Image by Flickr user Paulo Otavio

Dedicating Some Time to Friendship

You have to network.

You have to constantly make new connections.

You have to meet the people who can help your career or your business or whatever.

Depending on just what business or career books you read, you may be constantly emailing people who are useful to you and chasing those perfect connections who can elevate you to the next level.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but investing your time in networking means that you may be ignoring the people who already want you to succeed. Your friends and family may not be able to help you step up to the next rung on the ladder, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t prioritize them — they’re the people who keep you from going crazy when something unexpected happens at work.

We Need Some Help to Stay Friends

With everything going on around me, I sometimes find that it’s been months since I emailed a particular friend. I’ve noticed that Facebook and other social media make things even worse: some weird part of the back of my brain thinks that since I’m seeing these updates, I’m in touch with my friends. Really, though, a like does not compare to an email.

This weekend, Christopher Swenson and I scratched our own itch. Christopher wrote an app (see his process here) and I made everything a little more user-friendly.

I’ve already sent out one email on the basis of Friendship API’s recommendation — someone I hadn’t talked to since the last time I passed through the part of the country he’s currently living in. While I felt a little sad that I hadn’t emailed this friend in a while, actually hitting send on the message made me feel great, like I’m making the effort to keep the best people in my life.

What Else Do We Need to Do to Keep In Touch?

A weekend project may be a great reminder to stay in touch, but it’s just a tool. We’re humans and we need to add a few human touches to the mix.

Every week from here on out, I’ll have an email reminder to get back in touch with one person. But it’s up to me to actually send a follow up email… or, you know, do something more, like ask to meet for lunch or go and visit. Having a reminder is just a start.