EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

I had an interesting comment from one of our members of long standing several years ago to the effect that no one was calling him. Of course, the ultimate revenge would be to give all of you his phone number and ask you to call our very own “lonesome George,” but that would be mean.

While it is certainly mathematically possible that no one in The FENG thought his background was of interest for networking purposes, I am more concerned with the idea that he is waiting around for the phone to ring so he can help others.

As we all know, except for the very brave souls who make good use of our “Members in Need of Assistance” section, there are many members out there who need help but don’t ask. And, I am not just talking about those who “don’t know what they don’t know.”

I have seen them at meetings, and I am sure you have seen them as well. Now we all know there is this “guy thing” out there that “real men” don’t ask for help, which is why before GPS so many of us were wandering the face of the earth instead of stopping at the local gas station, but as a member of our august body, please know that you “have a license to kill.”

Just as 007 had his license to stop evil doers, you have a license that was issued to you as a newly minted member of The FENG to seek out others who need help and force them to talk to you about their problems. Okay, perhaps force them is too strongly worded. Let’s go with persuade them. (Many members of long standing don’t remember getting this license, but then we are all so old, we are forgetting lots of things these days.)

As someone who would like help, but is afraid to ask, there are a few things you can do that will make you appear more approachable. Let me ask if your name badge for our meetings is readable and has a “friendly” name. If your name is Charles, does it say Chuck? If it is Robert does it say Bob or Rob? If you think this makes no difference at all, think again. The people around you are very sensitive to the subtle cues you are putting out.

Are you filled with false pride in your resume or 90-second announcement? Let me start you out with the idea that you are not required to accept anyone’s advice. That said, you would do well to LISTEN to everyone’s advice and take from what they say that which you believe to be valid. They will never remember what they told you anyway. (Reread my earlier sentence on this topic.) If you take notes, you will appear to be an active listener and worthy of my time and attention, and I just may reveal a jewel to you that you can use. As I relax from the tension of thinking I may be trying to help someone who doesn’t want my help, we may even become good friends. (Stranger things have happened.)

Friendships take a long time to form. In a world where you can get some products like software to download instantly and other products delivered to your doorstep in a few days, it is maddening to understand that friendships require time and attention, an open mind and the ability to try and try again. Some people are terminally shy, and that is why they put up such a heavy defense. If we were outgoing types, we probably wouldn’t have gone into accounting.

Extending the hand of friendship to those around you is vitally important to the mission of The FENG. We are a circle of friends. Forget about 6 degrees of separation, we are striving for 2.

Remember, someone has to go first. While it may be frustrating when you call new members or even members of long standing and they don’t call you back, hang in there and keep at it. If you call enough people, someone will call you back and give you the “love” you deserve for trying to be good friend. With 40,000+ members, the odds are in your favor.

Just understand that I can’t have each of our members trying to call all their fellow members on the same day because we would bring the phone system to its knees. Try to spread it out over a few days.

Regards, Matt

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