I’m sure you’ve all heard the regular banter on how, when it comes to business, you have no friends. Everyone is out to get you, to outdo you, to push you down, to do whatever it is they can to make you fail. Although there is some truth to this, there is a much more pertinent reason as to why the reality of things are as they are; why, in reality, you don’t actually have any friends. This, however, does not only extend to those following through on entrepreneurial endeavors; this is the reality we all live in.
The reason I am targeting entrepreneurs in particular is because – as I have recently been forced to accept – understanding this fact can and most likely will mean the difference between your success and your failure. This goes for anyone trying to sell anything, whether it be a product or a service, regardless of whether you view yourself as an entrepreneur or an artist. You must remember and always keep in mind that the reality of things is that you have no friends, at all – not a damn single one. Forget this and you can lose a whole lot more than just your business.
When you launch your business, your thought is naturally that, at the very least, your friends will be there to support you. You launch your Facebook page not expecting all 2,000 of your "friends" to like it because, let’s be honest, they aren’t really your friends. But you do expect those friends you have met outside the interweb to take a second to click that damn thumbs-up button.
You expect your friends to, at the very least, attempt to change their habits from buying the very same products from other stores and instead purchase them from yours. You expect some sort of support. You don’t expect people to necessarily go out of their way to help you succeed, but since they know you, you’d think they would want to help you. Well, you’re wrong.
What about your closest friends? Those who you see and socialize with regularly. Those you’d expect would go out of their way to help you with your business, with your dreams. Those who explicitly told you, promised you, that they would be there to help you if you needed help. Those who you may very well have asked to help you. I’m afraid you can’t rely on them, either.
They may be supportive in the beginning, but more likely than not, they are just blowing smoke in your face. Friends feel obligated to promise support, but they basically never follow through with it. Your oldest friends, your acquaintances, your colleagues, just about every single person in your life will disappoint you. Accept this now and you may have a chance at beating the odds.
The real question is, why? Why is no one willing to help you? Why are your friends refusing to support you? To be your friends? There are several reasons. The first being that all people are egocentric and egotistical, at least to some level. They value their time more than they value yours. They value their well-being more than they value yours. They value their lives and their livelihood more than they value yours. And when it comes to trading their time and their energy for your benefit, well, it isn’t ever their priority.
Friends are an illusion, or rather, our definition of friendship is all wrong. Very possibly in some parts of the world, the bond of friendship does stand to the definition. In rural areas, where people have been raised to value friendship above all else, the concept of friendship may remain intact. However, with social media shrinking the size of the world and multiplying the size of our social network, we no longer honor friendship. Why? For one, we are pressured to feel competitive.
We now realize how many of us there are and feel a need to outshine each other. We want to prove to ourselves and to others that we are not only valuable, but invaluable. We’re “special.” We also have lost the true meaning of friendship. With most of us now having “friends” numbering well into the thousands, who really cares if we lose one? We are connected with more people, but each individual connection is less genuine.
Secondly, there is something inside of us that bugs us when others are succeeding and we aren’t. We like to think of ourselves as on top of the world; we imagine that if anyone in our group of friends succeeds, it will definitely be us. When it’s not, we hate the situation we find ourselves in. We don’t hate the situation our "friends" find themselves in, but we hate the situation they are putting us in.
Because they are succeeding, are we automatically failing? That’s what experience seems to prove. It’s easy to think that you’ll be there for your friends to support them, to help them live their dreams, but unfortunately, you won’t. The more success your friends experience, the less time they have to spend with you like they used to. Will you be willing to support them when you feel like their success is forcing them to abandon you? Of course not. They don’t have a choice, of course, but you won’t care.
Any reason your friends have to not support you, they will use to do just that. It’s a combination of their large egos and their egocentric tendencies that will have them leave you on your lonesome. You can disagree with me, but I promise you, if you go off on your own, you will find yourself to be very much alone. Is this awful? I don’t think so. I accept it as a fact of life.
As an entrepreneur, I had no choice but to accept it or risk losing everything, my mind included. Starting your own business is extraordinarily stressful; it weighs down on you and at times makes you feel like you’re about to implode. So what do you do? You turn to your friends for support. You turn to them for help. You turn to them to talk to them and have them listen. I’m afraid your worries will fall on deaf ears.
If you’re going to be an entrepreneur, expect help from no one and beware of help from those that offer. While most of your friends will be indifferent to your success and troubles, there will be those who want to come along for the ride – not to help, but to take advantage of your hard work. To summarize, there are those of your "friends" who will disappear off the face of the planet and then there are those "friends" who appear from your past and act like you never lost contact, like you’ve been besties all along.
Your friends will either ignore you or try to use you. No one will help you. No one will listen to you and support you. You are completely and utterly alone.
Looking on the bright side, however, you are in full control of your destiny. If you succeed, it’s all you. If you fail, it’s all you. When you’re on top, you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you did it all on your own, because in reality, that is the only way anyone ever succeeds: alone.