Some individuals are just lucky to be born into connections—into a network of people who can swiftly move their career along, without many of the hurdles that those of us without connections face. One could argue that making connections is the hardest part of a career. Becoming educated and developing a skillset and then putting years of experience behind you using those two things—that’s something anyone has access to. That’s formulaic. It isn’t complicated or sensitive. Whatever you want to do, you can probably go get good at it. Take a class. Read a book on it. Practice, practice, practice. It’s making connections that is the difficult part. There is no rhyme or reason to it—no rulebook. Those connections become the next critical part to success, after you develop your skills, and those who are born into them just have that part handled for them. I’m in a unique position to be friends with someone like that. She is, no doubt, good at what she does, but she’s getting opportunities people usually wait decades longer than she has to get. I’m also friends with her peers and I see the way they treat her. Here’s how your peers behave when everything is handed to you.
They’ll flatter you to your face
When you see them, they’re all smiles and hugs. They talk to you. They pay you compliments. The reality of the matter is that if you are well-connected, your peers don’t feel they can afford to not have a good relationship with you.
And criticize you behind your back
But they talk behind your back. They pick apart every single thing you do. They are much harsher critics of you than of anybody else. Sure, it’s a bit of jealousy. They take some comfort in finding fault with the person who is getting everything they want.
They’ll constantly question your worthiness
Even if you do get some things, all on your own, through hard work and merit—no family hookups—nobody will ever believe it. Every single thing you ever get again, your peers will say it was your connections that got it for you—not you.
They’ll take joy in your downfalls
Sadly, they will take a bit of joy in your downfalls. They can feel that, when you fail, or don’t get something, the world is showing that it is sometimes logical and fair still. They’ll say things like, “It’s good for her to fail sometimes. It’s not realistic to get everything, all of the time.” But when one of their true peers fails, they pity them, and discuss all the reason why that person should have won.
They may not give you opportunities
When your peers have opportunities to give out, you may not be the recipient of them. “She already has plenty of leg up in this world—she doesn’t need my help,” they’ll say, and, “There are others who have worked harder, longer, and are more worthy.”
The social media likes can decline
“She doesn’t need my like—she already has tens of thousands of fans, handed to her because she was immediately put on a platform the rest of us will wait a decade to be on.” That’s what they’ll say.
Some will try to hop on board
Of course, there will be the moochers—the social climbers. Some aren’t too proud to get on the hand-out train with you, and they want to get on. There will be some fake friends swarming around, just hoping to get in on this sweet deal you have—of having those connections.
Some will resist your help
There may be times when you want to help out your peers—when you try to share your connections with someone—and they turn you down. They don’t want to be associated with you, for they fear that then they will be criticized the way you are.
They’ll talk to you like a boss (in a bad way)
You may find that your peers stop talking to you like you’re a peer and more like you’re their superior. They may get nervous around you, correcting themselves, and editing themselves. When you get launched into a level of success ten levels above them, they feel like you aren’t really a peer anymore.
They’ll make sarcastic comments
“Oh I’m just killing it. Really basically famous now. You know—just like you. We are the same.” People may make jokes like this, as a way of pointing out that they are not like you, but also acknowledging that you’re set for life. Some may outright bully you, and you’ll have to handle it.
They won’t ask about your recent win
You may encounter several of your peers, right after having something big happen to you—something you know they know about—and they won’t say a word to you about it. No congratulations. No questions about it. I can tell you it’s because they think you’re already getting enough attention around it.
They’ll be self-deprecating
When they tell you about their recent victories, they’ll talk down to themselves—they’ll play it down. They’ll say, “But it’s nothing compared to what you got. It’s nothing, really.”
They’ll go silent when you walk up
Sometimes, a group of your peers will go totally silent when you approach. They may have just been talking about you—about your recent success and how it was just handed to you.
They may ice you out socially
You might find that the professional peers who used to invite you to social gatherings stop inviting you. A lot of it is insecurity—they assume you have something better to do that night, or are too good for them now.
They’ll pointedly mention hard-workers
You may notice them talking about other people who achieved things, and repeating, over and over, “She worked so hard. She’s been grinding it out forever. She really put in her time. She deserved it.” It’s there backwards way of saying you didn’t do any of that.