I have the best friends in the world. And so do you.

Jason Segel and Paul Rudd star in "I Love You, Man."

Jason Segel and Paul Rudd star in “I Love You, Man.”

We all need support, guidance, wisdom and resources on occasion. Family, friends, business associates, and even casual acquaintances all provide support to those wise enough to ask. Another way we’re bound as a society is through our common need to help others.
Maybe you’re thinking, “Actually, I’d be better off if I weren’t asked to help other people and could focus more on my own needs.” But, you’d be wrong. Whether we admit it or not, most people experience joy and even euphoria from helping others. Which brings me to my claim that I have the best friends in the world. And so do you.

I intuitively look for opportunities to connect people. Over the years, those connections have resulted in amazing outcomes.

My friends (and yours) will extend themselves to people they never even met, if asked. And, most of the time, both parties seem genuinely grateful. One for having received the unexpected help, and the other for having been asked to help. People extend themselves in this way all the time. And, more often than not, everyone walks away happy. But, there are some keys to ensuring this win-win scenario.

Be strategic. Find the hidden value people offer each other. Don’t go for the obvious by connecting people with too much in common. Find the need that’s crying to be met…and make that unique and unexpected connection.

Here are a few other tips.
Connect people with shared values and not just shared experiences. While there’s value in meeting people who’ve walked in your shoes, lasting connections result when people can bond over a shared world view.
Find someone who will give them the inspiration to succeed. When learning to swim in the deep end for the first time, what you need is a flotation devise, not an anchor. Avoid connections to cynical people who will dampen their enthusiasm.
Always give thanks to both parties for making the time to meet. It’s probably not necessary, but it’s the classy thing to do.

I’m amazed by the lengths my friends will go to help another one of my friends. You’ll be amazed too. Because chances are, your friends are as amazing as mine.