Ties, Dr. Granovetter explains the importance of establishing relationships with people outside our close circles and how the biggest life opportunities come from these external connections (the so-called “weak ties”).
With the internet, the commitments become less tedious and allow you to make friends with people all around the world and soon the galaxy. You don’t need to have similar interests or be close to them. You can take advantage of the weak ties to find your most important life opportunities.
To make really good friends, focus on frequency and sharing vulnerability as a platform for friendship while remembering to befriend people outside our close circles.
Friendships are not made with similar interests. Friendships are made with frequency, vulnerability, and one greater goal.
Thanks to Saverio, Rishi, and Ayomide.
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