The Value of Networking and Friendship

Eight days ago, I wrote a lengthy review of Never Eat Alone, a book about how exactly to network and maintain a large circle of friends and acquaintances, a skill that I myself often feel that I’m not good at.

After writing it, a few readers wrote to me and asked what the point of writing about such a book on a personal finance site was. I made a point of discussing the reasons, but during this house buying experience, we found out exactly how much spending time with friends and building relationships can really be worth.

Even though I don’t view myself as a particularly social person, I have built up a lot of acquaintances in my local area. I do most of the things discussed in Never Eat Alone: I keep tabs on people, offer my help when I can, and introduce people to one another when their meeting would be mutually beneficial, but I rarely ask for much for myself.

However, when I spread the word that we were putting an offer in on a house, within two days, I had the following offers without asking for a thing:

A new deep freezer (or another new major appliance)
A deep freezer from a foreclosed house that was used less than a year
A quarter of a cow’s worth of meat to put in said deep freeze
A two year old refrigerator
A new KitchenAid mixer for our new kitchen
A $250 gift card to a local appliance store (an unused wedding gift, it turns out)
One moving truck with driver for a day
Six pickups with drivers for a day
Thirty two people to move boxes for a day
Four offers of a day’s worth of babysitting to keep our child out from under foot
A free catered barbecue dinner for everyone who helps us move on the big day
Ten day passes to Adventureland (a local amusement park) for when my extended family comes to visit to see the house

What’s the point of this? Spending time with friends and helping them out comes back around. I didn’t expect any help – I was merely passing on some good news to my circle of friends, but I received an abundance of offers of help and other things.

Next time someone asks you to help move furniture or asks for some serious advice from you, help them out. When you have a chance to connect one friend to another, make it happen. It might take you some time and effort – it might even make you grumble a bit. But when things happen in your own life, you will be met with an abundance of blessings.

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