Friendship

Steps to building Solidarity Friendships

Last year, I was in a state of exasperation because I was lacking Solidarity Friends who I could build my substance & worth with. I had recently moved to Lagos & the social scene was very shallow. I met people daily who could barely hold a seasoned conversation for 2 minutes. Gists were full of empty hype, gossips, complaints, ignorance & opportunistic wishes.

Now you must know that friendships are either Social or Solidarity in nature. The social friendships are casual, peripheral & popular while Solidarity friendships are built on partnerships, deep substances, trust and care. The Solidarity friendships are the people who share your weaknesses & strengths, those who would do anything for you and ensure you grow progressively together. So last year, after appraising my friendships, I posted this tweet;

A year later, I was cashing out on my solidarity friendships & had to update that tweet;

Bolaji & Tolulope inspired me to share tips on realizing good friendships in 1 year. Here are the basic tips that helped in building & keeping solid friendships;

WHO ARE YOU?

First of all, What are you bringing to the table? You cannot function dynamically in a friendship if you have not discovered yourself & your friends cannot openly tell who you are. Friendship is a partnership of selfless rewards for a better future, therefore, you need to identify what it is about you that is effortlessly remarkable. What is your brand? what are you passionate about? What would you love your friends to do for you? What do you seek that is beyond your present? What is your goal in Life? 30 years from now, what do you want to be doing with your friends? Be aware that discovering one's self is never ending and evolves with time however you need to be certain about the parameters your life will take. For Example, even though I don't know exactly what I'll be doing in 20 years time, I know that My Life's purpose is bounded by my love for Africa, Entrepreneurship, Media, Yoga & Art. These are a huge part of who I am & can give effortlessly. You gotta come into yourself confidently and be the boss of your own Life.

WHAT PERSONALITY TRAITS & TALENTS INTERESTS YOU:

Now that you have something to offer in a friendship, what do you love most in people and what personality traits can you accommodate. You will have a lot of social friends but you will need solid friends that will embark on Life's journey with you. A lot of people make friends but are hesitant to share their goals, their desires for life, discover the passion & goals of the next person, introduce possible methods to reach those goals together. If you cannot talk about your life purpose & mission with your friends, then they are not your solidarity friends. You also need to figure out what character traits irritate you the most and learn to avoid such toxic people. I love making friends who are entrepreneurs & yogis but one of the things I can't stand are cheats, male chauvinists, pompous people & tale bearers. I have had friends who cheat on their partners openly in front of me and that is something my values will never accept. People who are truly amazing but tend to make you fall short of your values & principles are very toxic for your Life. No matter how talented they are, remove them from your inner circle. You can still be peripheral friends to them but you don't have to be solidarity friends.

MAKE AN INVENTORY OF YOUR FRIENDSHIPS AND OPEN YOURSELF TO NEW ONES

There is need to appraise the friendships you currently have and identify the trend of people you keep. Are they aligned with the two terms above? Do you constantly have toxic friendships & rebound off the same people that potentially influence you badly? It's time to demote those people to the bottom of the pyramid. However, the fact that someone has flawed character does not mean you cannot learn or benefit one or two things from them so there's no need to condemn or hate them. Moreover, for the potential friendships you have that have helped to improve your growth as a person, begin to draw them closer. Open up discussions about your personalities, goals & purpose, what they are going thru in life, the opportunities/possibilities you both hope for, talents, SWOT analysis, common causes etc. This will help you appraise the kinds of friends you have and the types you need to bring closer to achieve your Life purpose & effect change around your community. Observe potential people and walk up to them to introduce a friendship. From the beginning, tell them what you hope to build with them so they can show you by their actions if they are dedicated to it. Remember, No man is an island! To achieve your goal in Life, you will always need help & what better way than the help of friends who would do anything to see you grow because it correlates with what they know to do best. When I founded my company, ISOKO Africa, the creative process from my logo to my first few podcasts was in partnership with my friends who had companies that provided these services. I've always said that Business Partnerships tend to make lifelong solid friendships than social friendships.

FORM A WINNING SHARED HABIT

Most of the time, we get into really great friendships and go to sleep. Soon, we see this amazing friend doing something great and it suddenly seems like we are on the sideline not the friend and you wonder what happened? It becomes hard to even get them on a call or ask for a favor. What happened to the friendship? How did it slacken? Truth is, it's not their fault. You both neglected to build a winning habit for both of you. If a friend is important to you, chances are both of you have similar goals for Life. Which means that you may not have the luxury to hang out always like you do with your social friends. Solidarity friendships are hard to come by. They are the future Avengers or the next top executive cliques which means that in your twenties, you will be busy building yourselves and in your thirties, you will be busy building your empires. Maybe in your forties, you would have the luxury to hang out more often but right now, you will be scarce. The sooner you accept this, the better you are able to achieve more from your friendships. So, how can you keep the friendship blooming? Try Shared Responsibility & Trust; introducing partnerships between your companies, or occasional friend retreats to update each other of your growth, send them documents of new things happening in your life & determine periodical updates for accountability, ask for help & give it,  follow their work closely and support it at every milestone (cash or simply sharing on social media/your area to tell everyone about it), form a habit to use their services either through partnerships or pay for it (even if at a discounted price), create an opportunity & involve them, embark on a simple short-term project together (a cause, a short book, a community fundraiser, a small donation, a trip etc), avoid excessive social hangouts & encourage strategy brainstorming sessions or conferences, invite them as a guest on your blog, show, event etc, network on their behalf (find a person with a service they need & connect them both. Follow through to their satisfaction). Forming winning habits can take any shape but the most important thing is to form habits that are effortless to render that's why number 1 is important & your inner clique has to be kept small, tight & relevant. Few of the many things I can give my friends easily is a shared yoga workout, a quick business branding session, a connection to a platform/person anywhere in Africa, setting up their digital presence & actually paying/partnering to use their services amongst others.

BE THE CORNERSTONE & BUILD YOURSELVES (DO THE WORK)

You may be wondering why you should be responsible for building shared winning habits? One of the spices for a happy life is expecting nothing and appreciating everything. In every clique of friends, a cornerstone is needed however no one wants to take responsibility because the world right now does not "give a damn" (pardon my french). No one wants to do the work, nor check on others, nor go the extra mile nor build together because people of the world want to be the Boss but not a Servant. So, if you really want to inspire solidarity friendships, you are going to have to accept that you are responsible for it and dedicate yourself as the cornerstone. Pump your brakes! I'm not asking you to be Jesus Christ. Think of every clique you come across and how there's one person who is the most influential. If that person is sick, everyone will be on a roller coaster! Yes, that's you! The extra effort you need to put in is to ensure you are dedicated to your own growth as a person first, be kind and humble, say sorry a bit more, occasional calls or storm their social media & share their work, introduce a common cause & work towards it (ie: Politics, Family, Entrepreneurship, Career, Tech etc), write words of inspiration or a little dedication for them, know all their personal details (bank account, email address, skype id, social media handles, home address, family history etc). Most importantly, create a network around your clique by introducing your solidarity friends to each other. Let them know they are dear to your heart & why they should love each other. Discuss each other's work with the others and when one of them is in need, inform the others so they can also be part of each other's lives. If one is getting married, invite others to fundraise a gift together no matter how small or write words of encouragement for someone's birthday (that is how my website was created). That way, you are encouraging them to grow & build with each other; making you a reference point and a person that everyone wants to introduce themselves to. Remember, you cannot receive what you haven't given.

While you're constantly repeating this process at major points of your life, be aware that friendships take the time to define. There are some people who will welcome you with open arms from day 1  while others take longer to connect with them. Our zest for friends who challenge & inspire us constantly may tend to attract older or more successful people than we are so we may lose our confidence & identity in the overwhelming flood of their presence while trying to get our footing back. Think of them as humans with superpowers. Without the powers, they are simply humans. Also, you must always remember that if anyone despises you as a friend, then they were never meant for you in the first place. Quit trying to prove to them your worth and move on to others who will build with you. After all, there are so many fishes in the sea.

Disclaimer: You don't have to be an introvert or extrovert neither do you need a crowd to build meaningful friendships. You just have to be passionate enough to grow towards a desirable future. And remember to be true to yourself and find out what works for your own clique!

Solidarity Friendships come in morsels.

 

* Here's an image to help you remember & keep these tips at your fingertips. You can share with your friends, on social media & Pinterest *

 

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How to remain endlessly Charming!

Few days ago, a new friend visited my office and his verdict was: I am highly popular! Which is weird because I am not actually popular in numbers LOL. I met him a week ago and within a week, he had experienced all parts of my three personalities; as Founder of ISOKO Africa, as a Yoga teacher and a Corporate Professional. As we walked through the office to the restaurant and seeing him off, he analysed that at least 1 out of every 3 persons that passed knew me from colleagues to random strangers. Hell! Even the Police and Security were frantically waving.

This is not an article to "hoot my toot" but I thought to share basic tips on maintaining a charming personality which is different from being popular. I was not always charming. As a teen, I had self-esteem issues which I learned to conquer with time but never recognised that my true personality could be charming. The truth is;

  1. Everyone should be Charming
  2. Being charming is simple and I think I know 5 things about how to remain Charming as Pomp!

Let's go;

  1. SMILE THROUGH YOUR EYES: I am not talking about the thing you do when you're flirting because that has an ulterior motive. When you walk around and see people (you don't have to know them personally), smile through your eyes genuinely. When I see people, I look for something on them that I could like. I also don't leave them without a compliment on either their dress or hair pin. If I have nothing to like, I try constructive criticisms like "Hey! That dress looks lovely! If it came in Blue, then all the men, even I, would fall hopelessly in love with you!" That person is bound to blush & if they are smart enough, they recognise you just told them that bright or blue colours fit them most. But remember, never lie about your emotions. If you feel low, don't pretend to be nice. People can tell when you're faking it. If people around you know you to be lovely, they are bound to recognise your downcast mood when you're not smiling. It also helps you to discover those that care about you.
  2. CONFIDENCE & HUMBLE ARE DIFFERENT THINGS: Don't play yourself. Accepting a compliment or a pleasant tease does not mean you are not humble. For example, someone walks up to you and say "Hello Globe Trotter! I love your style and wanna be like you!" There are three elements in this phrase; a pleasant tease, a compliment & an unreasonable remark. I would reply "Hey! Thank you for confirming my dreams coz yeh, I'll soon become a Globe Trotter but you can't be like me. Your style is just as amazing! Don't lose it". I have not exhibited pride but confidence in who I am by accepting the compliment but thereby maintaining humility. Plus, yeah no one can ever be like you! It's just 1 of you in this lifetime ;) Stop saying "Me? I am not a Globetrotter oh! Stop teasing me!" YUCK! That's not humble... it's Crappy Self-esteem!
  3. READ YOUR PASSION: Crap to the Myth about reading hardcore, sense-making, ideology-bullshitting, formula-coughing, biography-boring books. If those books rock your boat, read it. If drama & fantasy novels rock your boat, be proud of it. We all have those books that we think would make us look good but actually hate reading! My point is, what matters is how you read the book. A person could read an inspirational book and yet learn nothing while another person could read a book about love, learn its systems and help lots of people to understand how romance works. Remember, be comfortable with what you read but never forget to understand the mechanisms behind what you read.
  4. LOVE YOURSELF FIERCELY: 999,999 out of every million people hate themselves. The population of the world that truly love themselves can fit inside the eye of a needle. People go around seeking for love to wash off on them because it's simply a commodity you cannot buy. However, hateful people want to feel good about themselves knowing they are not alone in the hate clan so they tend to tear you down first but the fierce ones that strongly proclaim self-love, end up becoming role models to look up to.
  5. SUBSTANCE & INCLUSION IS KEY: Learn the art of actually connecting with people individually. Ask yourself, for example, if you had to raise a GoFundMe page today to raise cash for a new project, how many of your thousand followers actually care about you to donate? Exactly. They would make it popular by sharing but hardly a 100th of them would give. People tend to invest in people, not the really the cause. The more you can humanise a cause, the better chances of people investing in it. So learn to create inclusion and substance in your interactions. Start with their birthdays, to a new promotion, or following up on an issue that is important to them, or sharing an uplifting nugget/quote with a personal note to them, give full hugs & linger a second to converse with them, introduce them to your friends, even if you can't call occasionally, put up their images to tell the world how proud you are of them, know about their projects & tell everyone about it, find an angle on how you can work together or just buy their product or support their event even if its just once. That is the true meaning of social capital. Learn to be included in people's life.

The downside of being exceptionally charming is that you tend to look for the positive traits in people & see them for who they truly are and vice versa which tends to spark up butterfly feelings. Sometimes, when I begin to feel this way, I mutter to myself "You're such a people whore!" & remind myself to stay focused. But this would happen rarely if you learn to keep everyone on your radar and manage them lovingly. The best way to cure this is Cross Networking. After few months of meeting gorgeous & amazing people, I host a hangout/cookout where I bring everyone together and help them get comfortable enough to network.

During these sessions, people fall in love, start up new businesses, partner on projects and make new friends. There are weak personalities who tend to fall prey to the cunning ones by succumbing to their demands thinking you set them up but that's a post for another day. What you have successfully achieved is create a cross-dimensional mechanism where you become a point of reference within different clusters of people bringing you more charming points, referrals and credibility. 

Stop expecting reactions from people. You're not Physics! Think of yourself as Jollof Rice!

Most of all, be very clear about your purpose. If you mention Tope Hassan, everyone would shout "AFRICA!"

 

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