Your Friendship Style Can Harm Your Business and Career.

a photo of two young girls standing on a porch holding hands
“Best Friends”

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.

In the age of social network platforms, we’ve become accustomed to using the term “friend” and “follower” interchangeably – but those terms shouldn’t be taken lightly.  “Follower” carries its own weight because it implies you’re a leader which comes equipped with its own burden. “Friend” implies “labor of love” and “responsibility.”

In its cavalier usage, I focused on being the best friend I could.   But until recently, I believed I was slacking in my duties.

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

‪I hadn’t considered my style until I read this story of friendship.  I would share if I could find it. The story touched me deeply and my retelling won’t do it any justice.

Still, here’s the short and skinny as best I can recall.

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 obviously 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. Maybe many of us believe we’re that type of friend.  It is important, however, to be honest with yourself.   You might be selling yourself short and denying the world of the best friend you can be.

‪Two friends in as many days “identified “accountability” to me… and when I was speaking to my sorority sister I admitted as much ‬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.”‬

Aside: I believe we all have things on our heart that we’re here to accomplish. Those goals come through in our conversation whether we mean for them to slip.   Sometimes, we ignore our words and get in our way.  That’s when we need a course correction to get back on track.

So how does a friendship style help or hinder us in business?  Well, all commercial transactions are based on relationships.   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 achieving your professional goal or push it further away.  So, it’s important to know “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.

It’s only when I stopped listening did I falter.  It was then I was blindsided by a lover or friend who ended up leaving. It was then I was laid off or lost out on a lucrative contract.

How we friend just might be a super-power to help us achieve that goal we’re struggling with.  First,  we must understand the nature of that “friend” skill and how you 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 get you what you desire.