We have friends, acquaintances, and then we have what I call Wholehearted Allies.
One of the core legs of a strong resiliency practice is identifying these wholehearted allies in your life who will have your back when the soap opera drama goes live, and investing in those relationships like your life depends on them – because it just might.
But, how do you identify a Wholehearted Ally?
After I went on my little tour of the local jail in 2015, I immediately called three people who I thought were my closest friends – people I would have bailed out of jail without a second thought.
Only one of them even called me back.
I figured out over time that one was simply a fair weather friend, and the other lacked the resiliency to be in the thick of it with me – it struck too close to home.
Now, I constantly wonder with new friends:
Do they have my back?
Are they just in it for the fun times?
Given the limited time I have to share with friends, who is a potential ally?
Several worthy insights in and growing out of this short segment starting at 25:04 until 32:30 with Vanessa Van Edwards of Science of People:
1. Ask: When sharing excitement, is this person actually happy for me? (or do they ask the dream killer questions, like “Don’t you know that 9 out of 10 small businesses fail?”)
On the flip side: If you are naturally risk aversive, avoid alienating your friends and allies – don’t ask your own freaked out dream killer questions unless you truly believe your friend is in genuine danger.
2. Trust your instincts. Perhaps you’re subconscious is literally smelling the wishy washy nature of your fake friend.
3. Trying to nurture dozens of friendships is draining and disappointing. Meet lots of people, and show up fully – you’ll know right away when you meet a 1 out of 100 Wholehearted Ally who you should invest in fully. You only need a few.
4. Ask hard questions – where you know a genuine wholehearted ally will give you the unpopular answer. If your “friend” lets you get away with the lazy route (often projecting their own unwillingness to make hard changes), they aren’t your ally. You need the person that looks you in the eye and holds you accountable to your core values (compassionately).
5. Finally, when your life turns upside down, watch for who stands beside you (and make sure you drop everything and are there for your allies when they need you).
You don’t need to blacklist the friends who scatter in your time of need, but do not invest in those relationships. Hang out when it’s convenient and feels right, but stop trying to make gold out of straw.