Which Everyday People Should We Befriend?

We interact with people every day without establishing any kind of relationship, whether it's sales staff, the bus driver or the postman. Sometimes, however, it's in our best interest to befriend these strangers, because they can help you out. What kind of strangers have you befriended and how did it help you in your life?

Picture: Paul de los Reyes/Flickr

Redditor kodozoku explains how he helps his postman and his postman helps him:

My mail carrier's name is Andre. When it's hot outside I leave him bottles of water, and I leave him holiday cards, etc.

Your mail carrier works for you every day and you should appreciate them!

When I have packages coming he texts me. I only live a few blocks away from my office so if a signature is required I can run home and sign. If something is too big to fit in my box, he'll stash it somewhere inside the building and text me the location.

Who have you befriended and helped? How did that person help you in return?

Befriend your mail carrier [Reddit]


Comments

    Friendship is friendship, it's organic and natural and can't be faked or purchased by bribes of gifts and expectations of favours and preferential treatment IMO.

    But that doesn't mean the idea behind this article isn't valid. I see the point. It's a form of business relationship. A cordial transaction. My "mailman" works at the post office and put stuff into my PO Box... perhaps I could leave little chocolates, perfumes, or minibar whiskey in there.. not sure what that would get me though... maybe someone else's more interesting mail once in a while :-)

    I have a take away food place nearby where the food is amazingly good and the place is stupidly popular. I get delivery from them about one a week, and I always tip the drivers between $5-10 depending on my order. (ie: order is $32.50... here's $40 keep the change mate) Mostly these are young keen people out to earn some $$$ and get ahead. When I ring on a Friday or weekend the first thing they say is "delivery's running at 60-90 minutes..." I noticed after a while that my orders starting turning up in 30-40 minutes. correlation doesn't equal causation, but I can't help thinking there is some connection. I didn't start tipping to get my orders quickly. I did it because we were all young once. Of course the rules of karma and the universe means that because I've written this here today... my order tonite will be the full 90 mins ;)

    My "rule for life" in these situations is always be polite, courteous and respectful to EVERYONE you deal with. This has it's own karmic way of "rewarding" you over time.

    And be prepared to deal with jerks...

    This is really case by case, were I live in particular there are quite a few different posties so you hardly ever get the same one too often. Especially that couriers and posties are quite different too.

    Also basic summary of this article: "You look like someone I can exploit in order to benefit my own life. Lets be friends!"

    Last edited 20/07/13 1:25 pm

    I go out of my way to befriend bar staff and bouncers at my local. Makes it easier for those busy nights with long lines to get in and pretty much halves the time it takes to line up for drinks. One bar maid there sees me in the line and she has my drink ready for me when I get there.

    When I started as a salesman many, many years ago, my Sales Manager at the time, gave me one piece of advice which has stayed with me for over forty years. That was, to talk with everyone in the places I called at on my daily sales route. He said just a simple "G'day!", an acknowledgement of the work they are performing or pay them a compliment on their manner and appearance. That simple step paid off many, many times, and I developed good relationships with people which lasted many years. As my Sales Manager said then, the person sweeping the floor may one day be the store manager. This happened numerous times over the years. Even now, after many years out of that industry, I still have many who remember me. Now that I am retired, I make a point of noting a sales assistant's name badge and acknowledge their service using their name. It makes a difference in their attitude in many cases. I can totally agree with what timdotnet wrote "My "rule for life" in these situations is always be polite, courteous and respectful to EVERYONE you deal with. This has its own karmic way of "rewarding" you over time". Good, sound advice!

    I was going to respond in a similar way to the article, others have, but then I thought about the nature of friendship.
    If we are completely and brutally honest with ourselves - most friendships are from a selfish nature.
    We are friends with people because they make us feel better about ourselves, or they entertain us, or we share a common interest and having them there makes us feel better than if they weren't.

    What complicates it further, is that fact we lie so well to ourselves, that we disguise it in seemingly selfless motives, such as: "I'll just do action X for Person Y, because I know it will help them out"
    The part we don't typically verbalise in our internal conversation is usually the most important part for doing action X - and that is the reward of gratitude, or at the very least, internal satisfaction.
    We can easily test for this, by running a couple of scenarios through our head.
    You're watching the game with your friends down at the sports club, and throughout the game, you buy everyone drinks which they drink, but none of them thanks you or even acknowledges the fact you've bought them drinks, apart from consuming them.
    Do you have the same feelings and experience, than if they had welcomed you in like a hero ?

    You have a friend who, without trying, can reduce a room of people to tears of mirth with his wit and antics.
    Are you friends with him because you perceive he is actually a very lonely person, or because he makes you feel happy ? Why does he make others laugh ? Because they are unhappy or because he gets satisfaction from making others laugh ?

    Those are two simple examples of the emotional payoff that are common in most relationships, and is the reason why a lot of people experience a drop off in friends later on in life - not so much because they have changed, but rather their needs have changed, or are fulfilled by others (partner, family, etc)

    That said, we have to recognise that humans are primarily emotional beings, and those those previous examples were looked from a logical perspective.
    It also has to be said, that these selfish motivations are responsible for not only arguments and fights, but also for all of the greatest outpourings of humanity we have ever seen.

    Which raises the question - if to be human is to be selfish, is it still wrong to be selfish ?

      Sounds like you've stumbled onto the philosophical notion of 'psychological egoism'. I find quite persuasive the criticism which points out that internal motivations when taken to their base level can be argued as representative of either 'psychological egoism' or 'psychological altruism' and thus are not philosophically helpful.

      As such, I don't really worry about whether at that base level, being friends is selfish or altruistic.

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