Friend and Foe Recognition: Part I

Stress And Frustration

One of the best things about my professional life this year is that there is a more clear definition for me in terms of “friends” and “foes”. By this I mean that you’ll run into people that either:

  • Want to help you
  • Don’t want to help you

Please note: I’m not speaking of active harm to your career, but rather a passive harm.

Because apathy.

Because unavailability.

Because a lot of reasons.

There is a saying that you should find your tribe of weirdos and that is also true in professional settings. What I’ve learned is that the difference is more felt than ever directly said.


You won’t even have to ask who these people are because they are drawn to you and will find you. You may or may not like them immediately, but over time you will grow to appreciate everything they add to you and they will feel the same about you.

These relationships are not always permanent because they don’t always make “escape velocity” (outside of the office), but they are often long-lasting. Relish and nurture every one of these and do not take them for granted.



Some of this is just the nature of yourself versus another person’s job function or personality, but these people are passively an obstacle to your professional growth because they actively have either no time or no desire to put forth the effort to assist you. In some cases, they actively resist doing so (for which you likely have an HR department).

However, if you keep grinding, you’ll eventually escape them. In the meantime, you need to focus on…. your friends. Not avoiding the foe, not opposing the foe, not crushing the foe. Every moment you spend on your foe is taking time and energy from you being able to be the awesome person you are.

Don’t do that to yourself; what you don’t feed diminishes.

Go nurture your tribe.



With these things in mind, let me tell you something else. Actually, a few somethings.

  1. People that challenge you are not in your way. A real challenge indicates concern.
  2. Your foes are not inherently unfriendly.
  3. Recognizing these people and the parts they play in your world takes practice.

The comments are yours.

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