Weak Ties Over Strong Ties

By Nyatundo N. Yvonne

Would you believe me if I told you that those friends in your so-called inner circle that you hold dear are the least likely to uplift you especially professionally? Before you get into defensive mode, let me elaborate.

Your strong ties comprise your inner circle. They’re the least likely people to enable you to achieve milestones in your career journey because they know same people as you do and you all share similar interests. In addition, there’s a tendency of us humans to resist change because change means discomfort and there’s nothing we love more than our comfort zone. Why then, would I enable my very good friend leave the nest when I like how they make me laugh or how we waste time together? Sometimes this resistance to change which results in sabotage of a friend’s dream or vision, does not originate from a selfish place but the desire for things to stay the same. All in all, growth is not a priority when it comes to your strong ties. Change is inevitable, yes but it cannot be forced upon oneself.

Your weak ties comprise the people you’re more acquaintances with than close friends. The people you meet randomly and briefly perhaps at a conference, seminar, rendezvous, a team building activity. These are the people you tend to share your mindset with and you end up meeting in the relevant forums. These are people who know little to nothing about you and they are the ones who will play a major role in lifting you up in your career. This is because first of all, whenever you help someone, you get a dopamine rush – similar to the rush one would get after doing a rewarding activity for instance, eat chocolate and people love to feel good so they will help you. Secondly, more often than not, you do not dwell in the same circles therefore they know people you don’t and they can access opportunities you normally wouldn’t. I believe this is where the axiom that your network is your net worth was coined from. Your weak ties, you’ll grow to realize, are more willing to help than your strong ties and with them comes a fresh set of eyes with completely different ideas and perspectives and it is through this that growth spurs.

Therefore, network. Network. Network. Grow your net worth, grow yourself. Say no when need be because every time you say yes to one thing, you’re saying no to an infinite number of things.