Have you ever had a friend who disappeared a few years ago? The one you never hear from, until they pop up and they need something. I’ll admit it. I’ve been this person before, and it’s a reminder of something not to do.
If you’re like me, the type of person you want to devote your time to helping is the same person you feel appreciates you. They’re someone who takes the time to check on you. They ask about your family and your life. It’s someone you feel like you know well. They know you well. They care about you, and you care about them.
When a friend pops in out of the blue and asks for a favor – they begin to feel like a sales person. You wonder where they’ve been and what their real motive is. You wonder if they’re your real friend, or if your friendship is contingent upon something else.
It leaves a bad taste in your mouth, right? And, chances are good that you aren’t as helpful to that friend as someone who genuinely takes the time to stay in touch with you.
It’s a great reminder to network when you don’t need it. Stay in touch even when you’re not looking for a job. Offer help when you don’t need anything in return.
Someone recently shared the way they’re doing this with me. Each day, they go through their cell phone and pick someone to call at random. On the first day, they pick an A name such as Amanda. On the second day, they pick a B name such as Bob. They call at least one person each day, and they say hello with no motive. If the person isn’t there, they leave a friendly voice message for the person. They rotate through the entire alphabet and start over the next month.
I haven’t tried this method yet, but it sounds like a great way to get started. I know what you’re thinking though. It can be weird to call someone with no appointment – no text message – no email. You’re right – it can be weird. It can also be really normal. The more you reach out to friends for connection, the less surprising it will be when you do.
And, when you do need something, your friends will be more likely to step up. They’ll know that you really need help, and that you’re truly invested in your friendship with them.