Some people would tell you that success ruined their lives. Success opens the doors to a lot of people, experiences, and things—some good, and some not so good. I would say that success doesn’t actually ruin anyone’s lives. I would say that those individuals already had the capacity to mess up in the ways that they do—that they would have eventually, one way or another—and success just gave them easier access. But it is good to be aware of those precautionary tales, especially if your star is currently rising. Why are so many famous, successful, high profile individuals depressed? When they appear to have everything? It’s simple: they don’t have people they love in their loves. They don’t nurture relationships with the right people. Success charms them in a different direction. Don’t be like that. Here are ways you shouldn’t mistreat your real friends if you become successful.
Feeling your problems are bigger
It’s easy to feel, when you’re mulling over a five hundred thousand dollar deal, that your friend’s concerns over the rising cost of diapers or her rude neighbor are miniscule and unimportant. But that’s not true. If you care about someone, and something is bothering her, then shouldn’t it always be important to you? And don’t forget that you once completely understood what it was to worry about such things.
Developing too refined of taste
Never lose the ability to enjoy a taco truck or a thrift store. Don’t become so enchanted by the trendy, high-end restaurants and rooftop lounges that you no longer see the charm in a $3 beer and fries at a dive bar. Your real friends may not be able to afford to eat at your new restaurants, and they don’t want you paying for them every time.
Only hanging with your new friends
You’ll likely make a lot of new friends once you become successful. Isn’t that funny. Where were they before? Look, you may actually meet some good people through your success, but always prioritize the friends who were there for you when nobody knew your name. They’re the only ones who know the real you, and their love is unconditional.
Talking exclusively about work
You may feel like your new-earned status is so fragile—so precious—that if you don’t pay attention to it and focus on it 24/7, you’ll lose it. But that isn’t true. Furthermore, if it’s all you talk about, you’ll ostracize and bother your friends.
Pushing them when they don’t want it
Maybe, now that you’ve had a taste of success, you want the same for your friends. You see ways they could have it. That one friend could franchise her restaurant. This other one could try to get her small boutique clothing in chain stores. But…you have to understand that not everybody wants that or needs that to be happy. Don’t push your lifestyle onto your friends.
Not making time for their real-life things
The baby showers. The kids’ first birthday party. The anniversary party. The Halloween party. Don’t miss out on these things. Treat them like the priorities they were to you, before you became successful. That’s how you remain happy in life—that’s how you feel fulfilled.
Not bringing your crew with you
Hey, bring your crew up with you if they want to come, and if they’re contestants for it. If you’re in a position to hire someone for something and your childhood friend would be great for it, hire her—not the “It person” everyone else is hiring. Surrounding yourself with your people is even more of how you set yourself apart (and above) everyone else in your industry. You let your values be known.
Failing to call as much
Don’t let months go by without checking in on a friend. You think you’re busy but everyone is busy. Your friend with the new baby is very busy—I promise you. But she calls. Pick up, or at least call her back in a timely manner. She made time for you, and her time is just as valuable as yours.
Don’t double book on your old friends. Don’t say you’ll be at their birthday party, with the intention of only staying for 45 minutes because you have another, high-profile event to attend. Don’t treat the events of your old friends like chores you have to check off a to-do list. Be there. Really be there.
Letting new peers belittle them
Watch how your new peers talk to your old friends. And don’t continue to be friends with any new contacts who are in any way condescending or disrespectful towards your old friends. Don’t worry about burning that bridge. That’s not a bridge you want in your life. And keeping those people around is disrespectful to your friends who have always been there for you.
Speaking as if you know everything
You probably have gained quite a bit of wisdom on your way up. You didn’t get there for nothing. And, it can be tempting, when you watch your friends fumble and make efforts in their own careers, to just lecture them. But resist that temptation. Remember that nobody likes unsolicited feedback. If they ask for your advice, then you can give it.
Generally becoming flakey
When your friends invite you to something, don’t ask if you can “Let them know closer” when you know you have the date free, all so you can see if something better comes up. These are your good, old friends. There is nothing better.
Giving money instead of time
Don’t be that person—the one who thinks money can replace her presence. Don’t just keep sending gifts because you can’t show up. It’s not only not enough—it’s condescending. Your friends want you—not your money. And I can promise you that that won’t be the case for a lot of people you meet after you become successful.
Using money to make apologies
Don’t use money to try to make up for things, either. If you miss your friend’s play when you say you’ll be there, don’t send an apology gift. Take her to lunch and apologize. Be at the next play. Be at the next three plays.
Losing sight of what matters
In general, it’s important to remember that genuine, loving, intimate relationships are the only real limitless source of happiness. Everything else is fleeting and just leaves you wanting more, like fancy parties and attention. When you become successful, live as if you really aren’t—with the same people, doing the same things—and that’s how you’ll stay happy.