The Top 3 Reasons You Need New Friends

After years as a stay at home mom, Sarah is going back into the job market.  So she is asking advice from her closest friends. Who all happen to be fellow stay at home moms.  She’s getting soothing comments about how it won’t be that hard since, “Being a mom is the toughest job in the world,” and she shouldn’t worry about losing the baby fat because, “They should accept you for who you are.”

picture of sheep

Do you need to expand your social circle?

Are your friends giving you a distorted version of reality?

Where are her male friends or “childfree” female friends who will give her a reality check?  Oh, that’s right, she doesn’t have any because she’s ensconced in her pod of identical friends.

We all gravitate to people who are similar to ourselves to some extent. The problem is when we surround ourselves ONLY with people that think like we do.  It leads to a distorted version of reality, lack of creativity, and difficulty in relating to different people.  (Perhaps if George W had been closer to people that thought differently, the whole WMD fiasco wouldn’t have happened — but that’s for a different blog).

Whether you’re a CEO of a public company, in transition looking for a different job, or a student trying to figure out the social hierarchy of a new school, you need to develop relationships with people who are different from you.  This doesn’t mean drop your old friends. It just means expand your social circle.

Why you need some different friends

1. It’s hard to change when everyone around you thinks the same.  With everything evolving at warp internet speed, you have got to be open and listen to different points of view if you want to move forward with your business, career, and social life.

2.   Your bosses, clients, colleagues, and staff are different from you. The first time to really get to know someone who is from a different race, gender, sexual orientation, or age group should not be when you are trying to impress your company’s top client,  meeting with the CEO, or  interviewing with an HR director.

3.  You will lead a more interesting life and be noticed more.  In a recent post on How Not to Be Invisible, one of key ways to be more attractive is to get different perspectives and widen your social circle with people who aren’t just like you.

Mojo Moves:

  • Reach out to some acquaintances that are outside your normal social comfort zone
  • Invite some much younger relatives (nieces, nephews, or second cousins) over for a visit
  • Go visit some much older relatives or neighbors and ask them for advice
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  • Irina Avtsin

    Thank you, Susan. Great idea about getting a fresh perspective from new people, who might be less biased than old pals.

    • Susan Kim

      I don’t think “old pals” mean to be biased but ONLY hanging out with them can reinforce those biases among the entire group. So, by bringing in some new friends, it will probably benefit the “old” ones, too.

  • Deborah Zimic

    I like the general comment – one of my favorite ways to stay balanced, or at least to hear the other side of something I may already have formed an opinion on, is to watch a news program from each of the networks throughout the week, since I can’t always find other friends to debate these issues, rather than just reenforce my existing beliefs. A good example would be the aside about George W. Bush in this article. Im sure that other outlets might contribute a different perspective.

    • Susan Kim

      Great point on getting more perspective. It can come from other sources besides friends. With everything getting so polarized, I think it’s good advice for everyone.

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