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Most people have more contacts and fewer friends. We know more people without knowing anything beyond what we see on social media. Some people may recognize your face on LinkedIn without you ever having met them in real life. Recently, I found an article suggesting that it takes 200 hours to make a friendship. The reason that feels like a lot of time is because there was a time when you would have racked up 200 hours in 20 days.

If you are fortunate to be part of the greatest generation, Gen X (the thirteenth generation from the founding of the United States), it is likely you grew up like a feral cat, outside, getting into mischief, and spending all your time with your friends. The two generations after X are house cats. Last weekend, my house cat ran out the front door with my two dogs. He ran behind the bushes, and spooked that he made it out, he ran back into the house.

We live in the suburbs. A suburb isn’t a neighborhood, even if you call it a neighborhood. My grandmother lived in a real neighborhood. My mom was raising four kids by herself, so we walked to my grandma’s house after school. If she wasn’t home, one of four neighbors had the key to her house. No one had anything worth stealing. The neighbors knew each other’s children, keeping an eye out for them. The denizens of this neighborhood stood outside drinking iced tea and talked to each other. If someone needed something, someone would help out.

One day, my brother and I were walking back from Stop-N-Go when a tough-looking dude said something to intimidate us. We shrugged and kept walking. A few days later, we were fast friends. When he ran away from home, I fed him. When I ran away from home at 14, he ratted me out after I drove an El Camino to Naples, Florida.

On another walk back to my apartment, Steve Buckley attacked me. He had four friends with him. I blocked every punch after the first. Rickman, his friend, started teasing Buckley because I was squeezing his fingers so he could no longer hit me. I was game, and Rickman was a new friend. When a real tough guy tried to fight me, Rickman intervened on my behalf. We never let anyone prey on people.

I walked to high school to avoid riding the bus, stopping at the convenience store for cigarettes and Mountain Dew. We said hello to the police that were getting coffee before their shift. When one of my friends lost his father, he started to act out. One day after we got pizza at Leonardo’s Pizza, two policemen showed up at my apartment to recover the quarters that had been stolen from the arcade games. I emptied my pockets, and they left empty-handed. I wasn’t aware that my friend was breaking into the games. Two miles later, they knocked on my friend's door and returned the money to the owner. Had we not had a relationship with the police, they would not have known who took the money, but that same relationship meant there weren’t going to be any charges.

My house is at the end of a cul-de-sac. On the right side of my house, my neighbors have five girls. It is a rare event to see them outside. On the left side, there are two children who are rarely outside. The only house with kids in the yard is the family with four young boys. But they don’t stay outside for very long. It is rare to see them riding a bike.

When was the last time you stood in the yard talking to your neighbors? When was the last time you saw them outside, or the last time they saw you outdoors? The person I know is a preacher, Anthony, who is a writer and a reader. We are overdue for lunch.

Harvard published data that suggest that loneliness is the equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Between the suburbs, our technology, the hustle and bustle of life, we tend to have fewer friends and less time. We need to change how we think about friendships and relationships in a world where technology dominates. Our technology may ape relationships, but it isn’t capable of matching real connections. This, coupled with our media doing its very best to politicize everything for profit.

I am fortunate to have a large family. We had more than 60 people at my home for Christmas. Only one person gets their own birthday party because he has the only June birthday. The rest of us get rolled up into the month. At least once a month we all get together, and friends show up.

We need to be more intentional about our friendships and our relationships. A text isn’t the same thing as lunch or coffee. An interaction on LinkedIn or another social platform isn’t the same as a conversation with a friend. A Zoom meeting isn’t able to match a face-to-face meeting.

This week, reach out to an old friend to catch up. If possible, schedule to meet for lunch or dinner. Or maybe invite them to visit you at your home, and talk awhile. You invest in your health, you invest in your wealth. In the end, your relationships are what will be the greatest investment.


Mindset 2024
Post by Anthony Iannarino on March 27, 2024

Written and edited by human brains and human hands.

Anthony Iannarino
Anthony Iannarino is a writer, an international speaker, and an entrepreneur. He is the author of four books on the modern sales approach, one book on sales leadership, and his latest book called The Negativity Fast releases on 10.31.23. Anthony posts daily content here at TheSalesBlog.com.
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