By July 21, 2012 16 Comments Read More →

I Get By With a Little Help from My Friends

The Friendship Quiz

“Do you need anybody?  I need somebody to love.” — Beatles

How do you measure a friend?  … What would your life be like without your friends that lift you up?  … Are your best friends the ones in your favorite “best friends are forever” photo?

It’s friendship appreciation time.  DailyFeats has teamed up with O, The Oprah Magazine to bring you Random Acts of ODailyFeats is on a powerful mission – “make everyday action a force for positive change.”

I like their approach:

Start with small steps, get things done, earn rewards.

That’s powerful stuff.   Effective, too.

The latest “Random Act of O” is focused on friendship appreciation, and you can take The Friendship Quiz, by visiting the “Random Acts of O’ Facebook page“.  By taking The Friendship Quiz, you explore why your friend is important to you.  Better yet, you can also send your friend a personalized message letting them know why they matter to you.

Sometimes, we just don’t say enough.  Sometimes we say too little, too late.  Sometimes we don’t know how much somebody mattered until they are gone.  Sometimes we don’t know how much we mattered to somebody, because they never told us.  And sometimes you just don’t know how good life was, until a friend is gone.

Let your friends know they matter.

I grew up with the belief that actions speak louder than words.  As a result, I always focused on showing my friends I care, rather than saying it.  The lesson is that saying it counts for something.  In fact, it often counts a lot.  I’ve learned to use my words more, to say what I mean, and mean what I say, since actions don’t always speak the best for us.  It’s a balance.

Anyway, when I think about friends,  one of my favorite lines comes to mind.  It’s from the Beatles song, “With a Little Help from my Friends“.  It goes like this …

“Oh I get by with a little help from my friends.”

True that.

Where would we be without our friends?

Growing up, my Mom always reminded me that, “A friend in need, is a friend indeed.” I didn’t know if that meant beware of needy friends, or be sure to help a friend when they really need you, or true friends are the ones that help you when you really need it.  I think she mostly meant that real friends are the ones that bail you out of trouble, and you should be ready to do the same.  Or, to put it another way, don’t desert your true friends, and beware of friends that change with the wind.

Since then, I’ve known good friends, bad friends, fake friends, best friends, real friends, true friends, and the various shades in between.  Sometimes the best way to know a true friend, is to know an archenemy, and you can always thank an archenemy for appreciating your friends a little more.

Among the many lessons of friendship, one truth stands strong … our friends make our life, our work, and our world … a better place.

Here are just a few of the types of friends that help us make our way in this world …

  • The friends who really get you.
  • The friends who like you, flaws and all.
  • The friends who help you bring out your best.
  • The friends who care about you, simply because you are you.
  • The friends who stand up for you, even when you don’t stand up for yourself.
  • The friends who inspire you, even when you don’t feel very inspired.
  • The friends who add a little sunshine, to an otherwise gloomy or doom-filled place.
  • The friends who embarrass you, in ways you cherish forever.
  • The friends who remind you that you were born for something more.
  • The friends who drag you into the craziest things that you would never do on your own, that turn into little memorable scenes you play over in your mind, in the best of times and the worst of times..
  • The friends who know you, and yet, still love you.
  • The friends who make you laugh, no matter how hard your world has shattered.
  • The friends who cry with you. or lend a shoulder or a helping hand, and remind you that you are not alone.

Friends really are something special, huh.

Keep in mind, that there is one little question that you can always ask, while you are forging your friendships.  Let’s turn our attention back now to our Beatles Song, “With a Little Help from My Friends.”  The little question goes like this:

“What would you do if I sang out of tune,
Would you stand up and walk out on me.”

A friend might stick it out.  A good friend might stick it out, but then let you know how bad it was in private.  A true friend would stand up and sing out of tune with you

A friend indeed.

Have you appreciated your friends today?

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Photo by Wild_Child_HC.

16 Comments on "I Get By With a Little Help from My Friends"

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  1. Brant Zwiefel says:

    Nice article my friend!

    One of the things we often discuss at work is what it means to be a trusted advisor. Of course, this is in a business setting, but I think true friends are a lot like trusted advisors. A trusted advisor is:

    1) Customer Value-Centered – They get to know what you want and what you really need and help you clarify the difference. They also give you a little bit of both when you need it most.

    2) Open and Honest – They tell you the truth, even if it isn’t something you want to hear, but it might be something you need to hear. But most importantly, they deliver the message in a way that proves they have your best interest in mind.

    3) Capable – They get things done and sometimes can teach you a thing or two. They have mastery over something and you know a big job needs doing, they can help you get it done. They are someone that may have similar interests and complementary capabilities that drives a relationship “balance of trade”. For example, there might be times where you will put more into the relationship than you feel you are getting back, but this relationship value ledger is close to equal over the long haul.

    4) Reliable – When you need them most, they are there for you. Someone to celebrate with, someone to share your deepest pain, whenever you need them, they are there. It doesn’t mean you have to solve their problems, often it is someone they trust to listen to their troubles or truly celebrate your accomplishments without any fear of betrayal or jealous.

    5) Respected – Finally, and most importantly, they are someone you respect and they, in turn, respect you. This respect is earned over time by being customer value-centered, open and honest, capable and reliable.

    While I have lots of friends, my true friends are indeed a very small circle. They are my very best friends and while sometimes we don’t talk for long stretches, I know they are there for me and I am there for them. However, if you are as lucky as I am you might even find a life partner that is all these things and more.

    Thanks for the great post J.D., you are a true friend.

  2. Thanks JD,
    A great reminder to text some friends today.

  3. Evan says:

    I have been very fortunate in my friends. Anything I have learned or achieved has been partly due to their support (not everything but decisive).

    Thanks for the reminder.

  4. Love this: ” our friends make our life, our work, and our world … a better place.”

    It is true and I don’t appreciate mine enough. I need to Skype and email more with the ones that are overseas:)

  5. Evelyn Lim says:

    From reading your post, I am reminded to say thanks to you for your friendship. We might not have met but it’s nice to have gotten to know you some through your blog, JD. It has been some years now. Who knows? We may even meet some day and that will be wonderful!

    I wish you every love, success and happiness.

  6. JD says:

    @ Brant — I really enjoyed your connection between friend and trusted advisor. It makes perfect sense.

    Beautiful attributes.

    “Customer Value-Centered” reminds me of your point on asking, “Who do you serve?”

    Your service to others, and your depth always shine through.

    @ Aaron — Ah yes, the age of convenience and connection.

    @ Evan — You reminded me of one of my favorite quotes on supportive friends …

    “Choose your friends wisely-they will make or break you.” — J. Willard Marriott

    @ Annabel — My friends have lifted me up, in so many ways, so many times.

    @ Evelyn — The time sure flies. I remember the first time I came across your work. Such passion and elegance … and so authentic … a true reflection of how you put yourself into your work and in the service of others. I admire that, and your ability to follow your heart and live your excellence.

    It’s a small world, and we have more time ahead of us than behind us.

    Best wishes for the road ahead.

  7. Larry says:

    Thanks for the reminder. They say the average person has about 250 friends attend their funeral – don’t wait til then cuz’ they’ll all be crying.

    Personally, I have been through a season both personally & professionally where real friendships seem hard to find & even harder to keep. The few that fit the “out of tune singing definition” I have really worked to cultivate – a lot like a garden – plant good seeds in good ground, keep the weeds out, feed & water regularly. Sounds like another blog …

    Take care, my friend.

    Larry

  8. JD says:

    @ Larry — You always have the best words of wisdom and you know how t put them in an elegant and pithy way :)

    Yes, that’s the key, planting and weeding.

    One of my mentors taught me to think of relationships more like a river, and less like a lake. A lake is static, but people flow in and out of your life.

  9. Alik Levin says:

    JD, great reminder – THANK YOU!

  10. Prashant Bansode says:

    Hi JD,

    This awesome articles – in the race of life we really forget what we are blessed and enjoy those things, friends being one of those. Its a good reminder that you have given, again at your articulate best!!

    Always love to read your blogs and now I know why :)

    Regards,
    Pab

  11. Vidya Sury says:

    Thank you, JD. :D What a coincidence – I was working on a post of the same title. Indeed, friends are the family we choose. Beautiful post as always. :D I like the Joe Cocker version of the song – probably because I loved the TV series “The Wonder Years”.

    Thanks for starting my day off on a great note!

    Hugs! Love, Vidya

  12. JD says:

    @ Alik — That’s what friends are for ;)

    @ Prashant — Thank you.

    You’ve been one of my biggest lifts in life … our epic adventures together are the highlights of my journey at Microsoft.

  13. JD says:

    @ Vidya — All paths lead to the same town, and great minds think alike, right ;)

    That said, I’m still amazed by how often the Web reveals how so many people end up with the same ideas, over time and distance. It’s like a collective conscious.

    I love the Joe Cocker version, too … he really sings it with passion, and “The Wonder Years” was really well done.

  14. Paul Enfield says:

    What struck me about this paragraph is how it relates to 5lovelanguages.com.

    It was enlightening for me to learn that I am somewhat deaf to actions done for me but more receptive to words. In reading this paragraph I realized this extends past my love life and into my general interpersonal relationships.

    It’s good to recognize that what we are inclined GIVE isn’t always well aligned with what someone appreciates and/or needs.

  15. Paul Enfield says:

    The blog extracted my quotation. I was referring to this quote:

    “I grew up with the belief that actions speak louder than words. As a result, I always focused on showing my friends I care, rather than saying it. The lesson is that saying it counts for something. In fact, it often counts a lot. I’ve learned to use my words more, to say what I mean, and mean what I say, since actions don’t always speak the best for us. It’s a balance.”

  16. JD says:

    @ Paul — I like the introspection here.

    It reminds me of an insight from Tony Robbins that whenever we have interpersonal conflict, that it’s not with the person, but with our rules:
    - How we need to hear, see, or show love
    - How we need to hear, see, or show appreciation or acknowledgment
    - How we need to hear, see, or show support
    … etc.

    He shared that an easy way to find our rules is like Mad Libs. Ask ourselves what we need to feel love. How we fill in the blank is our “rules.”

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