In just about any way I can think of, I have an amazing life. But of all of the aspects of my life that bring me happiness, the most important one is the relationships I have with my friends and family. This is probably true for almost everyone, but it’s odd to me how most people will manage their financial life meticulously but manage their social life haphazardly. Most people should invest more in friendships.
Just like financial investments, you want to choose your investments wisely. If you diligently save your money but invest it in random penny stocks, you won’t get much of a return. If you invest your time and effort into the wrong people, you won’t end up with the social group that you want.
It’s easy to say yes to an invitation to a party or to hang out, but it’s important to remember that you have limited time and limited focus. Even if you have nothing else going on today and you decide to spend time with someone you’re not crazy about, you may be less motivated to seek out a friend the next day.
A good rule of thumb is to think about whether you are interested in deepening a friendship. If you are, you should spend time with that person. If you’re not, you shouldn’t. If you’re not sure, you might as well hang out with them once or twice more to figure it out. The upside of a great friendship is high enough that it’s worth taking the risk.
The biggest input into a friendship is quality time, not just time. My friends and I do activities together, but the bulk of our time is spent just sitting around in conversation. That tends to be the time that deepens friendships, so it’s what we focus on. Part of why travel is so good for friendships is because it strips away the background noise and routines of life and allows for more conversation.
You can also think about how you can make your friends lives better. Each of you have different skills and experience, so you can lend that experience to each other. My friend Ben did a deep dive into crypto mining and helped me start mining ethereum. I did a lot of research on real estate in Las Vegas and he ended up buying a house down the street from me. You should always be thinking about how you can help your friends out in a way that they receive disproportional returns. That’s part of why I like buying real estate with my friends… through a bit of work and research I can help each of them get a vacation house for a fraction of the normal price and hassle.
One really high leverage activity is introducing your friends to other friends and fostering a good friend group. If we already agree that good friendships are some of the most valuable things you can have, then it follows that helping a friend have a good friendship would be a really great way to bring them value. Along those same lines, you can organize events that help friends deepen friendships. Two of my friends organized a friends’ trip to Maui this week, for example. You could also do simpler like organize a dinner or a game of frisbee together.
Good friendships build trust, and that trust allows for quality feedback to be shared. Amongst my best friends I probably have 10 or so people with whom I can give and receive very blunt feedback. If they tell me that they think I’m making a mistake, I will start with the assumption that they’re probably right and will treat it as an opportunity to improve, and they will probably do the same. That allows all of us to grow with wisdom beyond our own.
Passively investing is usually the best method for financial investments, but the opposite is true for friendships. Think about your friends, think about which friendships you want to see grow, think about how you can benefit those friends, and invest the time and effort to do so. There is probably no higher return on your time and effort.
Photo is my friend Noah at the driving range. Our friendship is one of the ones that has grown the most in the past couple years and I think he also does a great job of investing in friendships.
No Tea Time with Tynan this weekend or next. Hopefully soon!