You’ve heard it. Probably said it.
It’s lonely at the top.
It’s an experience many leaders have felt, including me in seasons.
Why is that?
Well, leadership can be confusing.
You go from being just one of the guys or girls to being a ‘leader’ or ‘boss.
Leadership brings with it its own set of frustrations and challenges.
You’re never exactly sure what you can say to whom.
I have wrestled with friendship in leadership, but at this point feel fortunate to be surrounded by great friends locally and all over the place. Geography isn’t a barrier anymore.
Today I want to share 3 reasons why a lot of leaders struggle to make and keep friends (and why I did), as well as some action you can take.
But first I want to share the real reason…the reason underneath all the reasons.
You might not like it, but I think it’s true.
The Real Reason You Don’t Have Many Friends As a Leader Is…
You made a decision not to have friends.
That’s right. It’s as simple as that.
Somewhere along the line you decided not to have friends.
You might have done this sub-consciously. Or it might have been a decision.
I remember the first time in my life I decided to stop making friends.
I lived in the same community from when I was 3 until I was 8. I made some great friends. Best friends.
When my parents told me we were moving, I wanted to pull the for sale sign off our front lawn.
We moved 30 minutes away and I made some new friends and a new best friend, Andrew.
18 months after that move, we moved again—this time 5 hours away.
I remember going to my new school and thinking “I’m not going to make any close friends. We’ll just move again.”
Although we did switch houses, I stayed with those same kids all through elementary school and high school. But throughout those years, I never threw myself as deeply into those relationships as I could have.
I made a choice.
And early into ministry, I found myself making a similar choice.
Leadership can make leaders lonely.
And I think ministry in even more inherently confusing because its such a strange combination of faith, like and work (something I wrote about here).
So glad that this time, I caught it.
The real reason most leaders don’t have many friends is because they decided to stop making them.
So Why Is That? The 3 Main Reasons Leaders Decide to Stop Making Friends
Maybe you never said “I’m not going to make any friends” out loud…or even to yourself. But these reasons will push you to make that decision even subconsciously.
But here’s the cool part: once you’re aware of why you do something, you’re freed to stop doing it.
Here are the 3 main reasons I think many of us in leadership stop making friends, even if we’ve never consciously realized we did this: