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  • Nathan Riley, MD

Affection/Exploitation


I’m in my 30s. At this time in my life, I find value in the integration of people into my life who know what they stand for. They have a constitution. When they reach out to me, it’s because they want to catch up. They don’t need me to be their cheerleader, and they aren’t looking to merely cheer me on. They know who they are. Consider these three examples:

Friend B: Suffers highs and lows like any other human being. Reaches out when in need of a pick me up, then disappears for weeks or months on end. Great ideas, great eye contact, but for a limited time only. Maybe even a visionary, but jumps from one “breakthrough” to the next.

Friend C: Successful physician. Destined to become a stellar physician scholar at a top critical care program in Northern California. Sends me random gifts in the mail. Calls whenever he feels like it, sometimes just to say hi.

Friend D: Friend since middle school. Able to converse about anything and everything. Doesn’t treat me like a doctor, and gets me on a fundamental level. Same humor, same equivocal voice on the matter of life. Can fall back into your life in a flash without missing a beat.

As we mature, we have only so much energy to spread across our social network. Invest this energy into those people that are contributing to your growth rather than merely drawing from your energy. Surround yourself with Friends C and D.

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