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Multiple companies exist, employing huggers who charge $20-$60 per hour to give purely platonic hugs. The website, RentAFriend, allows people to “rent a friend” for $23 per hour. People are searching for some sort of friendship.
A dear friend of mine, Ronnie Phillips, Jr., recently wrote a book, The Power of Agreement: God’s Secret to Your Successful Relationships with Friends, Family, and at Work. In the book, he breaks down a question: Are you a teammate, cellmate, or soulmate?
This is a really important question for all people—especially leaders—to ask within their life and organization. You say, “What does that question mean?”
A teammate is there for you and with you for a season. They have your back for a period of time. Then, you eventually move your separate ways.
I played basketball in middle and high school. I had some fantastic teammates. We practiced and played for endless hours. We worked out together. We traveled all over together. We were there for each other. Now, I hardly ever talk to any of them. We were friends for a season.
A cellmate is there for you when few others are around, but the moment they can get away from you, for a “better” person with whom to be a friend, they’re outta there. If they have to throw you under the bus to get away faster, they’re more than willing to do it.
In the jail cell, you’re cool. You talk and laugh. However, in the back of their mind, you know and they know this is not a real friendship—it is a distorted relationship due to circumstance.
Soulmates are friends who are with you for life. These are few and far between. They’re with you through thick and thin.
Loneliness surrounds our culture. Strategic relational leaders can help the people of their organizations pour into one another. Which are you? A teammate? A cellmate? A soulmate? The decision is yours.
I close this article with the robust words of Winnie the Pooh: “Good friends stick with you until you’re unstuck.”