How to work with your friends and profit from friendship without devolving into a relationship crushing sociopath. Words: Tom Ward, Ruby Flanagan
Here’s the best advice from buddies that have been there on how your pals can assist you in both your life and career.
1. Let them push you on
Jake Tyler is a Mental health advocate and host of the podcast People Are F***ing Awesome. His best friend has been a rock during his 3,000-mile charity trek, ‘Black Dog Walks’
“I might have done the walking, but my best mate is the one who pushed me to become a public figure. I wasn’t sure it would be my thing, but some great things have come out of it – like meeting Prince Harry on BBC’s Mind Over Marathon series. My mate is a video editor so he made me make a promo video for my walk around the UK, which was one of the most torturous things I’ve ever had to do.
“Over the past two years he’s been my rock – lending me money, constantly giving me feedback and making time for me whenever I needed it so I could continue walking and spreading the message. He’s helped me keep putting one foot in front of the other.
“Without him, Black Dog Walks would have already been forgotten about, and more importantly, with the stuff that I went through before it all started, without his support I might not even be here at all.”
2. Pay attention to advice they give you
Self-proclaimed ‘personal trainer to the rich and famous’ Alex Beard resets by walking with his pal Kenny
“My friend Kenny Mammarella-D’Cruz (also known as The Man Whisperer) has spent many hours helping me to get clarity on girlfriends, clients, family and the complexities of running a successful business. I actually record our conversations and listen back to them, as he can get quite intense and I don’t want to misunderstand anything.
“We stay sane stomping Epping Forest. It’s good to spend time talking – and listening to friends – and Kenny has so much wisdom to share, I don’t want to miss any of it. Sometimes debriefing and having a laugh on the phone is all we can fit in, but Kenny has always walked by my side. He’s there in my darkness and as things grow out of control. He brings out the best in me to fulfil my true potential.”
3. Let them be your biggest fan
As he worked on his first book, Johnny Ruin, author Dan Dalton’s twin brother became his sounding board and best friend
“My brother Rob is my best friend. We’re twins, and the trials of teenage life kept us apart when we were younger, but we’ve been much closer through our twenties and thirties. When I was writing the book that would become my debut novel I sent it to Rob in pieces. He cheered me on, eagerly waiting for the next chapter and telling me the lines he loved. No one else could have given me such honest and open feedback. When I finished it, he was my first reader. That novel, Johnny Ruin, is dedicated to Rob. I couldn’t have done it without his support.”
4. Feel free to scream in their face
When musician Howard Kaye decided to open The Bok Shop, his best mate worked with him to help make it Brighton’s best fried chicken joint
“I first met Jamie 10 years ago when we both moved to Brighton from London. He grew up in south-east London and I grew up in north London. We bonded over our mutual love of fried chicken.
“One rainy evening we jokingly uttered the words, “Should we just open our own fried chicken shop?” Eighteen months and a hell of a lot of blood, sweat and tears later, it became a reality. People say you should never go into business with friends or family. But Jamie – who was best man at my wedding and who I see as a brother – and I, have found the perfect balance between friendship and business partners.
“No one makes me tear my hair out quite like him. And, like brothers, we can scream at each other in an argument over the restaurant, then go for a pint half an hour later like nothing happened.”
5. Have them solve your problems
British tennis player Piers Farhang credits his coach of 11 years with helping him get through tough times
“It’s rare to have a tennis player stay with the same coach for over a year. I’ve stayed with mine for 11. David Ison, formerly ranked 366 in the world, is the most patient, positive and all-round nice guy I know.
“I had a speech impediment until a very late age, so communication was always a problem for me. It was David’s idea for me to write down letters so he could understand how I was feeling on the tennis court, and any problems I was encountering.
“The hardest thing for me was losing. Friends and family are interested in the score card, but your coach sees all the work you have put in. When I won, he won, and when I lost, he lost. No one can help you move past your problems like a coach. But David is more than just a coach: he’s my mentor, my inspiration, and most importantly, my friend.”
6. Capitalise on their honesty
Simon Halfon, creator of TV mini-series All You Need Is Me, explains how friendship helped him succeed in the tough tv industry
“It could be awkward when you’re someone (me) who asks their oldest friend – a US screenwriter of considerable note – to read a pilot script for a show you’ve written. But not for me and my dear friend Todd Graff.
“Todd has always been a straight-shooter, someone I knew I could count on to tell me the truth – either way. He happily agreed to read my first draft and I nervously awaited his response. ‘“Who knew?!” were the opening words of his email back. That’s all I needed to know. With Todd behind me – legitimately passionate about the project – it felt like nothing could stop us. Todd was rock solid in his support, all the way through to finally getting this short-form series written, green-lit, shot and finished. Without this encouragement from both a pro and a pal, who knows?”
All You Need Is Me is about to launch in the US
7. Use your shared history
After losing their parents in the 2004 tsunami, paul forkan set up fashion brand Gandys with his brother rob
“We’re lucky to spend so much time together, as many people only see their siblings on special occasions. I can imagine it being lonely starting a business alone, but working with my brother and best friend gives me someone to share the highs and lows with.
“We’ve been through really hard times, and great times travelling the world, too. We put our bohemian and hippy upbringing into our brand, and this enables us to incorporate a lot from our childhood into how we live today. It’d be hard to do that with a ‘normal’ business partner that you haven’t grown up with. As we’re so close, we have a lot of trust and respect for one another.”