Leadership

Why the secret to your success is who you choose as a best friend

Warren Buffett and Bill Gates are friends and leading voices promoting philanthropy.
Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris
Warren Buffett and Bill Gates are friends and leading voices promoting philanthropy.

Your best friend could be a key contributor to your success.

According to new research, which was presented at the British Psychological Society annual conference in May, having a close friend boosts your resilience and helps you bounce back from hardships—a necessary skill if you want to be successful.

For the preliminary study, 75 participants took assessments on their psychological resilience, coping behaviors, self-esteem and their relationship with the person they consider a best friend.

One year later, the participants completed the same assessment "to see how best friendship quality had impacted resilience processes over this period."

The researchers found that those who had higher resilience the next year had a greater quality of friendship. Though researchers don't why that is, the study notes that best friends are a "protective mechanism" and having one can help you make it through tough times.

However, just because friends can positively influence your career doesn't mean you need a large entourage. As a matter of fact, you should be trimming and tweaking your social circle as you move up in your career, says psychologist Cicely Horsham-Brathwaite.

On the flip side, she says, making time for supportive and solid relationships is crucial because these types of friendships help you grow.

Look no further than billionaire besties Warren Buffett and Bill Gates to understand that who you decide to be friends with can greatly influence your career.

The billionaires say that they automatically clicked when they first met. For the last 25 years, they've bounced business ideas off each other and discussed trends in their respective industries.

"It began a really unbelievable friendship for me," Gates told students at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln's College of Business Administration in 2005. "I could tell that even though we came from different directions, the kinds of things that fascinated us and that we thought were important were very much the same."

Buffett highlights the importance of choosing a friend wisely in a recent conversation with Gates at Columbia University.

"You will move in the direction of the people that you associate with," he says, "It's important to associate with people that are better than yourself."

The Microsoft co-founder adds that you should treat your social circle like an investment. "Some friends do bring out the best in you," he says, "and so it's good to invest in those friendships."

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See also:

Why the secret to your success is who you marry

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Here's how millennials feel about the next generation entering the workforce