March 4, 2024

Real friends

I'm so grateful for real friends.

Real friends are people that genuinely care. They show up, even when it's inconvenient. They listen, not to inject an opinion but to understand and support. They deliver smiles and make memories.

In tech[1], personal and professional lives blend. We spend the majority of our day meeting people through work-related activities in the office, at events, or through professional introductions. Most of my closest friends are in tech and has served as a filter for similar interests and ambitions. But establishing real friendships beyond the initial professional connection can be challenging.

The last decade of my career has influenced me to be somewhat guarded. Most of my interactions with other people are transactional. They want something from me. They ask for help with their Product Hunt launch[2]. They ask for an investment. They ask for introductions.

And I get it! They're not doing anything wrong. After all, my "job" is to take pitches and be helpful. I also do the same and ask others for help. This isn't a judgment but instead an acknowledgment of the transactional nature of so many of our social interactions.

We all want real connection. Perhaps this is one of the best parts of Burning Man[3] and similar events where people are encouraged to disconnect from work and express themselves creatively, authentically, freely.

I share this without prescription or a solution. I suppose my point in writing this is to bring more awareness to this dynamic, for myself and others. Professional life will always include transactional relationships but don't let that get in the way of authentic connection with current or future real friends. :)

[1] Of course, this dynamic exists in other industries but it feels particularly prevalent in tech where we live online and outside a traditional 9-to-5 working schedule.

[2] I left Product Hunt over three years ago. Happy to help but for the record, I'm probably not your best first contact for customer support anymore. :)

[3] The photo above is of the Tree of Ténéré from Burning Man 2017.

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