Why Long-Term Friendships Matter

It’s reunion time again for me, this time for my business school class.

It has been a lot of fun to see so many old friends. The weather is great, the conversations are super-stimulating, and everyone is just so darn nice. Really. For some reason, our class keeps setting reunion attendance records. I’m amazed at the number of people who fly in from Europe and Asia every time.

You think of b-school folks and you may think they’re pretty intense. They may be, but so many people are in shorts and flip-flops and relaxing. Some classmates are very senior folks at tech companies like Facebook, Uber, Lyft, AirBnB.

Then, you have large manufacturing companies, major financial institutions, hedge funds, private equity firms, non-profits, etc. Some are in between gigs or taking time off for family. It’s all good.

And, everyone is just so normal. For example, a section-mate heads up the firm that bought Burger King and Heinz. Every time we interact, he continues to the same person I remember decades ago: incredibly down-to-earth, sincere, and so likeable.

I think there’s something about friendships that last for decades. You can let your guard down with long-term friends. They aren’t coming up to you to ask for something, and you can be disarmed and just be yourself.

Sure, you want to help out each other, but it’s more out of camaraderie than anything else. They knew you “way back when,” before you became known and visible. Back, when you were just “you.”

It’s great to have a circle of long-term friends. I really feel lucky.

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