I have close friends who I have known since high school and earlier. These people have grown up and evolved with me throughout the years, and we have all influenced each other greatly in life. Without a doubt, these folks will always hold a special place in my heart. With that said, over the years, I’m finding myself hanging out and associating with some of these friends on a less frequent basis.
What Once Was…
There’s nothing wrong with that… People drift apart for many reasons, and as I’m finding out, one’s goals and direction in life can have a lot to do with that. For instance, a group of my close friends and I will still get together, and when we do, we typically reminisce about the “good ol’ days” in high school, or college. We talk about some of the pranks we used to pull, and repeat many of the old jokes that surprisingly are just as funny today as they were back then.
But after a few hours of talking and having fun, I think we all eventually come to a point where we realize that we don’t really have that much more to talk about. Once the nostalgia has passed, we reconvene as completely different people. If you didn’t know any better, you might guess that we were all strangers to one another…
The Effects of Time
As such, I find it completely fascinating how life (and time) can so greatly alter things, including deeply forged friendships of yesteryear. I know that I’ve undergone some rather radical shifts in my own life philosophy these past few years since discovering early financial independence… My old friends, who are not on that same journey, have found their own calling which they are also trying to make sense of.
And so it goes… As each one of us plunges deeper and deeper down different roads, it becomes that much more difficult for each of us to relate to one another. People change and life continues marching on. Best friends become acquaintances. Acquaintances become strangers. And strangers become our new best friends.
What can we do about it? Well, I think we should embrace change… Change is a natural part of life, so there’s really no need to fight or resist it. As I’ve learned, you can save yourself a lot of grief by simply accepting things for what they are, and by not taking things personally.
The fact of the matter is, you can’t change someone. A person will only change if they want to. Quite frankly, it probably isn’t worth the time or effort needed to try and convince someone why they should do something different than what they are already doing…
When it comes to investing and finance, there will always be those types of people who simply live for today. Investing would be the furthest thing from the minds of the YOLO crowd, as most of these people wouldn’t have an iota of interest in pursuing the journey to early FI. Just like in the movie The Matrix, any potential candidate would have to consciously accept the action of taking the red pill before I would agree to spend any more time training them up on the subject (since the concepts associated with early FI involve a massive degree of mental re-programming from societal norms). As for the majority crowd who vehemently rejects the alternative path? Well, similar to my high school buddies (as I’ve learned from experience), I’ll simply accept and respect their decision. That is, rather than trying to force-fit my ideals and lifestyle onto those who don’t want it, I will instead choose the path of least resistance… move on…
Look For Positive Reinforcements
What’s the alternative? For myself (a person who is eagerly trying to get to early FI at 30), this means attending Bigger Pockets meet-ups with other local investors. It means flying out to Frequent Traveler University (FTU) events out in Seattle. Lastly, I love connecting with other bloggers and readers. So on, and so forth.
The important thing is not to give up! Thanks to the internet, there are thriving communities out there that will support basically anything you want to do with your life. If your aspirations are for financial freedom, tune in to the net worth tracker that is updated every month courtesy of Rockstar Finance. Love to invest in dividend stocks or real estate? Keep your eyes and ears open ALWAYS and you will inevitably fall into the right circles filled with others who will will overwhelmingly support your goals.
There are no longer any radical ideas out there. Most importantly, there’s no need to ever get worked up, frustrated, or angry with friends who are no longer aligned with your life’s mantra. Go find new friends and build up your network, instead! When I finally started doing that for myself, my mindset and outlook changed drastically for the better.
Back when I first started the quest to early FI in early 2012, I made the mistake of regularly sending my old friends (who weren’t on the same path) text messages about any new real estate listings… Or, I would let them know about the next hot stock that I was buying. Since they weren’t in the least bit interested, not surprisingly, I would either not get a reply back, or I would receive a very simple one liner, “cool“.
This type of response used to get me worked up and frustrated! Early FI was a growing passion for me… “How could my best friends not be supportive, or interested in what I was doing?“, I used to ponder. Needless to say, I wasted a lot of time and energy going down a dead-end road…
Fast forward two years, and I now have a network filled with like-minded individuals in place… I don’t have to send out any more text messages! Rather, these new folks will inform me of the latest property deal even before I’m aware that it exists. Talk about a night and day difference from before! As I’ve been happy to discover, there are many other people out there who think along the same wavelength as me (what a liberating feeling it is to no longer have to feel alone on the journey!)… “Cut the dissonance and fine-tune until resonant“. Your life’s soundtrack will really be rocking then!
Those who are even more hardcore about early FI than myself only inspire me to keep moving along and pushing forward. It’s almost impossible to not want to keep going when you regularly see others (in the same boat) knocking out goal after goal… So, surround yourself with positive, supportive energy, and you really will start to feel like you can accomplish ANYTHING!
With all that said, I’m not suggesting you ditch your friends and abandon them. Rather, try to put everything in its proper context and life will become that much more simple (and enjoyable). My old buddies are still great people to hang out with… I just know that when we are chillin’ together, we won’t be discussing early FI or investing. Now that I’ve filled the void in my life with new friends who are even more enthusiastic about early FI and investing than myself, I no longer feel like I’m missing anything with my old friends.
I’m at peace now, and no longer struggling with trying to fit a square peg into a round hole (which was frustrating beyond measure). I only wish that I had been more proactive with surrounding myself with other like-minded individuals sooner… Positive energy goes a long way! Just know, you don’t have to go through your journey alone; like most things in life, it’s a lot more fun when you can share it with others.