Do you ever just get sick of your friends? Sometimes I feel like we spend more time complaining about them than actually enjoying their company.
Here's a great standup bit from Jerry Seinfeld on an episode of David Letterman that perfectly describes friends.
catch the first 30 seconds where he talks about why friends are annoying
Here’s how his routine starts:
“So what I wanna talk about tonight is, why are your friends so annoying?
It doesn’t make any sense--these are the people you have PICKED to be with!
You like these people and yet everything that they do--you’re never going to the right restaurant!”
This is one of my all-time favorite Jerry Seinfeld moments, because it’s so true. Jerry’s bit then goes into different topics, but the whole friends thing goes way beyond restaurants. It sort of feels like we can never get our friends do the things we want to do.
I remember a few years ago wanting to check out a new neighborhood in Chicago. I tried to get my friends to go but they were like,
“why would you want to go that far?”
Or a time when I wanted to check out a random concert.
“It’s probably not gonna be our kind of music.”
Or when I wanted to go to open mic nights.
“Nah...we’re not gonna fit in there.”
It was like I was surrounded by Chief Keefs.
that's that shit they don't like!
Have you ever had these kinds of moments?
These were the people I had PICKED to be with, yet they weren’t picking any of the things I wanted!
I’m sure you’ve had times when you ended up NOT doing something because your friends didn’t want to. Maybe there was an art show you thought would be fun to check out, or a spin class you wanted to hit up, or a project you never started because you were afraid of what your friends might say.
All of this shit kept happening to me over and over again and finally I realized I was going about this all wrong.
See, we hold ourselves back from ever doing anything because we wait to see if our inner circle will get on board. But that’s a backwards approach. Instead of “WE First”, sometimes we have to be selfish and take a ME First approach.
Like my friend Matt Wilson, who one day decided he wanted to visit Iceland.
Think about the last time you wanted to take a trip somewhere. You probably sent an email to your friends to try to plan it, the the thread went 100 emails deep (digressing wildly into unrelated topics along the way), and by the end of it you ended up not even taking a trip. That’s a WE first approach.
Matt went ME first, and planned out all the details, then told his friends
“Hey--I’m doing this. I’ve already made the arrangements. If you want in, here’s what it costs.”
(And that trip led to Matt creating the company Under30Experiences)
Or my friend Michael who went to Bali for a month to attend this yoga and meditation festival during spring. I met up with him one day and he told me he was leaving in a week. I said, “hey I actually happen to know two other people going, why don’t I introduce you all?”
(And now they are all friends)
You think I would have thought to introduce them if Michael had been like,
“Yeah...I think MAYBE I’ll TRY to check out Bali LATER this year IF I can get a group together…”?
Hell no. But since he was like, “I’m doing this, and it’s happening now” I knew he wasn’t dicking around and I was happy to give intros to two other people who also said “I’m doing this, and it’s happening now.”
We've talked before about The Newsroom Approach--taking a ME First mindset is how you ‘just decide to’ and put that approach in action.
So I was sick and tired of constantly not exploring the things I wanted to explore, and when the ME first revelation hit me, it changed everything.
Instead of asking everyone if they would want to do something, I just started saying,
“Hey, I’m doing this, are you coming?”
Very quickly I saw who was on board, and who wasn’t. When you go ME First, you see which of your friends really want to do the same things as you, and which ones don’t. And it’s cool for the ones who don’t--you stop asking them, which they appreciate. They are doing their own things that they enjoy, and you don’t need to bother them anymore. You can’t be everything to everybody.
What’s even cooler is you find who else gravitates to the things you’re doing, and you make new connections and new friends.
Rather than sit around on your ass, frustrated because you keep doing the same old shit different day that you don’t even really like, when you go ME first you immediately start doing cool shit that you LOVE, and you naturally build a circle that supports it and shows you more things you love.
Over the weekend I was out with a different friend who just came back from a month in Bali (seems like it’s a hotspot, no?) and we caught up and started talking about what our different friends were up to. That conversation included friends who were traveling, starting podcasts, and building their own businesses. I had this moment of clarity where I was like, “this is really cool that these are the people I can call friends.”
When you go ME First, you pick people and get picked by people who help you build a lifestyle you love. It's on you to make it happen, don't wait around for other people to do it for you.
Take care and be awesome.
What up! My name is Rajiv Nathan and I'm the Cofounder of Idea Lemon. That banana peel you slipped on to land here came from me. That's because I fancy myself a human Curious George, and the yellow hat I chase is life's authentic moments. I share my chase one story at a time through this blog, our email newsletter, and as a rapper.
Oh and I'm a WWE fan 4 lyf!