I once chose to go into a business with a man who had no long-lasting friendships. He had an abundance of nearly everything: energy, drama, wealth….but he lacked in one specific and vitally important area; relationships. When I looked at his personal and professional network, I noticed that everyone around him had only been present for a few years at most. He was like a billionaire Jason Bourne.
Enamored by his background and experience, I went into business with this man, and I came out of our partnership having learned one very important lesson. If you ever encounter someone who does not possess or is incapable of maintaining long-term relationships, RUN.
In my opinion, the length of someone’s relationships is a major indicator of the type of person they are. Relationships take work. They require patience and effort. If you meet someone who cannot seem to sustain long-term friendships or partnerships, you have probably met someone who lives their life like a taker. They will take something from you. Whether it is your time, money, or (worst of all) emotion, they will burn you out and move on to the next shmuck with vision.
Now, before you start examining your significant other, friends, and colleagues. Take a look in the mirror. Do an inventory check on yourself. How long is your oldest relationship? It may be an uncomfortable exercise, but if you cannot name one person that you have had in your life for more than two to three years, then you might just be a taker yourself. Trust me, I was once on that path too.
When I first got to college, I was so hell-bent on personal and professional success that I stretched the truth, exaggerated, took short cuts and took advantage of people. I was on the wrong path. Fortunately, I made a very close friend right after graduating college who reached out, and pulled be back from the brink. I realized that the road I was on was a lonely one, and that if I wanted to achieve my dreams I was going to need people and support around me. I began to make a conscious effort to maintain contact with the positive people in my life, the people who were consistently good, time and time again.
Nowadays, when I meet someone with a new or shallow network, I do not even open the door. They are not welcome in my inner circle. Instead, I look for people who have long lasting relationships. I look for people who have maintained relationships from every stage of their life. If someone I know still has friends from high school, college, their first job, and their current neighborhood…then I know that they understand what it is to work with and be emotionally involved with other people. I know they are reliable and trustworthy.
We all move through live on our own paths. We are not meant to keep every relationship alive, but there are a few fundamental ones that will always matter. Work on those, and look for relationships like that in the new people that you choose to connect with.