Friday, September 2, 2016

A focus on friendships

By Marisa Geitner, President & C.E.O.
A recent study published in the Psychology Bulletin suggests that the older we get the fewer and fewer friends we have. They go on to explain that while our social circles generally expand into adulthood, friendships actually peak and begin to decrease as early as our 20s! In addition, sociologist Gerald Mollenhorst found that we tend to lose half of our closest friends every seven years and replace them with new relationships.

I guess it stands to reason with life changes in adulthood like heading off to college, changing jobs, moving, beginning a family, etc. that our friendships frequently drift apart, even when we work hard to make them a priority.

Despite this somewhat grim realization, friendships and allies remain an essential ingredient in successfully navigating the adult world, so how do adults make new friends?  How do we build professional networks of allies? Well, adult lives can get a bit routine, so first we need to hop out of the proverbial box. We need to step out of our day-to-day routine and places of comfort and put ourselves in a position to cross paths with new and different people from time to time. If we do this we will have plenty of choice and likely connect with others who are the best match for us.

Next, we have to adjust our time. Notice I didn't say make time. Without being able to add another minute to the day, often where we need to focus is in adjusting how we are spending our time in order to better include others. I have begun inviting a friend along as I run errands; company and conversation certainly make that trip much more fun.  I also exchange help with tasks that are daunting alone; asking a colleague to help me finish up a big project by its due date, knowing that I will make myself available to assist them with their next big task.  It never hurts to invite others. Don't be afraid to ask and don't assume they are too busy! Just ask.

So why am I taking your time and attention to speak of friendship?  It’s essential in our personal lives and in our business success.  Our friends help us navigate adult decisions.  Allies, when welcomed into our conversation, help us achieve the collective impact we are hoping to have.  We are serving in transformative times alongside a very transformative organization- Heritage Christian Services.  It is our relationships and the experiences we have together as a result of those relationships that make this organization different.  We welcome others to help us achieve great results!