Friendship Obligations

Two friends hanging out at picnic outdoors

Being extended an invitation for coffee or tea is always a nice gesture, a simple gesture, but it can mean so much. There’s something special about being invited out. It’s a way of saying, “Hey, I appreciate you” or “I’d like to spend some time with you.” 

Let’s admit it: whether it’s a cuppa joe at the local coffee shop or even a pastry or two, it feels good to be invited and treated! When we take the time to connect with friends over a simple cup of coffee or tea, we’re indicating that we value their company and our friendship. And it’s easiest when you invite and meet with just one friend at a time.

It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money; a Coffee ChainMeet is affordable. The treat is definitely nice, but the time spent together and the RealConnection are what matters most.

I know what you’re thinking. It’s the age-old question: Am I obligated?

If someone buys you coffee, are you obligated to buy them coffee in return? While there is no easy answer, I believe that being treated to coffee, or pizza or donuts, does not necessarily mean that you are obligated to reciprocate. If you find yourself unable to reciprocate, don’t let it guilt you. But if you are in a position to do so, and you want to reciprocate, then by all means, treat away! 

Treating to food or drink is the same as giving a gift. Giving and receiving gifts is a part of everyday social interactions. Whether it’s a simple act of kindness or an exchange between friends, gifts or treats help to show appreciation and build relationships. 

RECEIVING gifts show acceptance and affirmation of a friendly gesture. 

It’s important to consider the intention behind the treat. If someone only buys you coffee in order to get something in return, then, of course, you may want to think twice before accepting their offer. 

However, if someone buys you coffee because they genuinely want to do something nice for you, well, I’m here to tell you that it’s time to accept graciously and start saying yes! That is showing thanks as well as acceptance and affirmation of your friend.

Because when you think about it, what’s the harm in enjoying a cup of coffee with a friend? A ChainMeet is simply a kindness, an Intentional Act of Friendship. And who doesn’t need more kindness in their life? So next time someone extends an invitation for coffee or a beer, say yes and savor every sip. Because at the end of the day, that’s what RealFriendship is all about.

There’s no obligation attached. But I hope there is a sense of reciprocity to link your friendship forward, to go and do likewise for another ValuedFriend.

Because at the end of the day, RFs treat and inspire VFs; and that is what ChainMeet is all about.

Now go and Inspire Forward!

In-Person vs Virtual

Young mixed-race couple friends students colleagues freelancers having video call conversation online on laptop outdoors in city urban area. Boyfriend and girlfriend communicating with friends

Sometimes, it can be hard to get our friends to spend time with us in person. Technology is awesome, we can easily and conveniently connect with our friends online through a wide variety of platforms. In recent years, chat rooms that allow users to create avatars have become increasingly popular. They can be fun depending on the theme of the room. They also offer a sense of anonymity, and they provide users with a chance to escape the reality of their everyday lives. 

However, avatar chat rooms can also be dangerous places. Many users find themselves becoming addicted to the “escapism” that these rooms provide. They begin to spend more and more time in the virtual rooms, and eventually, their real-life friendships suffer.  It’s no secret that the disconnect leads to social anxiety, loneliness and depression.

In addition, avatar chat rooms can be insidiously deceptive. It can become difficult to distinguish real life from the fantasy. Users can create any persona they want, even deviate way far from who they really are – Wait a sec, isn’t that kind of insulting? That I am supposed to become someone “better”? As if there is something wrong with the real “me”? 

So, it is impossible to know if you are really talking to a friend or a stranger, or even worse, a potential ________ (you fill in the blank). That’s scary. As a result, it is important to approach avatar chat rooms with caution.

Meet Kelly, who shares both her virtual and real-life experiences, and how she took off—away from her digital comfort zone: 

“I really wanted to be liked and validated for who I am. I longed for that sense of belonging. But I admit I was more comfortable wearing a mask of self-confidence in the virtual electronic world, because I felt so insecure in genuine face-to-face interaction. I finally grew weary of trying to keep up with the fake persona; I mean, will others love and accept the real me, or just the mask I was hiding behind? So, I was nervous, but took a step of faith by getting up and out, calling up and meeting up with a friend. Then another friend…and another… The key was just one friend at a time; that made it easy! As I was able to demonstrate my appreciation for my friends, I discovered the freedom of authenticity and the joy of RealConnection. Now that I can be my real self in-person, I feel confident and qualified to be a RealFriend! Do you know how liberating and empowering that is?”

So, if you want to get your friend to hang out with you in person, here are a few tips to try:

  1. Express how important their company is to you and how much you enjoy spending time with them. 
  2. Make an effort to be available when they’re free. If we’re always busy when they’re available, they’ll quickly get the message that we’re not interested in spending time with them.
  3. Invite them to a ChainMeet at a coffee shop or food cafe you know they’ll enjoy. If you make an effort to include them in choice of place or food, they’ll be more likely to want to spend time with you.
  4. Then ask how their latest project is going, or if they have any vacation plans; encourage them to talk about what is going on in their lives. 
  5. Finally, let them know that you’re there for them and that you value their friendship

By following these tips, you’ll be sure to motivate your friend to accept your invite to a ChainMeet and spend more time with you in person! 

Now go and inspire forward!

Do You Have a Personal People Portfolio

two guys walking down brick road

My friend, Derrick Kinney, is a Financial Wealth Advisor in Arlington, TX who created the Good Money Framework and the popular Good Money with Derrick Kinney Podcast.

I heard him speak to a group on how to Live Life Brilliantly. He asked, “What matters most to you in life? As your financial advisor, I’m here to help you live the life you’ve earned … life can be brilliant… my specialty is to help you better understand yourself, your uniqueness, your goals and your dreams and to help you develop a personal plan to achieve that brilliant life.” 

I like that. I want my life to be brilliant! Don’t you?

We’ve all heard that we should have an investment portfolio. I bet you’re thinking a financial portfolio, right? Well, yes, you’re right. But Derrick also talks about a different investment portfolio. And it’s another term I love, that I think is also brilliant. He calls it a People Portfolio.

Just as a successful financial investment portfolio is diverse, so are your friendships. Think about all the friends you have. Isn’t each one different? Isn’t each one unique? You probably have a different level or a different type of friendship with each one.

Your People Portfolio of ValuedFriends is among your most valuable assets! In the financial world, you hear of Present Value and Future Value. We can think of our investment in our friends in those terms. Derrick asks, What do you think pays the greatest yield? What earns the most dividends? Your friends! 

And I’ll add that RealFriends bring in even more dividends.

Derrick explains:  Don’t wait till you have such ‘n such to invest. What do you have today to invest? Yourself! Take hold of your life today and give it away. 

The cool thing with RealFriends is that the more you give away, the more you receive back and increase dividends. Have you heard, Give and it shall be given to you? That’s what happens when RealFriends connect during ChainMeets. That’s reciprocity.

As you value your friend, your own present value grows and you can be confident for future value

Now go and inspire forward!

I Am a Somebody

I read somewhere, “Be somebody who makes everybody feel like somebody.”  

Has anyone ever made you feel like you are somebody?

How did they do that?

I remember vividly the day Gina treated me to breakfast. She started by asking me questions on how my work was going. It was like she really wanted to know; she came across very genuine. She seemed to “get” what I was doing, and encouraged me to continue on, not to give up.

What also made a difference was her focus and eye-contact. She really focused on me and looked at me. It was like I was the only other person in the room besides herself. It was like I was a somebody!

Have you ever been invited out and treated to coffee or lunch (or something else) by a friend that you really like and respect, just the two of you? If so, how did that invitation make you feel?

During any time that you spent with a friend, just the two of you, over coffee or a beer (or anything else), did your friend focus on you with their full attention, listen to you, encourage you? If so, how did that consideration make you feel?

Has any time spent with a friend, as in the previous question, just the two of you, ever make a difference in your life with future plans, attitudes, energy, motivation, decisions, etcetera? If so, what changed?

Is there anything else someone did to make you feel like a somebody?

Care to share your experience? Your ideas?

Everyone Needs an Encourager

one friend comforting another friend

Have you ever been encouraged? How did it feel? Did it make a difference? Did it give you a new outlook?

I remember a morning when a friend encouraged me. I remember it vividly because I had been feeling unworthy and inadequate to move in a particular direction. When she affirmed me and my pursuit, it felt really good! It made all the difference in the world to me, and gave me fresh motivation. 

It wasn’t always easy to step out and take action, but I realized it was okay to be scared. Better to move forward scared than not to move at all! I have a quote on my desk written by Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx: “To me, failure is not trying, rather than not succeeding.”

We all need encouragement because it builds us up and makes us feel good about ourselves. In fact, encouragement is one of the most powerful tools we have to help others succeed. It’s also the right thing to do, and not just because we want something in return. It’s #BeingFriendtentional

But be encouraged! There is Reciprocity: when you see how you have encouraged your friend, you will feel the same.

When you encourage others, especially your ValuedFriends, it helps you connect with them on a deeper level and strengthens your relationships. I hope you are always on the lookout for ways to encourage those around you. Here are some ideas:

1. Give sincere compliments – everyone loves to feel appreciated.

2. Give someone a hug – physical touch is incredibly comforting and supportive.

3. Write a handwritten note and mail it to him – there’s just something special about getting snail mail.

4. Make a list of things you appreciate about your VF – this could be anything from his sense of humor to the way he always knows how to make you feel better.

5. Share an article, video, or song that you think would resonate with her – sometimes all it takes is finding the right thing at the right time to encourage someone.

6. Pray for her – we can offer up our prayers for anyone anytime, and it’s one of the most powerful things we can do.

Now go and inspire forward!

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