Acquaintances may be friends of friends, people you work with, neighbours, professionals.
You may not say hello to them if you saw them in the street and you probably wouldn’t rush to help or give them a shoulder to cry on.
They may be the same to you, however sometimes their advice is the most valuable:
They are not part of your friends network, so they offer a fresh perspective.
They don’t have close ties to your life, so they your stories can be new and interesting.
They aren’t necessarily concerned about your happiness, so they may be honest even if it does hurt feelings.
My driving instructor is an example, we were connected only be a professional need. She had a no none-sense attitude, from the rough side of town and a filthy mouth.
To make the lessons pass we made small talk to help me relax and avoid an awkwardness. I would tell her all about my life, my education, my jobs, relationships and all the things that affected my life.
I thought I was a fuck up, a failure, a loser who was going nowhere.
I told her about the large amount of money I had saved and spent on a University education and travelling.
I told her about a five year friendship that developed into a relationship that destroyed a friendship and killed my confidence.
This resulted in me hitting the gym like never bother, nothing inspires the perfect body like envy, hoping I would “win her back”.
I was at a stage where I felt I had got nowhere despite all my efforts.
She gave a laugh of contempt and said:
“You’re 30 years old and in that time you have two degrees, you’ve backpacked around Canada, been to other parts of the world and had a number of good jobs and you feel like a failure.”
“There are people in this town twice your age who rarely leave this town. They have no education, no job and they would never have been able to spend so much.”
“You feel you blew your money, but you replaced that with a shit load of interesting stories, you took risks, became stronger from them and as a result you got to experience things most people never will.”
“As for your ex, fuck her! You’ll find someone else because your athletic, smart and funny.”
I left the lesson with a new wave of confidence, because she was from a deprived area she offered a fresh perspective of how fortunate I am.
Because she had not spent the last 10 years with me I could give her the highlights of all the awesome stuff, so she thought I was pretty cool.
She didn’t care if I was still sore about my ex, she saw it as it is and made me feel value in myself.
Recently I have felt kind of crap because one of my goals went to hell. I wasted time and money, I told people about it, so my ego took a battering when it went to shit and I had developed goal oneitis – meaning all my other planned goals would not go ahead.
When I was laying in bed feeling sorry for myself, I remembered those words. At the end of the day I took a chance and failed.
However unlike the risk averse, I am living, becoming stronger and wiser with each new goal I set myself to achieve. When one goal fails, it opens up many more possibilities or at least gives me an interesting story.
Don’t dismiss the value of an aquentance, they are a small part of life, but they make a big impact.