Establishing friendships ‘may be the most important thing in life’

LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman gives advice to students based on the lessons he has accumulated throughout his career.

Hoffman, 54, was COO at PayPal before co-founding LinkedIn in 2002 with two former colleagues. Hoffman’s living room platform now has more than 830 million members in more than 200 countries and regions.

“Making, cultivating, and keeping close friends can be the most important thing in your life. Yes, your network is important, but more than that, your friends will be at the center of your feelings of happiness, connection, and what matters to you.”

LinkedIn co-founder: Establishing friendships 'may be the most important thing in life' - Photo 1.

LinkedIn co-founder, Reid Hoffman. Photo: Picture Alliance

Here are four “valuable” lessons Hoffman said he learned from his friends:

Appreciate other perspectives

Through a college friendship with a woman of color, Hoffman said, he learned he didn’t understand women.

“One day, after we had known each other for a while, she said one of the kindest things anyone has ever said to me. She said, ‘Reid, you don’t seem to understand half of humanity’. She means woman. Because like many young people, I went to college with almost zero understanding of women. And no one else has ever cared enough to tell me I needed help.”

Hoffman’s friends then invited him to go out with her and her friends, both women.

Thanks to that, he was able to directly understand women from different backgrounds.

“Understanding that your experience may be very different from mine is an uncomfortable realization, but it has helped me become a friend, boss, husband, investor, every aspect of my life is covered. better”.

“When there’s something important you don’t know, real friends will tell you about it.”

Realize your purpose

After leaving college, like many recent graduates, Hoffman said he was faced with the question “what do I want to do with my life?”

He thought the answer would be settled at Oxford’s philosophy department, but found himself displeased by this. Fortunately, a close friend helped Hoffman find his way.

“When he saw I was in trouble, he asked me a simple question that changed my life completely. He said, “You want to create good values ​​in society in fact. Why do you think philosophy is the only way to do it? If academics don’t get me there, I should choose another path. Don’t sit there feeling like you don’t know what to do. Let’s go do something.” And I’ve never stopped thinking about it that way.”

Without friends “supporting and encouraging,” Hoffman said, he would not have been able to find his purpose.

“Your friends can help you see what you can’t see. They will help you, you will help them and things will get better and further.”

Say “no” to get “yes”

We all seek approval or approval in one way or another. While it’s good to have friends who support what you do, it’s important to have friends who can tell you the truth, even if it hurts, says Hoffman.

“Your friends will tell you not what you want to hear, but what you need to hear.”

After Ebay acquired PayPal in 2002, Hoffman said he was bored with Silicon Valley and wanted to quit for a year, despite his plans to create an economic social platform, now LinkedIn. A friend urged him to cut back on his year-long vacation and start putting his idea into practice.

“You have a team… Some important associates are your friends. The people you share your dreams and fears with are the ones who can help you get where you should be because again, friends will tell you not what you want to hear but what you need to hear”.

Please help your friends

The most important lesson Hoffman learned is that “the people who help you the most will let you help them.”

“There are friends who have trusted me and allowed me to help them. This brings me joy as great as other joys in life.”

Hoffman recalls helping a friend through a difficult period in his life and the gratitude he felt afterward.

“He had to put his trust in me, which was a great gift for me. By doing that, he showed me that I am the kind of person that deserves to be trusted like that. He showed me I was worthy. I have never forgotten that feeling. And that’s how your friends help you the most. By letting you help them. I want you to experience the same thing.”

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