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The Definitive Non-Networking Guide: How To Make Friends

a couple actors shaking hands (played by paid actors - ZING! hahahoho!)

a couple actors shaking hands (played by paid actors – ZING! hahahoho!)

I hate networking.

 

When writing the networking section for our upcoming book I redefined networking as “authentically making friends within areas you want to be in“. It hurts to say “networking” because it bring up images of over- (or under-) dressed people chucking business cards like ninja stars. It sucks. They suck.

I don’t even understand what networking is. I looked it up on Google and I got back definitions for connecting computers. Even Google doesn’t know what networking is. Google is probably the best networker I know, though. They connect everybody to everything and everyone. Google has networked me with all sorts of people.

The other day I was sitting on my couch talking with some people who are starting a new school (a New School new school) on the hallowed grounds of Black Mountain College and we were talking about education and meditation and having a jolly-good time. It came up that I had authored a book. Now, Will and I are the authors of required reading for their new program.

flesh machines connecting!

flesh machines connecting!

It’s only after they left that I realized something like networking had just happened. It’s only after a moment of, “OMG, did we just become besties?” that we were able to move on to what I think most people would call networking.

Will and I are still recovering from our two weeks of StartupBus and SXSW. We built a company in three days on StartupBus and SXSW is a tech conference and music and movie festival. It’s all very awesome. People like to network hardcore at those things. They throw business cards into your eye ball and say that we’ll synergize our connection later. I have a stack of business cards and I have no idea who gave them all to me.

When I talk about the experience and all the amazing new friends I made people will say, “Wow! Sounds like you did some awesome networking!” I guess they’re right.

Again, networking, in my book, means making authentic friends. If I want to “network” within a certain industry then I’ll meet a bunch of people in that industry and see if I become friends with any of them.

Some reasons we feel like we need to network:

  1. People tell us we need to network. And so we just assume that we need to spend a ton of time making connections. 
  2. Other people are networking with a fervor. Oh no! Don’t fall behind! Look at how many cards that guy has. It’s going to get him everything he’s ever dreamed of having (and everything you’ve ever dreamed of having, too)!
  3. “It’s all about who you know.” Relationships are a huge part of life and business but I don’t know if card-slinging builds relationships. Making friends builds relationships. Being generous and loving with people builds relationships.
  4. You need that thing they have. Okay. You don’t need to network to get it, you need to make an offer. Friendship isn’t a possibility here because you can’t make a friend when you’re thinking about what you want from them.
  5. Emotional support. Maybe this isn’t what we think about when we’re networking but, in the end, it’s one of the best thing a strong network provides. Only friends can provide that though.

I have a good friend who is a professional networker. I love her but she has networked too much and made too little. She knows it and is currently correcting.

I’m not negative on having a network of people to reach out to. What I’m concerned with here is switching the network from “people I can call for favors and further connections” into “friends”.

YEAH!

YEAH!

Why make friends instead of “contacts”?

  1. They will help you more. A friend is more willing to help you than a business acquaintance. What’s in it for him? Nothing? Click. 
  2. It’s more fun. Friends are fun. It’s fun to meet people and pursue the relationships that mean something to you. It’s fun to connect with people without worrying about what they can do for you. 
  3. It’s easier. Things that are fun are easy to do. When things are easy to do you keep doing them. If you’re having a good time building your tribe and making friends then you will have a massive group of connections before you know it. 
  4. It keeps you closer to your dream. When you follow true friendships you stay close to the place you want to be. You will resonate with people who want similar things to you. If you are forcing yourself to spend time with people you don’t like you can feel yourself veering off your path. 
  5. You won’t become a liar. Even if you never tell them a lie, you’re lying to yourself by investing time with people you don’t actually like. You’re also lying to them by making them think you want to be their friend when you don’t. It’s just dirty all the way around.
  6. The people in your life actually matter. Life is too short to hate the people in it. I want to spend every day with people I love. I write the things on this blog to connect with people like you who resonate with the message. You’re who I want to be spending my time with. Not haters. Not naysayers. Not fuckwads giving me paper-cuts at conferences, barely stopping for an eye-to-eye. You. I wouldn’t mind spending time with that cute barista behind the counter either…
Make a friend!

Make a friend!

Those who are still trying to network like a dad (ie: old school) are missing out on making real human connections and stressing themselves out. Maybe I don’t know anything about anything. Actually, I know I don’t know anything. Whatever. The following are things I do to make better friends. I have a lot of friends. I’m not popular, I just stick my neck out to a lot of people. Some chop it off and some give me a hug.

It’s weird, I like to do business with the same people that give me hugs. I’m weird. We’re all weird now, right?

Shoot, I’m getting ahead of myself. Weirdness is one of my ‘techniques’.

Here are my favorite ways to make friends:

 

Bleed honestly and learn to communicate.

Be honest loudly. When you’re honest about what you’re thinking then you will attract others who resonate with your ideas. Even before StartupBros I blogged on my personal site and would talk about things that were personal. Like scary personal. I talk about my depression and suicidal thoughts and some of the girls I’ve had sex with. I talk about philosophy and the nature of existence and ways to be happier and ways to live more deeply. I just talk about what interests me. Whatever I can’t put here for you goes there. I have to talk about it somewhere.

now she doesn't have a choice

now she doesn’t have a choice

At first I just did it because I have to write ideas and I have to share them. It’s just something that I have to do or else I pop and probably die. It was only after a year or so that I realized I was getting better at writing (people on reddit may disagree). After two years I realized that a ton of people were reading the blog. I wasn’t getting amazing amounts of traffic but people who I never suspected were coming up to me or sending emails and thanking me for helping their life. They would share the articles with people who needed them.

Other people would approach me and begin conversations. They were just acquaintances before and I had no idea that we were interested in the same kinds of things. Now we were having interesting talks and I had a new friend. Hell yeah!

Now with StartupBros I get mail every day talking about how an article helped a life. Other people email just wanting to talk about ideas. When Will and I went to SXSW we hung out with a bunch of people who we wouldn’t have even known about if it weren’t for StartupBros. We made friends that we’ll have forever. And they’re all genius business-techies, so it’s probably networking, too.

If nobody knows about your ideas or the things that you’re embarrassed about then you’re going to have lame relationships you’re whole life. You won’t be able to communicate with other people who also thing that weird thing about you is cool.

Open up to others to make room for a human connection. Then learn to communicate that effectively.

 

sometimes it's as simple as being interested

sometimes it’s as simple as being interested

Be interesting (ie: weird).

Well, you’re already weird. This is more about embracing it than actually being it. If you talk to anybody for long enough they will become fascinating. Everybody has a crazy story – even if they don’t realize it.

Okay I hit a wall writing this just as Jon Salem called me. Jon is an ADHD coach in Tampa, FL and overall a great chap. He wanted advice on selecting a new name and logo for his business. I sent him a couple articles that Will wrote a while ago that have helped a lot of people. I also told him what my intuition was telling me (niche down!).

How does one become interesting? Sometimes it has nothing to do with having people say, “What an interesting person!” Jon immediately became more interesting to me just because he called. We only met once before and now he’s calling. He was also honest in that he said, “I want to keep in touch and so I called!” How many times have I said, “I want to keep in touch,” and not called? Pretty much all of the times. Jon is interesting because he takes action.

I’m stomping on the toes of a bunch of the following techniques for making friends.

Let me give you two more examples of new SXSW friends of StartupBros.

Three of the people mentioned in this post are in this picture: Tedd Fox is in the back left with the crazy face. Egon is up front with his hat. Mansal's head is right above his. And I'm over there on the right smiling up a storm

Three of the people mentioned in this post are in this picture: Tedd Fox is in the back left with the crazy face. Egon is up front with his hat. Mansal’s head is right above his. And I’m over there on the right smiling up a storm

The first thing Tedd Fox said to me was a joke too dirty to put on the internet (too dirty for the internet!) and then he kept making jokes that I had to laugh at. If I were Catholic I would probably have to repent for laughing later but I’m not, so I just kept laughing. Tedd is one of the weirdest people I know and he’s made three #1 apps for various companies. He’s a champion and he’s hilarious and now he’s a good friend. If you want to get a taste of Tedd (or you need help with mobile development) check out NineRocketships.

“You look like shit.” That’s Zach Price’s idea of introducing himself. He wasn’t wrong. I was still drunk from the (New Orleansian) night before and hadn’t shaved or slept. Indeed, I looked like shit. If Zach didn’t introduce himself in such an interesting way I wouldn’t know him as well as I do now. As it turns out, Zach is one of the nicest/coolest/smartest dudes on the planet – and a publisher. We recorded a podcast for you on the future of the publishing industry and we’ll probably be working with Zach in the future to launch a couple projects we have lined up.

I almost forgot Egon! Egon contacted us through StartupBros.com and we had a beer with him. The first thing he started talking about was quantum physics and bizarre philosophies mashed into crazy sciences. YES! It wasn’t until a couple hours later that we learned about his business. He ended up going on the StartupBus and staying at the StartupBros house for SXSW. The guy epitomizes weirdness in the best way possible.

And now I can’t stop thinking of them. I can’t even begin to mention them all. (Sorry everyone!)

That sliver of weird that you hide away is your greatest asset. Stop covering up the most interesting thing about you.

One of the best uses for social media is to show everybody what’s interesting to you. The more you post the more chances you have of finding somebody else that’s interested also. When somebody “Like”s that you posted an article, message them about it. They are signaling to you that, “Hey, me too!”

Show people what you’re interested in and be interested in them and stop repressing the weirdness and you can’t help but be interesting.

 

sweet ringing

sweet ringing

Call people.

I’ve been getting in the habit of randomly calling people in the car. It’s much better and more engaging than the radio. I even call Will every once in a while. We live close together but still spend most days texting and emailing StartupBros stuff. It’s more fun to go voice-to-voice.

I just told you Jon called me. He got my words flowing again. He didn’t mean to do that. Just the thought of “I’ll call Kyle” then he clicked the buttons to do it.

I did that with my great aunt the other day. She’s one of the wisest women I know. I didn’t have anything to talk to her about but I called her and 30 minutes later she had to leave our fascinating conversation.

Sometimes I will call a friend I haven’t spoken to in a year. Sometimes a friendship that has gone stale is revived. Sometimes not. It doesn’t matter, it still felt good to pick up the phone and call someone.

 

free hug

Random acts of connection.

This is an extension of calling people. Keep friendships sizzling.

I was talking the other day to a 30-something entrepreneur about this whole friend-making business. His most important thing to say was, “And keep connected, otherwise they just fade away…” and his voice faded away with saying that. He was thinking about friendships that he wish he still had.

It’s hard. You can’t keep in contact with every person you meet. I can barely keep in contact with my family and close friends that I see every day. Every time you read a news article ask yourself who you know who would find it interesting. Send it to them.

When a picture makes you laugh, send it to someone.

Just click “Like” on Facebook. Stop being so stingy with those things. How do you feel when you get one? Like a king! Spread the love, it’s not like you only have a few of them.

Send random texts saying hello or giving out some weird piece of information.

Just make random acts of human connection.

TIGER PICTURES

TIGER PICTURES

 

Give them something.

You can’t get anything without giving anything. This isn’t a debit system, either. Giving without getting is the only kind of giving that matters. So you have to give more and more and more – the kind of giving that feels good.

You need to be generous right now. You need to stop hoarding everything and start giving it away. Let’s say you want to meet some CEO that everybody else wants to meet. Everyone is taking from him. “Give me this and that please.” Nobody give him anything anymore.

He has everything! What could you possible give him? Ideas!

Get good at having ideas.  Here are some to start you off:

● Give them nutrition advice.

● Give them fitness advice.

● Send them an article you think they’d enjoy.

● Relationship advice.

● Ideas to help further their cause.

● Ideas to help them get more business.

● Ideas to market their products.

● Ideas for features for their products.

● A flaw you noticed while using their product.

● Information about one of their passions.

● Ideas for their family members.

● Compliment something they’ve done.

StartupBros has been getting to that weird stage where it’s hard to keep up with email. Will and I get emailed by people and we love it! It’s just hard to keep up. So many of the emails look the same.

Then Eric starts emailing about trading and meditation and interesting things he’s doing. Then Casey emails and says, “Your site looks like shit and here’s what I’d do about it.” Both of them are awesome guys that I can’t wait to continue talking with.

Even when you have “nothing” to give, you have your mind. Sack up and realie that you have good ideas. That you’re as interesting as anyone else.

 

MAKEMAKEMAKE

MAKEMAKEMAKE

Make things.

People who make things are more interesting than people who don’t make things. When you have made things then you have more ways to help people. There are more ways for you to help your friends out.

If you’re trying to get a job, it’s nice to be able to point to something and say, “Look what I did!”

Making things with people is one of the best feelings in the world. It’s awesome when you have something that you’re making and you can involve other people in it.

One of the people who we hung out with constantly at SXSW was Mansal from The Hacked Mind. Mansal doesn’t drink. He’s not a vegan or paleo-er but he has his own regimen that is even more insane. Will and I drink though. We hung out with Mansal a bunch of nights and drunkenly yelled. He said I was still smart but “just more passionate”. I guess I can deal with that.

Oh yeah, making things. We made a podcast together! Just because we both like making things. We also interviewed the CEO of MediaHound because Mansal is awesome.

When you make things it’s easier to help you out. Start making something now. Makers draw in good people.

 

a human is a human

a human is a human

Humans are humans.

Yeah, but what if I want to meet a famous person!? Well, then meet them.

At SXSW I walked up to Jack Black and told him that he informed my entire childhood. He asked, “What are you, twenty?” Then the security cards came and pushed me away because the surrounding crowd now thought they could talk to Jack Black. Bastards ruined it for me. Some humans have security guards sometimes.

Jack Black or Peter Thiel or Steve Jobs all are humans with the same human needs as you. They also worry about not being loved. They also worry that humanity might nuke itself out of existence.

The other day I met Adeo Ressi  and he talked about how his friend Elon Musk is going to send people to Mars in our lifetime. That’s exciting. Adeo hangs out with billionaires all the time. One of the things that happens when you hang out with billionaires and people that send other people to space is that you begin to think big. Like, fucking BIG, and easily. He confidently talks about sending people into space and coating buildings in solar panel-goo and revolutionizing email like it’s no big deal. But he’s human.

If you watch anyone closely enough you will see insecurities pop up. You will see a micro-second of doubt or a harsh reply to something that hit too deeply. We’re all humans and we all need the same things.

Some dude gave Adeo an idea for the relationship between SpaceX and Tesla (Elon Musk’s two companies) which got him excited and he texted Elon immediately. There’s a chance that that idea speeds up our trip to Mars. Probably not, but maybe.

The best thing you can do for a superstar is treat them like a human. Not some idol like everybody else.

still love Ron... but don't hate you for not sharing the love

still love Ron… but don’t hate you for not sharing the love

Stop judging people so harshly.

It’s hard to make friends with someone while you’re sitting there judging them. It’s hard to make new friends when you sit making harsh assumptions from afar. “I bet he’s a liberal” or “He’s going to hate the idea” or “She is going to think I’m an idiot” or “She has a zit, ew” or whatever else you’re thinking before approaching someone is not going to help you make a friend.

I used to be obsessed with politics. Will and I would go to rallies and protests to set this crazy world straight. It was to the point that I would be disgusted with people if they wouldn’t convert their beliefs to mine. They’re ignorance was dragging our world down! It wasn’t until I realized that I had less friends (and certainly a less diverse group) because of my judgements of people based on their political beliefs that I finally stopped.

Actually, it was after that. It was after I had a few of my rock-solid perspectives on life turned on their head. Experience teaches you that you know nothing. Every great sage throughout history has pretty much told us, “You don’t know shit.” And every one of us thinks we break the mold. Until one day we take a more honest look and admit that this whole thing is much too large for us to understand.

harhar!

harhar!

There are a multitude of “right” ways to live in this world and they are going to vary from person to person. If somebody is a shitty person and hurts people then maybe they deserve tolerance. If they want to worship a weird statue or believe some weird book or vote in some weird way then maybe you should have a little tolerance.

Your harsh judgements of others are a waste of your energy. Try asking yourself why that thing bothers you so much. Is it really upsetting to have to look at a fat person? Is that person really dressed so offensively? Is their poor business decision really a drag in your life (and not a valuable lesson of what not to do)?

When you stop being mean to people in your head you will notice you begin to have more friends. When you’re more accepting of people you have a whole lot more chances at friendship.

Don’t give up your values, but realize they are yours. 

 

I tried to find an image for watering a garden but this came up. So I'm sorry. And you're welcome

I tried to find an image for watering a garden but this came up. So I’m sorry. And you’re welcome

 

Follow up with people (picture texts, articles)

I just got an email from a girl I met at SXSW. I gave her a copy of the book and met her for ten minutes in the morning. She was a fast-talker and didn’t seem to like the way I was dressed. She loves the book! Maybe she also now likes my hair. Either way, I forgot about her but now I remember.

While writing this article I’ve been reminded to text or email four other people that I met at SXSW that I wanted to touch base with.

It’s nice to meet people but, “Out of sight, out of mind.” I am the worst with this. I haven’t even called to say hi to my baby niece because she’s across the country. I’ll be right back.

Okay, back,  she’s doing great. Walking and everything!

that's not her, but she's even cuter

that’s not her, but she’s even cuter

My ex used to hate it because I wouldn’t text her every day. I would go a couple days just working and forget I had a girlfriend. That’s no good.

The same thing with all my relationships. Even with Facebook, email, texting, teleporation, and the power of speech I still don’t stay connected with all the people I want to. I don’t see them every day, how can I remember to say hi?

Well you can start with the random acts of connection I talked about above.

Be like John, call when you think about calling.

Be like my ex wanted me to be like – text when you thought of texting.

Relationships fade extremely quickly. Make a list of ten relationships you don’t want to fade.

Maybe five of these are strictly personal and the other five are personal and professional. Make an event on Google Calendars that repeats every Monday. Put the list in the event and then contact all of them that day.

Don’t break the chain. Keep your relationships alive by constantly infusing interest and love into other people’s lives.

 

say yes to invites

say yes to invites

 

Accept invitations

I hate going to events and meeting new people. Like I will make up almost every excuse not to go.

Meeting new people is such a drag. “What do you do?” Then I have to tell people that I don’t even know what I do but I run this site StartupBros and have they heard of it? Then they will sit there and make fun of me and tell me about their boring business and the whole time I’ll have to pee. They’ll probably also stake me out as a fraud and laugh in front of the whole party or event.

Or at least that’s what I assue will happen every time.

What actually happens is I make a new friend every time. I meet a new person and my heart beats fast and I blurt out the weird thing I’ve been thinking about all day and then they say, “Wow! I love that, too, have you heard that…” and we have a magical conversation and go frolicking together.

My heuristic for accepting invitations is:

The worse you want to stay in, you have to go out.

Every time I put off a meeting with a person I know that I need to schedule it for ASAP.

Next time somebody invites you to something. Go. Unless it’s a heroin party. Those will shit on your life faster than a seagull watching you buy a new car. Go with an open mind. Go with the willingness to shake a hand, look somebody in the eyes, and say something interesting.

 

master interviewer charlie rose

master interviewer charlie rose

Interview people

One of the best ways to get to know somebody is to interview. There is something about sitting in front of a mic together talking for an audience that brings out stories and little details that don’t come out otherwise. You’ll see what I mean when we start releasing our recorded podcasts.

You don’t need to have a platform to interview people. Do an information interview. This is a great way to meet new people.

I’ve gotten to know a lot of huge successes just by asking them questions. People who have had success want to share the love.

It doesn’t need to be a sit down interview, either. You can email back and forth.

I just met a kid who had literally zero business experience before landing a job at a private equity firm. How did he get the job? He asked the founder of it if he could email him some business questions. Apparently he asked great questions because he got the job and is now working on a brand new (massive and exciting) education project. I can’t wait to tell you more about that but for now, just email somebody who you wish you could connect with.

 

sometimes the best idea you can introduce is a kiss

sometimes the best idea you can introduce is a kiss

Introduce ideas together (the people that have them)

When two people want to do things and they mash up to fill each other’s holes, you’ve got a magic. You now are making friends by connecting friends outside of yourself.

A friend needs a website built for some city that’s booming in Panama. I have a friend that loves building websites for booming cities! I e-introduced the two. I hope the hug and become good friends. Another guy paints to music and needs a videographer – I know videographers who love painting! BAM! More friendships.

When you create a friendship outside of yourself it’s like multiplying your own friendships. They will be building their relationship and you’ll be in their mind.

When somebody says, “I need to find somebody who can do ____ or is interested in ___,” then go through your friends and see if any match up. Ask your friends if they have any friends that match up.

Nobody loses when connections are made. It’s like this web of a thing that just keeps growing and growing. Almost like a network. Don’t scientize the building of the web (or worry about my neologisms) or you’ll miss the magic sauce. The magic is friendship, human connection. That doesn’t happen unless there’s sincerity.

 

Nassim Taleb, my mind-hero

Nassim Taleb, my mind-hero

Barbell Networking: Create an Antifragile Network of Friends

“Kyle, you’ve told me nothing about networking. Fuck you and your friendship ideals, I wanted actual advice!”

Yes, huh! I did too! If you know how to make a good friend and you understand that every human is in fact a human then you know how to meet anyone you want.

But fine, if you don’t believe me that you’re network depends on your ability to make friends. If you don’t believe me that life is better when you make more friends (and that those friends will also bring you the most business success) that’s okay. One day you will. Everyone burns out when they network for networking’s sake.

In the meantime, I’ll give you some real, hardcore, “practical” networking advice.

Anybody who has read me before knows that I love Nassim Taleb, especially his most recent book, Antifragile. In it he describes a strategy of barbelling activities. His barbell fitness routine is this: lift extremely heavy weights once a weak or so and then walk 20-30 hours a week. For eating: feast one day and fast another. Investing: have 90% of assets in the safest thing possible and 10% in the riskiest (highest potential reward) possible. He creates these situations for himself that gives his life variation.

As humans we tend to try to straighten things out and force them into easily digestible/definable explanations that make a nice story. We are scared of uncertainty. But everything extreme happens in uncertainty.

For instance, a good friend of mine has been playing guitar gigs in the Florida Keys for a few years. Recently Andy Hilfiger (Tommy’s brother) saw him at a gig and said, “You got to get out of Florida, come to LA and I’ll do what I can to make it happen for you.” Bam! Completely unexpected and now John is going to L.A. Here is him singing The Beatles’ Here Comes The Sun:

What did John do? He showed up. He kept showing up (just like The Beatles). And then he connected with a bunch of people and one of those people happened to be Andy Hilfiger.

You have this kind of serendipity in your life. Let’s add more.

We are going to make a barbell out of your friend-making life.

Step 1: Connect as shallowly and widely as possible. Go on Facebook and “Like” everything. Join a bunch of groups that interest you. Go to a bunch of parties and meet everyone there. Shake as many hands as you can.

HOLD IT! Doesn’t this go against everything I said before? No. These aren’t people that you want to be friends with. Go as shallow as possible. Meet a million people until….

You look in the other person’s eyes and you see magic. Or you just get the strong feeling that you want to know more about the person. Or if they just make you feel good about life. Skip as quickly as possible all those people who you know you don’t want to be friends with. Spread your seed wide! Get it all over social networking sites and parties. Literally twenty seconds ago a guy messaged me on Facebook (which is the dumbest tab I could possible have open while trying to write) to tell me that he met a guy at a party that invited him to the New York House of Genius (the other dumbest thing is putting links to point away from your website – come back to me!)

The difference here between card-slinging networking and friend-making is that we’re actually looking for friends on this one. The connection is different. When you feel that connection, dive!

Step 2: Go deep. After you make the initial connection, commit. Don’t treat the person like an acquaintance, treat them like a friend. You shouldn’t make 100 friends at a conference, maybe just 10 (and that’s probably too many). Get to know them. Get to trust them. Maybe see how you can build something together. Put in the TIME! It will be weird to see other connections passing you by. Business cards walking past. Don’t make a friend feel like shit because you want to spread your seed further. 

At SXSW this year I probably made six friendships that will last for years. That’s more than almost anywhere else there can say.

Spread your ideas wide, skip over everyone. Then when you find one that hits you, commit! (This advice is easy for me to follow in friendships, harder in romance.)

 

YOUR NETWORK IS VAST AND SPACEY!

YOUR NETWORK IS VAST AND SPACEY!

Finally, Your Network Is Already Massive And Powerful

I learned about 3rd degree connections in Ben Casnocha’s (and Reid Hoffman’s, I guess) fantastic book The Startup of You. He points out that you’re connected to like a bajillion people if you go by the third degree. That means your friend’s friend’s friend. LinkedIn demonstrates the power of the third degree like this:

Suppose you have 40 friends, and assume that each friend has 35 other friends in turn, and each of those friends of friends has 45 unique friends of their own. If you do the math (40 × 35 × 45), that’s 54,000 people you can reach via an introduction.

That’s a LOT of people. And most of us have more than 35 direct friends. The secret here is that one person in the chain knows you. Look at this chain: You -> John (1st) -> Jane (2nd) -> Jim(3rd). When John introduces you to Jane, John knows you. When Jane introduces you to Jim she knows you through John. This keeps the trust in the connection.

Do not go around crying that you don’t know the people who are included in the “it’s about who you know” thing. Don’t accept that excuse from yourself. You’re better than that. Your friends know it and you know it.

The point is, wherever you need friends, there they are. 

by Kyle Eschenroeder

Thanks for taking the time to read this! Let me know what you think - the good, the bad, the ugly - in the comments below. I'm an entrepreneur (more in the StartupBros About Page) in St. Petersburg, FL but this World Wide Web let's us connect from anywhere in the world: Facebook Google+ Twitter Or email me any time (you can get my email by signing up on the form below)

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  1. #AWESOME post. For the record, I was having a bad hair day in that pic ;-) Thanks for the props! Stay #AWESOME Bros!

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    1. Thanks Ted! I think you looked #AWESOME hahaha

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  2. As an ex-businesscardslinger, this article really hit home for me. I have always felt that I do a good job making friends, but as I read this, I realized how many more I have let slip through the cracks. I’ve always been a big fan of car ride phone calls, that’s how I keep up with many of my friends from school. But I really learned a bunch from this man, thanks so much for putting it out into the universe for us all to take in!

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    1. Thanks for saying something, Chris! Hope to see you around

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  3. This, this is fantastic. This is exactly what I needed to hear. Several of the things you’ve noted are things I’ve discovered over the course of the last month and a half (after getting my shit together, losing 25lbs and counting, and moving out of my mom’s house, even if all my shit STILL isn’t out of her house…)

    I’m trying to get my solo music career going, because I realized that my dreams of doing any and everything in the music business- and becoming a renaissance man-lady in general- shouldn’t be put on hold just because I’m in a band now. I want to start painting again, and writing, and songwriting more; I want to learn to legitimately stunt drive instead of pretending- and now I jog sometimes when I get bored of walking.

    I want all the success in the world for my band, it’s members, and myself, SO, in the meantime, if there are no assignments for the band for me to do, then I need to quit sitting around anxiously awaiting the next step (waiting to be allowed to make an event page for a gig, or post a song, wah wah wah)- instead I’m going to continue to put MYSELF out there and make those connections so that I can FLY FLY FLY.

    ~speaking of flying- side note- on Monday I was supposed to make music in the studio with one of my friends/connections- we flew kites instead. SERIOUSLY? seriously.

    By the way, we are not far from each other! I hail from Naples, Fl, and my band actually has a gig on May 10th at Copperhead’s Tap House in Safety Harbor. That’s 20 miles or so from you. I promise if you come out we’ll show you a good time, and I’ll serenade you with Beyonce’s “1+1″- yes, my folk/rock/progressive bluegrass band plays Beyonce- one of the guys in my band sings “Single Ladies” as well. It’s a hoot.

    Check us out, I think you’ll dig it, we’ve got several live recordings and videos, I’m the ginger gal, the only gal- well, that’s debatable- http://www.facebook.com/mygirlmywhiskeyandme

    AND ME! ON MY OWN!- new releases coming soon- http://www.facebook.com/katyschirardmusic

    ^that’s spamming isn’t it… or… networking?? -I JUST WANNA MAKE A FRIEND- and sing to said friend, sweet sweet melodies.

    Thank you for your time and consideration, and for writing such an interesting, informative, and FUN post. Imma have to check out some more of your musings, when time allows. Right now I gotta put the finishing touches on this home-made, finger-lickin-good demo I’ve been working on these past couple of days. :D

    - AND I WANT TO DO WHAT YOU DO-
    Best~Katy

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    1. Katy! EVERYTHING IN THERE IS AWESOME!

      Can’t wait to see you play! Let us know the details when the event gets closer!

      Not spamming at all, looking forward to hear you jam-a-dam!

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  4. test

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    1. What are we testing?

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      1. The elusive Eric Vu tran and his mad science tests

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  5. Another awesome piece of writing by the awesome Kyle – keep’in it real for the rest of us. Your buddy John has an great voice and individual style — just wasn’t sing’in “Here Comes the Sun” but “Come Together”. I know you know your Beatles!

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    1. Right now!

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  6. Great advice Kyle! (even if the occasional language makes me cringe a bit) :)

    The idea of random acts of connection is genius and something I need to start NOW. The section on giving instead of taking is also brilliant advice. I’ve spent the first part of this year focusing on that very thing. BTW, related to that thought, the idea I had recently (which has fallen by the wayside for a few weeks) is here – beasower.com. I give you this link for two reasons: 1. I know you’ll hound me about keeping on it, which I need, and 2. If you know anyone who wants to help in ANY way, let me know. Thanks for the LinkedIn connection too.

    Keep up the excellent work guys.

    -wallyp

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    1. Thanks Wally! As the first act of hounding – what’re you’re plans for Be A Sower?

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  7. Great post, Kyle! I love your blog and keep coming back for more.

    Just a comment– You included a picture of a woman wearing a bikini from behind with the words, “And you’re welcome.”

    That’s not a very good way to network with your entire audience. As a gay male, I wasn’t impressed. Most females probably wouldn’t be, either. Why not a picture of a cute puppy or something that appeals to everyone?

    I understand that the majority of entrepreneurs are straight males, but you don’t want to alienate potential contacts and business partners right from the start. I know from personal experience that women do look at these kinds of things when deciding whether or not to work with someone or take a job. It’s not much different than posting about politics in the way it can turn people off.

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    1. Hey Daniel! Thanks for coming. I’m grateful to have people like you in the community and participating!

      You bring up a really fascinating point – should I try to connect with everybody?

      It’s scary to me when people like you tell me that what I’m writing is wrong in some way. I got a bunch of emails from this post telling me to stop cursing so much. One long-time community member sent me a quote from George Washington basically telling me that dumb people curse.

      Then you tell me I’m alienating all gay men and straight women.

      But here’s the thing: it’s worse to alienate people by holding yourself back than it is by being your full self.

      This article also brought me a lot of strong personal responses because I said weird things in weird ways. I said dirty things and used dirty words to do it. That’s an example of putting my neck out, something I talk about in the article.

      I don’t purposefully alienate gay men and women. I love both groups of people. I’m currently working with gay men and women on various projects. Both groups have some appreciation for the beauty of the female body (as well as the male). I doubt the girl in the picture would be upset that people are being exposed to the photo.

      I’m a little bummed that you’ve been turned off by pieces of this post.

      I have to tell you that I can’t stop just because some people don’t like it. If I did that I wouldn’t do anything at all. I wouldn’t say anything about any of my ideas. I wouldn’t try anything.

      Daniel, if I tried to connect with everybody then I wouldn’t connect with anybody. I’d also spend even more time feeling lonely in this world.

      So I can’t stop saying things that will bother some people. I hope you don’t hold back in your expression either. I also hope you don’t stop challenging me on this blog!

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      1. So I wrote this epically long, poetic response to this, because I was very interested in how you’d respond to that post.

        AND THERE WAS SOME SYNTAX ERROR, AND ALL WAS LOST.

        FUCK SHIT STACK

        balls…

        It kind of hurts my soul, for it was an eloquent post.

        Seriously though, if I was 15 years old again I’d be crying for an hour. It was GENIUS.

        I’m sincerely upset, only because people would have read my post, and the light bulb may have gone off (and if/when it obviously didn’t, I would will it too, damn it.)

        So, in place of the eloquent post, I will quickly jot down what I would HOPE people’s reaction would have been-

        “Oh shit, that makes so much sense- many people ARE alienating themselves by insisting on being offended by everything, and everyone has the potential to be offended by any which one little thing on the surface of this planet… and we ARE all part of the same group, in the end- the world community- and especially in this day and age we really ARE all connected by some degree or fashion, not just history and lineage anymore. And if we keep on isolating ourselves and putting ourselves in little boxes, we WILL spiral back into nothingness. Also, Kyle IS the only one being truly alienated, though he may have inadvertently alienated someone, some thing- lonely soul, or despaired poet- or some group, even several, that in the end may have actually alienated themselves initially by diverging from the greater world community. And yeah, people DID pay way too much attention to the minute details and phraseology, as opposed to the heart of the message- the goal was not to harm, but to charm?!- boy, that gal hit the nail on the head! And though yes, indeed, it wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea, and it’s their constitutional right to express that, in the end- again- why in the hell are we all so offended all the time…? And gee, I remember now that I forgot to go out and make that friend, or shower, because I was busy being offended- or actually, in this case, forgot to eat because I’m contemplating the fragile disposition of many people in the world today… squirrel. ”

        Somethin like that… I feel like a high schooler writing a summary… where we just move the paragraphs and ideas of a story around to make it look like we read it thoroughly and understood…

        Anywhos, here’s the main message I wanted to get across-

        “Some, [...], consider self-estrangement to be the end result and thus the heart of social alienation.”

        MAKE IT A GOOD DAY YALL. We put ourselves in the positions we are in. The only thing we have control over is ourselves, as well as our own state of mind, and when we realize that, the pressure is off.

        (copyin and freakin pastin, in the event that there is a failure again… son of a-)

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        1. DANG!! I had to read that four times to get it. I want to see the original post! You reminded me of
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_lK4cX5xGiQ

          “Some, …, consider self-estrangement to be the end result and thus the heart of social alienation.” – That’s beautiful! Who are the quotes for?

          It’s a tough balancing act – feedback is useful and I don’t want to have my message buried by trying to appeal to everyone. At the same time, you don’t want to edit away expression into a bad technical guide. So I always err on the side of saying things as I feel them. Maybe in a decade I look back on my writing and say, “Ah, childish cursing” maybe I look back and say, “I shouldn’t have held back so much.” The latter is the one that would kill me, I can deal with being childish, not wishing I would have said what I meant.

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        2. Hey Katy,

          Damn, that really sucks. Thanks for letting us know about it though, I have somebody on it trying to fix it now. In fact, I copy and pasted your SHIT STACK to him haha

          Sorry to hear it jacked up your epic, but I bet it’s even better the second time around :-D

          I’ll let Kyle respond to the rest of your comment, but I completely agree with your thoughts there! Wish I could have seen the full version, but at least I can make sure our comments are working for the next one…

          Sorry again,
          Will

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          1. No worries at all Will! Very well may have been an error on my end, who really knows. And it was my fault for not doing the copy/paste ritual to prepare for possible error (I usually do it, but I didn’t that time cause I was being an ass, and I second-guessed it as I hit “post comment” and THAT’S WHAT I FREAKIN GET)

            All of the essentials made it in the second post, I got my message across, and in layman’s terms to boot, compared to how my original post was worded… verrrry wordy. This is how it was meant to be, everything happened for a reason. I was able to recall the basics of everything I had noted in the first comment, but as a reader summarizing, rather than by memory as the speaker/writer, it’s wacky borderline idiot-savant type crap, I’ve decided (that’s my possibly less offensive way of saying- asperger’s type stuff). For I read what I’m writing like a millllion times over and over as I write, because I have issues (always more to freakin say; double checking that, though i am all over the place, my message is still clear…) AND HELL, I WRITE TOO MUCH- IT WAS A LESSON. Thanks for reading the half-assed version of my epic, and appreciating it. :D

            Kyle- DUDE, PEOPLE KEEP COMPARING ME TO JACK BLACK, I DON’T GET IT http://www.reverbnation.com/gingerfreeze -Ok I guess I do, you’ll hear it, especially if you picture a cabage patch-chubbkins- ginger gal writing and performing this stuff. If you feel inclined to take a bored moment to check out a side project not many very people know about, that link there’ll git ya… in person too, though- besides being a chubby 30-somethin year old man, when I perform my rap/comedy/novelty music, I am just as, if not more, enthused as when I perform “seriously”. I take not-being-serious so very seriously.

            Also, I agree- it’s sometimes a lesson hard learned for some people, looking back in retrospect and realizing that the “if and buts-candy and nutsacks” bit is a real hoedown. What will hurt more- bustin bubbles and hurting other people’s fragile egos, or your own SOUL? Seriously, if you ain’t singing your heart song, you’re singing what you THINK is someone else’s. and you ain’t never gon git it right. and that dont help no one. All you got in the end is yoself- laying down at night? BY YOSELF, no on else is inside you… unless you’re into that…………. ~turning into a gangster hick as we spizeak-malfunction- error-error~

            beeteedubs- quotes are for wiki-freakin-pedia brah, no joke. They referenced it from something else fo sho… But look it up- Social Alienation. It’s a fantastic article… I didn’t read the whole thing. yet. but I might! *’ [...] was “with Marx”. ‘*

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            1. you are a novelist! hahaha “let’s play pictionary!”

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  8. Thanks for the responses Kyle, Katy and Will.

    Kyle– I appreciate your dedication and goodwill. There is certainly something to be said for being yourself and expressing your identity. We can’t necessarily be 100% politically correct all the time, either. I don’t expect you to change your writing or way of doing things at all. I just wanted to point out that your caption may not be as funny to some people as it is others, which is ok. Humor is rarely universal.

    Katy– I think you misunderstood the nature of my comment. I was not in any way offended by Kyle. I was just pointing out another interpretation of his caption. It’s important to understand diversity when networking, so I thought my comment would be insightful to everyone. It’s really no different than pointing out that not everyone likes ice cream or some people are left-handed. I am concerned that you think pointing out a difference in society is going overboard.

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    1. Daniel- You’re absolutely right brother, yours is actually an awesome comment, one with a noble, comprehensible point to make. I can definitely see where you’re coming from. Though I think that defending the people who MIGHT get offended is interesting- I know that the actual people who really WERE offended took control and sent him emails getting on his tail. That’s, I guess, why I was interested to see what Kyle would respond to your comment with. I imagined he’d had enough real people actually getting offended, not just “groups” that we’ve made up. With that said, I think in fact you misunderstood my reply, which was to what Kyle responded with, not to your comment. Part of that might be because of how confusing and all over the place it was, I do apologize for that-I swear my initial post was much easier to comprehend.

      In my comment I am not addressing anyone in particular, except Kyle at certain points. If anything I’m addressing the people who would/could be, and even WERE, offended by his post, (the people you were referring to in your comment, matter of fact) those that would be offended by an apparent (in your opinion) faux pas on Kyle’s part.

      And though my post was not a reply to yours, you even stated you weren’t impressed- and that’s completely understandable. I too could have gone, and probably did, for a moment, go-”dang, too bad I don’t look like that, hmmph- but HAHAHAHAA DUDE ‘and you’re welcome?!!’ too funny, bro, too too funny!”. I can appreciate the humor- I didn’t even think about anything but “haha, what a funny lil’ buffer between ideas for this super long post. I understand it may take a special kind of appreciation for that kind of general humor, or maybe… an open mind that isn’t quick to get offended too easily… But here, if we want to look at groups, statistics, and specs- I’m an overweight, hourglass shaped, 5 foot tall ginger hobbit, lady- not a woman, sparkling blue eyes, sensitive nature, straight as I know straight to be, single and available call me- and ~I~ could appreciate the image and caption. It was great. I can appreciate not only the humor, but the beauty of the female body, the ocean she is loping towards, the fact that I have eyes to see it, and color-vision… the list goes on… I looked past the surface I guess? Went into the entire article without judgement?-I’m not sure- I was only concerned with reading an informative article. If I was going to be turned off by little “possibly offensive things”, then I’d have closed it and never gained those seeds of wisdom and knowledge. I didn’t let the curse words distract me- rather, it didn’t dawn on me for them to. And I’m a young lady- I’m supposed to be sensitive to that shit. Bahaha! BOXES BRO BOXES

      No need to be concerned for me- and I am not concerned for anybody… maybe slightly for the people who are worrying so much about being offended, instead of just being observers and participants of the motion of life in it’s entirety. And only because I know how draining it can be. If it’s anywhere near as draining as hearing about how offended everyone is all the time.

      So, alas, in closing, no hard feelings are ever part of my agenda. Just a human like the rest of yas. Just an observer, a journeyman, and lover of life. I’m working on my patience, still, but I’ve long been a student of compassion and understanding. Kyle wasn’t trying to offend no-body, he’s just a got a blog on the interwebs where he can express himself. If it MIGHT offend someone, they gotta toughen up and just take from it the lesson they want to learn. Otherwise, why are they reading it… :D

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    2. Daniel, I’m lucky if ANYONE finds my jokes funny. I have definitely taken your comment to heart and appreciate you putting it out there.

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  9. I AM A BEAST A PICTIONARY. I was going to go to art school if I didn’t make it into music school. :D

    and scrabble, I dominate those around me. LET’S DO BOTH. Seriously, imma bring a scrabble board to my gig in Safety Harbor in May, if you come we will play during set breaks.

    Drunken scrabble? sounds delightful.

    but you’re right… I should have a blog, or just write novellas, so I can get it out of my system and make my comments shorter on other people’s shit…

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    1. Hahaha it does sound delightful. Let us know when the show gets closer!

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  10. You guys sound awesome! Want to be besties? :)

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    1. oh
      my
      gee
      MY name is Kyle too
      Besties indeed!

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      1. Two Kyles are better than one!

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        1. Kyle, now that we are besties, I have a question for you. It’s a little off this topic though.
          If I were to buy something from china and resell it on amizon, how do i know if its legal or not? Meaning how do i know if i am counterfeiting something…?

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          1. If it has a Nike swoosh on it then it’s probably illegal ;)
            I’ve got to defer you to the comments in Will’s posts though. I’m pretty sure he’s covered that. Scan through there and see if you can find anything (cntrl+f will help wading through the nearly 300 comments lol).

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  11. Will do! Thanks bestie! ;)

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    1. Godspeed!

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  12. I could hug you for writing that. “Networking” as it is always described to me really turns me OFF. What you describe really – erm – turns me on! It’s how I want to be.

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    1. Thanks Michael!
      So glad you liked it. The more of us out there the better :)

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  13. THIS IS GREAT! Friendships are so important. GOOD friendships are hard to find, but we have some pointers on our blog and you can check it out here http://www.weartostandout.com/blog/how-to-be-a-hepburn-in-a-hilton-world-chapter-four and tell us what you think! xoxo, WearToStandOut

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    1. I can get behind a small, selected inner circle. Nice!!

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  14. thanks Kyle
    as a PR practitioner and mother i have to say this article is wise and thoughtful and incredibly helpful . i enjoyed it so much that i have sent it to both my university aged children and i am making my How are you phone list . Really you have provided an effective antidote to Networkingitis thank you and be well. Best

    Susie

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    1. Thanks a Tom, Susie! I hope your kids find it as useful as you did! (They’d probably like my book, too ;) )

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  15. That was pretty cool post and I really learnt a lot. Your’s is a much more fulfilling and natural strategy for meeting people. However, I also disagree with the image of the woman, I would have been much more humerous to put a GIF of Miley Cyrus twerking :D

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  16. That was a really cool post! I learnt a lot. However, I don’t really appreciate the woman’s backside image……It would be much more humorous to see an gif of Miley Cyrus twerking :D

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  17. Wow.

    This is a leviathan of a post, but it’s brilliant!

    Thanks for writing this Kyle.

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    1. Thanks for reading :)

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  18. I have enjoyed reading your very well written blog posts. I’ll be a frequent visitor, that’s for sure.

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  19. Amazing work Kyle! This was an interesting find that I came across after a night of high expectations turned out the other way around…but on the bright side, i felt rewarded to read this because it opened up my eyes to how shallow I’ve become throughout the years, and this is because I had felt the absolute need to network as opposed to actually TRYING to make new friends. This was spot on, and I appreciate the advice that you have given because a life with people who care and enjoy your company essentially epitomizes happiness!

    I sincerely thank you!

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    1. I’m glad you found this, Alex! I’m curious – how did you get to this post?

      I hope you stick with it and stay patient… it is “harder” work to stay pure, but it pays off big time!

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