A post that’s been making the rounds in my RSS feeds and also posted to social media for a few folks that I follow is Dan Martell’s Friendventory post. The quote that I saw from social media that drew me to it because I was incensed was:

[…]I’ve been consciously taking “Friendventory” and ruthlessly cutting people out of my life that don’t share my values, beliefs or take more then they give.

Two thirds of that statement is something I took issue with. I intentionally seek out people that don’t share my values and beliefs to broaden my own horizons. After a bit of reading, I feel that Martell is using those words in a bit different connotation than I had initially read them. The post is a great read and is one I’d certainly recommend to anyone to not only read, but to do.

About a decade ago, I took it upon myself to quit smoking and, more importantly, take what would be a nine year break from drinking. Although those choices did improve my health and overall direction in life, I now feel that those benefits are really secondary to the benefits that came from making those choices work. From Martell’s article:

If you are still hanging out with your highschool friends that get drunk every weekend and talk shit about everyone in town, then don’t be surprised if you’re struggling to get your business off the ground or growing it.

As I intentionally cut people out of my life who were unsupportive of my choice to cease drinking (there were many, and unfortunately they were major portions of my social group), I had inadvertently freed myself from social constraints imposed by the very people who Martell is referring. For the rare occasion that I browse my Facebook page, I’ll see posts from those very people that I went to high school with in Zanesville, still living no better, no more ambitious, no happier than they were ten or fifteen years ago. Painfully digging out those people and leaving a social vacuum left space for change and improvement.

Late in the short article, Martell gives a few tips for how to pursue creating new, beneficial relationships. The tips he gives:

  • Go to events.
  • Host a lunch.
  • Volunteer.

I have to remark that these are all pretty good suggestions. And one item that I wanted to touch on is his thoughts about volunteering.

It’s simple. Assholes typically don’t volunteer, so the people you meet are pretty much guaranteed to be amazing.

This is not consistently true. I recall a time at a volunteers recognition luncheon in a prison where I sat next to some Baptists [note: I attend a Baptist church] who spent the entirety of the luncheon explaining to me and another victim nearby of how much they’ve helped the poor, unintelligent, uncultured men who are generally ungrateful for their efforts. Those people certainly were not the typical volunteer.