In an age where the ranks of consortium trends being a friend with benefits, the line has become maligned, blurred. Circumstantial alliances hail as normal and a real friend, almost viewed as deplorable falls somewhere between old school Good Times’ Florida and The Brady Bunches’ Carol. Is there a happy medium in business?
Goal Friends In Networking: Where one meets and greets a group of individuals with a common goal of building business connections, references, liaisons. Great. Now are these your besties? No. Understand the role one plays as a connection. You can, over time, make good friends within these venues but a word of caution: initializing these opportunities as a constant party source will derail your original efforts. You lose perspective and little is accomplished. The unified goal of team building gets lost in the shuffle.
Suggestion: Utilize this human-friendly portal for what it is: growing your business and aiding others within your inner circle. Lead a clear view of your valuable assets. Be friendly, honest and assertive.
Create a platform of women that will help you rise to the top and understand their roles as creative body builders. Make allowances for reciprocal alliances that harness a balance of working girl and subtle coffee nuance queen.
Do yourself a favor and resist the urge to pick every group that meets at a restaurant or happy hour type scenario. Seek out mentoring venues that offer a private space such as a library with amenities, i.e. adjacent community room. These are easily accessed by simple inquiry through your local head librarian. Community groups and non-profits may possess invaluable leads on meeting locals since they rely heavily on donated goods and services. Network for venues.
Your business mindset is not a streaming ‘by the way’. Rather, it is a ‘because you are’ in business to stay in business as to the reason you push forward and prevail in gaining and maintaining proper business alliances.
Girl Friends: These individuals are going to be there and have your back on the worst and best of days. They have survived the bad hair, boyfriends, low and no money days and are the ride-a-die girls that no matter what will be with you forever. Heightened layers of trust are already in play here.
In matters of discretion, you know they will not betray you. The reason you hold them dear is because they have seen you in a bad spot but never would they compromise or expose you to weakness. These trusted gems are most often heralded in private but shine bright whenever you need them.
Can you cultivate a good working, ethical relationship within those bonds? The answer depends largely on your professionalism, goals, outlook within your business model and your personal space. So which is it? Goal, girl or both?
Revisit the pros and cons. Be smart about your career choices, draw the line in the sand early and make sure both of your objectives leave out pure emotional response in lieu of practical wisdom. Be a friend who displays an ancillary attitude and applauds your success.
We are all poised for greatness so use a sense of balance. Recognize that you are a value added service to all you come in contact. Be wise and conquer!