A Brief Guide to Building Right Relationships

Relationships without Intention

Most of us build relationships based on circumstance.

At school, we meet people that this common circumstance has brought together. We hang out, make buddies, become friends sometimes just from sheer vicinity to each other. We may even stay friends after the circumstance separates us, sometimes because we develop great friendships but other times simply because of force of habit.

Then at work, a similar cycle begins. We spend time with people who share our circumstance, one that we may or may not have created with full intention.

Canada-Toronto-during-TIFF

I don’t know about you but I created neither my school nor work circumstances with much of any intention because back then, I did not understand anything as intangible as “intention”. I made decisions because someone told me so or the general “wisdom” pointed me in a certain direction.

It feels like being thrown randomly into a pot and having no choice but to get along with others thrown in as we get churned and stirred …

Are Circumstances Limiting Your Relationships?

See, you are conditioned to build relationships around whatever setting life’s natural circumstances brings us, and sometimes, it brings us the absolute BEST most memorable and invaluable relationships of our lives – I know that my childhood friendships fall in that category – but sometimes, it does not do us any favors.

What do you then? Is your circumstance the only function of the relationships you can have?

Heavens NO!

I used to believe that it was until I changed my approach. Now it feels as though I’ve uncovered a gold mine and I tell you how I did this simple yet powerful shift in building relationships in my business and life here because relationships can be the foundation for everything you want, and the best investment you can make, but you gotta make the RIGHT relationships, darling!

Ever since this approach, I feel truly connected to the people with whom I spend my time, be it in the real or the virtual world online. No more draining, heavy relationships that drag me down. No more feeling guilty to live up to expectations that trapped me into a relationship I neither wanted nor enjoyed.

The result when you have intentional relationships and meaningful connections: Your Whole Life Changes. And it turns out we really are the average (or above) the five people we hang around with the most. Why not make those 5 the best most inspiring relationships in our lives?

The Uncommon Approach to Building Right Relationships

Let’s talk about building right relationships, not just any relationships. Here’s my new approach to building relationships in my life and business:

Decide on the kind of people you want to surround yourself with.

Pick their top 3 qualities. For me, they must be uplifting, ridiculously positive, and determined to do something powerful with their lives. Oh and none of that “victim of circumstance” mindset that I grew up with!

Make a (running) list of 80 to 100 people that meet and exceed those top 3 qualities.

These are people that you have heard of, studied, watched, followed, admired, or do not know yet but come to find through search and conversation with your current network. There are no limits. If you want to add Richard Branson, Oprah, Tony Robbins on your list, go for it. Also don’t forget that those qualities are found in small and big people alike and you never know who will end up there so start with the qualities of people first.

~ First, like the person. Really like them.

When you have your list, from what you know about each person, ask yourself: Do I like to hang out with this person regardless of their success? If the answer is no, cross them off your list.

Take your list seriously.

Don’t call it a dream list, a wish list, and don’t joke about how “unrealistic” this all is. Honor the list. Believe that it is already happening.

Set a clear intention to create circumstances that bring you together.

Set this with at least 3 or 4 of those individuals every month. This can be a conference, a speaking event, a coffee shop, an online conversation, a phone call, a compliment on their work, a helping hand about something that matters to them, an introduction through a mutual acquaintance, or simply a direct approach to express your interest to connect with this person.

Be yourself when you go out and meet them.

Do not hold the person you are meeting up on a pedestal. They may be hugely successful but connect with them as a human being.

Ensure the top qualities do exist in them.

Make sure that now that you have met them, that you really do like them. If you had different expectations, and those qualities were absent in a clear way, do not pursue the relationship further.

Do not let the appearance of success win over the humility of integrity.

Once at the World Domination Summit bike tour, I met someone that I held in high regard and midway through what I thought was a conversation, she left, she just rode her bike in the other direction and I was beside myself. She lost my respect and my trust in one instant. To me, integrity comes first and f the person you meet does not respect you as a human being, cross them off your list. There’s others who will.

Find something you love and share with them. 

When you find someone who meets those top 3 qualities and had a chance to meet, first find a common element in your lifestyle, in your likes, in you personality that you can use a connection. Maybe it’s yoga, or mountain-biking or eating hot cocoa when the game is on, it can be the love of writing or speaking Chinese or traveling to Africa. I don’t know – it doesn’t matter – but be human and find a fun element you truly share. No making up nonsense please. Be real.

~ Build the relationship first as a friendship.

Use the qualities that you share and that common element as foundation. Become friends, not business buddies. Hang out. Laugh at the absurdity of life. Spend a little time together.

~ Show a little self-confidence. Or a lot. 

If the person that you meet responds positively to your attempts at the relationship, don’t wonder why and ask “Well I am a nobody why are they interested in me?” Not only is that beyond unattractive, it certainly won’t get you any closer. You are you, unique, special, powerful beyond measure, and worthy of the relationship. If they respond cold, let it go after a few honest attempts. Better people shall come along.

Cultivate the relationship over time.

Don’t just forget about it after the initial connection and until the time you need something. Find the channel of communication that works best. Maybe the conferences. Maybe Skype on occasion. Maybe social media. Find it. Cultivate it. And if you believe in their aspirations and projects, give them everything you can to support them.

Imagine: What if there was no waiting to see what circumstance will bring and instead you created a proactive, conscious and clear intention on who will be the next person that  fills your company? 

What if you did that with every single future relationship? 

And when you master the art of intentional relationships, what if you examined the old relationships in your life that still take your time and energy just what if, you did something about that to make more room for the RIGHT relationships?

Get Confident in 21 Easy Steps


  • Melly Deen

    Hi Farnoosh, what a great distinction. I think back to where I built a lot of relationships at work just because I was there hanging out with the same people every day and wondering why I am putting so much effort into it because I don’t even like some of these people!!! Ha ha!
    I have to try building more intentional relationships …. where do I start? Great challenge but I’m up for it!

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      You are not alone, Melly – I built those relationships as I am sure many of us did because we just didn’t know we could chart the course of whom we want to meet and connect with …. Let me know how the new approach to relationship building works out – I can’t wait to hear more!

  • http://uzma7.wordpress.com Uzma

    Important stuff. We have the power of choice in relationships too. Then they empower us. Love the point about listing the 3 things we admire and then looking for people with them. Gonna try that. Thanks for a fundamentally important post.

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      Uzma, my dear friend, I was just responding to Melly’s comment above …. how NICE to see you!!! I know you’ll find some very nice (and very lucky I might add) people to connect with … thanks for dropping in!

  • http://uzma7.wordpress.com Uzma

    Dear Farnoosh. It is my pleasure to be reading and leaving a comment here. You are an inspiration. I am still finding my voice, my truth, my peace and its always, always energizing and uplifting to read your words. God bless.

  • http://www.healthylifestylesliving.com/blog/ Larry Lewis

    Before i saw the light and followed my passion, the world of sales and marketing was my life and it seems i would be selling myself to everyone i met. My training showed me how to build rapport, and build ‘false’ relationships. Now i have removed the straight jacket of corporate living, and have been able to be’me’ the real me, and that has what has led to true wonderful relationships. Thank you for a thought provoking article and reminder how we can truly bring into our lives fruitful relationships

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      Larry, corporate living jacket you say? I was there for much too long and didn’t learn anything about real relationships from the corporate culture unfortunately … being ourselves first and foremost is the quintessential part of building sustainable relationships. You are most welcome and so glad you enjoyed this.

  • http://www.chrisakins.com Chris Akins

    Farnoosh,

    All great advice. When it comes to personal relationships I would add the importance of responding to what the Gottman’s refer to as bids for affection. When someone seeks attention in a positive way, ignoring it or refusing it usually works against the relationship, and visa versa. I’ve found this to be true in business as well. When a colleague, partner, or even rival extends a hand of cooperation or friendship – don’t bite it unless you are ready to exit that relationship.

    Chris

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      Hi Chris, welcome here. “bids for affection”? Love It! Love the way you articulated the subtlety of relationship building here for us, Chris. Thank you so much. I will be even more aware of this in the future…. :)!

  • http://www.shannatrenholm.com shanna

    Hello Farnoosh!

    You know I just love you AND this post! I regularly examine my relationships for toxicity. And sometimes I have to make a cut to the friend list. It’s sad, but often the sadness is just over past–the times we have spent together, etc. (I call these friends Nostalgic Friends).

    We come into each other’s lives for a certain period of time and to do certain work. Sometimes it’s a short-lived connection, and, if we are lucky, we have a core group who will travel with us throughout much of our journey. Here’s to building the right relationships–for us!

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      Shanna, dear friend with fab haircut, hello! I love you back hon.

      And you and I both especially on the friend list. Sad just isn’t reason enough to keep things going. Alas, that’s the nature of relationships and I think the best way to think of it is to embrace it as long as we have it and when it has run it course, to let it go gracefully …

  • http://confidencecues.com Rob Leonardo

    I always thought that intentionally making friends was IT for me because it does not come naturally to me. And yes, I have eyed on making friends with dads in the neighborhood (for one) and never progressed fast enough. I have counted years already!

    Thank you sincerely for this post. I have just come back to your email Self Confidence Series and it still rocks!

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      So glad you are enjoying the self-confidence series, Rob and also the relationship building … so tell me, are you saying that you are glad to be making friends with those Dads in the neighborhood or did you want to go beyond that?
      I hope you do make intentional friends and explore many different circles of friendships and relationships…. it will surprise you pleasantly, I bet!

  • http://Intentionalemployee.com Bert

    You are such an inspiration. We should do everything with intention; it usually just takes us a while to figure that out. Thank you for the blog and especially the podcast!

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      Bert, glad you are enjoying and getting much out of the content here. Thanks for stopping by !!!

  • http://www.midwaymarketplace.com Maxwell Ivey

    Hi Farnoosh; This post really made me think first about whether or not my friendships are intentional and second about who would i be friends with once taking your approach. i think most of my friends are either in the amusement industry or are involved of some aspect of online businesses. I would love to meet you farnoosh. There is robin hallett and mike robins. There is also eric weimamayer the blind man who climbed everest and nancy scadorough the blind ididerod racer. and there are a few of my clients who i think of as friends. i follow richard branson on linked in by the way. I am fortunate that through the help of people like you i don’t have any toxic people in my friends list right now. Thanks again for all your great advice and take care, max

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      Max, it sounds like a fabulous list of friends and I’d love to meet you too. I am sure our paths will cross some day – and Richard Branson is one big giant inspiration so you are doing all the right things, especially by avoiding the toxic friendships. So very glad you enjoyed this topic and are so aware of whom you surround yourself with, Max!

      • http://www.midwaymarketplace.com Maxwell Ivey

        Hi farnoosh; thanks for that. I have done well with keeping toxic friends away, but i do have my struggles with family. some i can avoid, but others i live with. smile so, i use exercise, reading, my own form of meditation to stay in peace. This is one of the reasons i really want to start getting out there and meeting good people like you Farnoosh. as a blind person maybe you could get your brother to give me some suggestions on how to get started. as you know arranging the transportation isn’t easy and then when i get where i’m going it would be good to have assistance there. thanks and take care, max

        • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

          Hi Max, I hear you darling. Sina is just a social butterfly but he has done and continues to do a lot of his socialization online and in his university where he is still pursuing his PhD. He’s a busy guy but he now has his own blog, check it out: http://blog.sinabahram.com/

  • http://thetaoofbadassinvestigator.com Jacky

    Hi Farnoosh, I love this post. It keep reminding me to build right relationship in helping business growth. Especially this point “Build the relationship first as a friendship” , when a business partner become a friend , there is a lot of things easily to be settle without money.

    • http://www.ProlificLiving.com Farnoosh

      Glad to hear it, Jaky! :)

  • Pingback: New Relationships | Build Better Connections

  • Pingback: Making New Friends and Saying Yes - Adventure Year | Adventure Year

  • SB

    Thank you for writing, ” they must be uplifting, ridiculously positive, and determined to do something powerful with their lives”.

    Especially the last bit “determined to do something powerful with their lives”. You’ve given me “permission” to be okay with my desire to spend the majority of my time with people living purposefully, with lazar-sharp intent, determined to make a masterpiece of their lives. For a long time I felt I was being “snobby” or too “constrictive”

  • Pingback: Take Your Relationships to the Next Level