One of the things that attracted me to my wife, beyond the fact that she is attractive, intelligent, interesting, and fun, was her family. My wife’s parents were intelligent people. I enjoyed being with them. I admired them for the way that they had raised their family, and for the way they lived their lives.
For years, I had a business partner whose judgement was terrific. The few memorable regrets from that relationship came from times when I let my ego close the door to his advice or feedback.
Outside of work, I have friends who are doctors, attorneys, clergy, engineers, bankers, contractors, mechanics, government administrators, chemists, and even one judge.
I became friends with these people, because I enjoy their company. These people are interesting and intelligent people and teach me things. Sometimes these things are within the scope of their profession. Other times, they teach through helping me use common sense.
I do not pick my friends to get professional advice. I pick them as people with whom I bond over common interests.
I have had occasions when my friends have provided me with professional services. I met them in their office for professional purposes. I paid one friend to write my will. I paid another friend to write an employment agreement for my company. One of my friends became my primary care physician. I have other friends in other fields of medicine. These friends do not treat me medically. They refer me to other people for medical care. One friend recommended that I see a dermatologist for a skin condition. Another friend recommended that I have some test done to determine a medical condition.
A friend who is a chemist calmed my fears about my liability over a fire that broke out in one of my offices. I was anxious about the damage to the building from the sprinkler system. He said that the fire department would very likely find the cause of the fire and that my business could not have caused that fire.
My friend was correct. The fire investigators found that a janitor had thrown a cigarette into a waste paper basket and started the fire.
One of my friend is who a senior state administrator and retired military colonel. He is terrific in negotiations. He has helped me work through more than one difficult discussion with clients and other friends.
As you pick your friends around the office and after work, pick people who can help you grow as a professional and as a person. I have found that picking friends in this way has made my life more fun, more interesting, and has helped me through countless challenging situations.
Image: Steve Johnson/Flickr