Everyone is trying to show the good side of their life. On Instagram people will take hundreds of photos in the exact same location and place the one out of 700 that match their “perfect life image”. It is a joke.
The truth about friends is really simple. If you have more than 5 tier one friends you are a very rich man/woman and should go to sleep with a smile on your face every single day. We repeat. Every single day. Why? A “real” friend is someone you have known for at least 5-10 years, does not waste your time and consistently looks to improve himself (also a millionaire or better). Good luck!
With the harsh backdrop out of the way here is how we look at friendships. Feel free to disagree.
Tier 1 – A “Real Friend”
No different than a ranking system in a Company, your friends should also have tiers. This is not sunshine and rainbows. It is called having high standards. If someone can be your “bestie” in less than 9 months we all know you’ve burned hundreds of bridges in the past. A smart person will take mental note and realize that you may not be the best person to spend time with.
1) A Tier 1 Friend is Busy: Anyone worth knowing is not going to spend every single weekend hanging out with the same person. In fact, a tier one friend will unlikely talk to you every single day and once a week is more than enough. We are being extremely loose with this definition and would say once every two weeks is probably more than enough as well.
Why? Simple. Anyone who is dedicated to being the best person they can be is not going to spend his time drinking with you at Starbucks everyday debating the meaning of “life”. This is what hippies do and if you’ve seen a hippie you sure as hell do not want to end up like them.
In Short: A real friend does not have time to console you every single day and is too busy to ever do such a thing. This is a positive. If you’re interested in becoming “the best you” (cliche we know) then you’re not going to have time for this either. Both of you are on the same page and realize “when we all die we get to meet the best person we could have become.” Most will be severely disappointed.
2) Doesn’t Force You to Bend Your Credibility: A smart person knows his words should have weight. This does not mean your message should be “perfect”. We live in a world where nit-pickers will be looking for you to “slip” on 140 character tweets (no joke people do this!). However. A good friend is more than happy to have your back (you will have his as well) in any battle of *reputation*.
A great example is when someone challenges your friend’s knowledge base. We’ve laughed extremely hard when we see people arguing over fitness and we are 100% certain that one of them is a top 5% athlete in the United States. It is a joke!
This is extremely similar to running a business. Your Company is your reputation. As they say you can replace the CEO with a man who has a stellar reputation and suddenly the Company’s image will change.
In Short: A tier one friend has enough personal information about you to have your back. In addition, you will *never* put *their* reputation at risk. The best way to do this is to prove your credentials to them through multiple sources before making claims. As they say “If you’re good at something, others will say it for you”.
3) Must Be Financially Successful: In order to be a tier one friend, they must be a millionaire. No exceptions. Elitist? Yes. Reality? Yep. Pretty simple reason as well. If you are rich and your friend is rich… You don’t need each other.
If a person is 1) financially independent, 2) does not work in the same industry as you and 3) consistently tries to improve his/her life… You’ve met a 0.5%er. You have read that correctly. Not 1% but less than one half of one percent or ~1.5 million out of the ~300M people in the United States [Yes we know the population is now about 330M you nit-pickers! We know you’re reading!]
In Short: It is extremely difficult for someone to break into the tier one friend arena. It should be. If you are financially well off, physically in great shape and consistently improve your own life… You’re well into the 0.5%.
Why is the filter so harsh on finances? Simple, if you’re rich … You will not know if people are interested in you or if they are parasites.
That is the real reason why it is “lonely at the top”. Fortunately, it is better to have a handful of friends and be at the top, than be at the bottom.
4) Will Shut You Down (Keeping You Honest):
Second chances are for people who have no options. If your girlfriend/boyfriend cheats on you and you do not leave immediately you’re an idiot and have low self esteem. A loser.
A friend is no different. If they make off color remarks and people are too brain-dead to see the point of the remarks, you step in and explain it. However. If your friend ever backstabs you or forces you to lie… You leave forever. It goes both ways. A real friend is not going to have your back when you are dead wrong. Differing opinions and deceit are certainly not the same and a bright person will know the difference.
As a friend of ours says, we will butcher the quote, “You can look past a mistake, you can’t look past a character flaw” – Mike Cernovich. See there’s an example of a mistake (joke).
In Short: A friend is not willing to lie for you when you’ve shown material character flaws and second chances are for people who have no options. You should be rewarded for *not needing* a second chance in the first place. Don’t surround yourself with “yes men” because they will be the first to ditch you when your company has a bad quarter.
5) No Complaining: You can be a narcissist (we are admittedly narcissists!) and you can be a prima-donna but you absolutely cannot ask for other people to solve your problems. If that sentence appears to be contradictory the distinction is subtle. You can make noise, be boisterous, be aggressive but you cannot *ask for other people to solve your problems*. Some people are extremely extroverted at all times but the one thing they do? They solve their own problems.
If you want to to live life that fast lane life to the top… You better be prepared to change *a lot* of tires.
Notice. This is exactly why a good friend will *not* work in the same business line as you. If you end up competing with one another or being forced to work together the tension will rise since both of you are incredibly aggressive individuals.
In Short: The difference between a complaint and a hilarious loudmouth is simple. Follow their actions. If they talk on the phone all day about their frustrations and do nothing about it… Throw the phone number into the garbage. If the person goes off once and a while about the problems he’s solving and tells you *how he solved it* about three months later… Save the number carefully into your rolodex.
Summary of Tier 1:
Exhausted yet? This is the baseline for having a friend be anywhere near the tier one category. It is up to everyone reading this post to decide where their standards are but these are ours. We do not trust individuals who are not millionaires. We do not lie for our friends (vice versa). We do not talk to our close friends daily. We do not enlist “yes men”. Finally, we do not have tolerance for complaints while we are more than happy to enlist prima-donnas.
Pro-Tip: You will find that average people will call extremely successful people “cocky or arrogant”. This is because they have no idea what it takes to win and they go into battles thinking they are going to lose (loser belief system). As long as other successful people view you as extremely competitive (not arrogant) you have balanced the see-saw appropriately.
Tier 2 Friends
Many many people will end up living in this area for long periods of time. The real hurdles to overcome are 1) finances, 2) watching the ups and downs and 3) time. From a historical stand point, over the course of 10 years you will watch a Tier 2 friend go through both a terrible failure and an amazing success. If he/she is running on all cylinders for 10+ years straight he’s going to both crash and burn and win one of those races no doubt. You’ll see their responses and get ready for the fireworks!
1) The Financial Makings of a Winner: A positive mindset is not going to make you rich. Sorry. If you think happy go lucky thoughts all of the time no one is going to pay you a dime.
A future financial winner is going to do two things: 1) Solve problems aggressively and 2) learn to sell.
If you can solve problems and sell there is practically no way you will be broke for a decade. The problem? You will be extremely *inefficient*! (our favorite topic by FAR is efficiency).
If you or someone you know appears to have the makings of a winner then your only goal is to help improve their efficiency with your knowledge! After providing basic advice their skill-set should soar and they will clear the financial hurdle in a hurry. Oh. By the way? They will go through a binge drinking/drug/partying spout just like you did when you made your first million dollars. You did it as well so don’t be a hater!
In Short: From a financial perspective, if a person is smart and knows how to sell and solve problems… he will eventually succeed. You can bet on it. The main difference is the person will lack efficiency wasting hundreds of hours of time. This is exactly why older men and women tend to work less but their time spent is extremely efficient.
2) Watching the Volatility: You will learn a lot. Both the good and bad about someone as they go through a full up cycle and a full down cycle. You will not know what type of person they are until you see a full cycle. Some individuals go completely silent in a down cycle and ignore the rest of their life until the problem is solved (business issue, career issue or an other personal issue). Others will start networking… So on and so forth.
The real key in watching a volatile “full cycle” is simple… Do they reveal any materially negative character flaws? If the answer is no then you’ve met a 0.5%er. We all have negative personality traits, but a character flaw is not fixable. Never has been and never will be.
In Short: A full cycle, something that feels like rock bottom and something that feels like being “king of the world” will give you a full glimpse of their personality. From bottom to top you’ll find many good and bad personality traits but if there are no material walk-away character flaws… You’re good to go.
3) Time: We strongly suggest you look for a handful of friends when you’re young and in your 20s. Why? You’ve given yourself enough time to build a meaningful friendship. *And*. You will both be extremely busy since you’ve just graduated College.
In Short: Time is an important aspect of life. You don’t get it back. Similar to health you cannot buy health and you cannot buy time. Yes you can buy the best *healthcare* but you cannot buy the time wasted getting said healthcare due to bad health! Health and Time always defeat money which is why 10 years is an enormous amount of time spent with a single person (albeit sporadic).
Summary of Tier 2
There is not much of a difference between Tier 1 and Tier 2 to be honest. Finding people who can be added to tier two is really the most difficult part of the process. Notably, the people in tier 2 certainly do not need to be the same age as you. It is almost easier to find a younger person who has similar qualities as you, help them with their inefficiencies in navigating life and create a friend that way. Hence the whole reason to give back (to future successful people only of course).
Tier 3 – Search Process
Finding a good friend is about as likely as finding a good spouse. Now that you’re done laughing you’ll realize the dire odds of finding people who fit the bill.
We don’t even have a solution here to be perfectly honest and if someone has a good way to filter we’re all ears. Here’s a high level suggestion (a terrible one at best)
– Hang out in the expensive part of town. While many people are certainly there to be *seen* you’ll eventually learn how to spot people who live in the area and distinguish them from visitors
– Assume success for the first thirty minutes. Many successful people are not great with first impressions if they’ve had a long day running a company or selling xyz all day long. Once you’ve gotten a feel for their knowledge base hit them with the tried and true “Hey i know nothing about this can you tell me about it”. Make sure you are a top 5% expert on the topic and you’ll see if he’s a liar. (typical hedge fund move we know!).
– Ignore emotions and word choice. Easier said than done. You’re much better off looking at the *actions* of the person than anything that is said. Why? Most people who stab you in the back will happily tell you to your face “This is why we get along so well! (smile)”. Typically they are about to throw you under the bus. Hard.
– Act 5-10% dumber than the people that are around you. Acting dumb to get ahead is real.