Your Friendship Style Can Harm Your Business and Career.

two young girls holding hands standing on a porch

For the second time in as many days, a friend mentioned “accountability partner.”

The second time I heard the term, I asked, “is this a new coaching phrase?”

Then I remembered days before, during a chat with a sorority sister, I confessed, “I may not be the friend you need.”  I felt that I had fallen short of being a good friend to her in the past.

The only way you know if you’re slacking at being a friend is to know what type of friend you are.

I hadn’t considered my style until I read this story of friendship. The story touched me deeply, and I apologize in advance if my retelling doesn’t do it justice.

A distraught woman had experienced a family tragedy and needed to talk to her best friend.  Her friend spoke briefly with her on the phone. She then abruptly told the woman she had to go. The woman hung up, puzzled by the fact her friend didn’t make time to speak with her in her time of need. Her grief increased as she had to shoulder her burden alone.  A few hours later, the woman’s friend was standing at her door. The woman’s friend told her, – you needed me, and I had to get to the airport to catch the last flight out to be here with you. ‬

The woman in that story is the superhero action-figure kind of friend. Many of us believe we’re that type of friend. It is essential, however, to be honest with yourself.   You might be selling yourself short and denying the world of the best friend you can be.

In the age of social network platforms, we’ve become accustomed to using the term “friend” and “follower” interchangeably – but no one should take those terms lightly.  “Follower” carries its weight because it implies you’re a leader who comes equipped with its burden. “Friend” means “labor of love” and “responsibility.”

Even in its cavalier usage, I focused on being the best friend I could be.  But until recently, I believed I was slacking in my duties.  Possibly because I never included “accountability” in the friendship equation. 

So, I admitted as much to my sorority sister ‬by saying to her,

‪”Here’s what comes naturally to me – I’m the friend that listens and commits your words to memory… and good or bad, I will remind you of those words.”‬

No sooner did I reflect on those words did it reveal how I get results in a professional setting. It appears I carry my friendship traits into my career. Unfortunately, I hadn’t noticed that one trait helped me professionally. But without strengthening that skill, it also hindered me at times.   

Since all relationships are transactional and all selling is social – whether you work a 9 to 5, are looking for a job, or are an entrepreneur, your friendship style can assist you in achieving your professional goal or push it further away.  

So, it’s essential to know the “friend” style.

My friendship style manifest in my professional career as an ability to “listen” first, “respond,” second, sometimes asking for clarification, and then using that information to help that customer (internal/external) achieve their goal.

Based on that skill alone, I’ve aced every in-person job interview I’ve attended.

I faltered when I stopped actively listening.  

That’s when a lover or friend blindsided me and left. Or an employer terminated my position, or I lost out on a lucrative contract.

How we friend might be a super-power to help us overcome an obstacle and achieve our goal.  First, we must understand the nature of that “friend” skill and how we use it to our benefit.

So, ask yourself,

“How do I “friend”? ‬

Yes, I turned a noun into a verb, but “friend” like “love” is best expressed by action.

And it’s your action that will help you get what you desire.