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  January 14, 2011
A Little Help From My Friends...

 

They say that, at the end of your life, if you can count your good friends on more than one hand you are indeed a fortunate person... 

To that I say, "Phooey!"

At the end on my life I hope to have more good friends than I can count on all my fingers, toes, teeth, bones and red blood cells in my body... 

To me, a friend is anyone who I’ve shared positive experiences with...be it someone I’ve known all my life or someone who just let me take cuts in line at the supermarket.  A friend is just a stranger I haven’t met yet... 

This is not to say that there are certain degrees and depth to friendships. 

That person you just met at your spin-class may not share as many rich experiences with you as perhaps your spouse...but the relationship has just started so what do you expect?... 

I like think of friendship as if we were playing in a poker tournament (a friendly social game...not one for real money). 

Everybody in the room is given a small stack of chips.  Hands are dealt over time and the chip stacks rise and fall accordingly.  Some players move to other tables and a few lose all their chips and go home. 

Whenever I begin a new relationship, I’ll generally "spot" my new friend a small stack of chips.  Over time, this friend and I might share some positive experiences together...maybe attend a social event, go for a bike ride, sit down and have a long talk over a few beers, or learn more about their history...hopes...fears ...and dreams.  Maybe they are a good listener...a good story teller, possesses a real positive attitude or someone who laughs at your corny jokes because they have a similar sense of humor. 

Participating in these types of events will cause the "chip stack" in front of the person to grow. 

Perhaps the person overly exaggerates, is constantly late (or never bothers to show up at all) for dates, or wallows in self-importance.  They are bores or bigots.  They talk about you behind your back.  They generally have a sour attitude or are filled with prejudice and narrow-mindedness.  They borrow money without the thought of repaying it.  They never initiate contact but rather wait for your calls or e-mails (unless they need something of course).  In short, they take but don’t add anything to your friendship. 

Participating in these types of events will cause the "chip stack" in front of the person to shrink.

Over time...the chip stack will grow and maybe even shrink.  If a person has been a great friend over time then they have plenty of chips in front of them so that they can afford to lose a few here and there...

Some friends might move away or just grow apart...this is very much okay because most of the time they still have plenty of chips in front of them and the friendship can be rekindled at any time. 

However once the stack of chips is gone...the friendship is bankrupt and it is just best to move on...no more "buy-ins" are allowed. 

It might sound like I’m a big proponent of keeping a running chip tally in a relationship...but that idea can’t be further from the truth...in fact...one of my life postulates is that friends NEVER keep score... 

The "chips" just help me to visualize the concept.  It also reminds me to constantly work at growing my stacks of chips with as many of my friends as possible.

I can’t control what other people do with their chips...I can just concentrate on building my stack...and becoming a better friend to my friends...

My friends are the most important people in my life...and I hope to have as many of them as I can possibly have... 

I hope that you feel the same way about your friends...  

Thank you very much for your support of OptiFuse, where we try every day to accumulate more chips... 


Jim Kalb
President
OptiFuse
jimk@optifuse.com


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