It is a sad fact of life that no one ever has enough friends. Men in particular (and our membership is 90% men) seem to have a difficult time making friends.
The whole “guy thing” sort of works against us, I suppose. Men are supposed to be strong and never need help from anyone. Remember when we didn’t ask for directions at the gas station, even when we were hopelessly lost? It’s a good thing most of us are technically competent and can work those wonderful GPS units. It is great not being dependent on other people, don’t you think?
What I would like to suggest to all of you is that you set a numerical goal for yourself. See if over the next few years you can make at least 100 new friends. To win at this game which we will call Friend Unsolitaire (since you won’t be alone), 5 of these friends need to be really GOOD friends and 20 more of them need to be just reasonably good friends. The other 75 can be casual friends or as we sometimes call them nodding acquaintances. (Notice this adds up to 100.)
All of these “new” friends don’t actually have to be totally new. Some of your existing casual or reasonably good friends can be moved into the “really GOOD friends” category and I won’t take off any points.
The question you might ask is how do you make friends? Actually, it is quite easy. Hopefully you all saw the original Godfather movie. If you strip away all the violence, Don Corleone was in reality a master networker. The whole deal of building friendships is allowing others to do favors for you (even though we all know you can suck it up and do it on your own), and secondly doing favors for others (even though we all know they could probably do it for themselves).
If you would now all take out the master networking kit that was given to you when you joined The FENG and turn to page one, you will find information on the availability of our Member Directory Search feature. This valuable source of information, available at no additional charge I should add, has a wealth of information about all of the individuals you might want to initially contact and get to know. While I am not suggesting you end your quest for new friends by researching our membership directory, I am suggesting you start there.
Birds of a feather flock together. The most likely place you will find folks with common career interests is The FENG membership directory. As the largest networking group of senior financial officers in the entire world, it is an easy place to get started.
Who are you looking for? Folks who have worked at firms where you have worked are in my opinion the best place to start. Employees of a company are like a tribe. Like members of a tribe, they speak the same language, often with terms and shades of meaning not well accepted or understood elsewhere. Most important, anyone who has worked at a company is like a shirt tail cousin to anyone else who worked there. Even if they don’t know you, they know people you know.
Now for the hard part, in contacting these folks you have to ask for a favor and ask if you can do one for them. Actually this isn’t so difficult once you have tried it a few times. The best part of our many folkways in The FENG is that you don’t have to pay back favors to the folks who grant them to you. All you have to do is be prepared to do favors for anyone and everyone who asks. We are running a free market in favors. (It’s sort of like trading pollution credits, but you improve the (social) atmosphere instead of ruining it.)
The next step is actually hard. You need to make an effort to keep in touch. Put together an alphabetical list of your many friends. Start at the top and work your way to the bottom. When you get to the bottom, start again at the top. Call them. Write them personal notes. Make up reasons to contact them. Perhaps send them articles of interest.
You know, this whole friendship thing could really catch on. And guess what? If it does, not only will your life be better, but you will also have made many other folks lives better.