The friend of a friend.

Have you ever thought about the importance of a “friend of a friend” in your life? These secondary connections are some of the most vital relationships in our lives. I’ve heard (and said) the phrase “a friend of a friend went there / ate there / stayed there” many times, but I’ve recently become more intrigued by the way friends of friends can impact our lives and provide important connections.

In my own life, a “friend of a friend” is the reason I eat at yummy restaurants, read good books, watch interesting shows and movies, wear clothes that fit well, own shoes that don’t hurt, cook from recipes my family enjoys, use apps that make my life and work easier, and sleep on a cozy, comfortable foam mattress. Mmmmm…

Apply Within

If you haven’t thought of it before, consider the way you found most of your jobs. The friend of a friend is most likely the person who helped. In fact, Linkedin says “85% of critical jobs are filled via networking of some sort.” Most people I know heard about their job because they knew somebody who knew somebody.

For me, when I was looking for an internship at a pr firm during my senior year of college, my boss at my on-campus job knew the managing director at one of the top pr firms in LA. When I went in for my interview, I met with the usual folks, but I stopped by the managing director’s office for a quick hello and a handshake. We exchanged pleasantries and he said, “I’ve heard wonderful things about you from Dr. F.” Did it help? I know it did.

Help Wanted

Friends of friends often help you get the help you need. Do you need a dentist? A good running shoe? A guy to remove the dead tree in your yard? Chances are, your friends’ friends will provide the connection for all three.

Just recently, a friend of mine needed legal representation. I connected her with a friend who is an attorney, who knew someone who could help. Another friend asked for prayer for a doctor who could make home visits. I introduced her to my doctor, and he connected her with one of his colleagues who is set up to do home visits.

Friendship Needed

Friends of friends can also become lifelong friends. Malcolm Gladwell says that most of us can trace the majority of our friendships back to one person. For instance, how did you find your friends in high school, college, the workplace, at church? If you think carefully, chances are you can pinpoint the person responsible for introducing you to a lot of your closest friends.

In The Tipping Point, Gladwell refers to this special personality type as a connector, a person with “an extraordinary knack of making friends and acquaintances.” I see the mark of connectors in my own life. In grad school, one teacher introduced me to tons of great people; in church, one friend introduced me to a wide range of friends; at my job, a friend drew a group of us together; in the writing world, one woman has connected me with dozens and dozens of people.

YOU are the friend of a friend

As I think about the value of friends of friends, I realize how often I’m the friend of a friend to others. You are, too!

Yes, it’s great to know people who know people, to make connections, and to gather resources through others. However, it’s just as important to BE that resource to someone else. Introduce your friends to your other friends. Be a connector and helper. Pass along important info. Be generous.

“Listen to advice and accept discipline,
and at the end you will be counted among the wise.”
(Proverbs 19:20)

If you’ve been helped by the friend of a friend, please share your story! God works in wonderful ways and created us for connection.

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