Relationships Should Be Managed (Like Investments!) 

If your relationships were investments, would you retain them based on their return?  

I know, you’re saying, “Damian, these are my friends.  They’re not a piece of paper or real estate.” 

By saying that, you sound just like the person who’s emotionally invested in assets they shouldn’t be.   But, due to emotion, they accept a lousy return.  The investment is harming them financially, yet they refuse to bail and put their money elsewhere.  Likewise, your lousy relationships are harming you personally.     

Here’s the point 

You should expect — even demand — a return on your investments.  And relationships are investments of time, energy, and emotion.  

Your Friend Portfolio Makes You Rich or Poor

Are your relationships appreciating in value or depreciating?  Is your yield commensurate with the effort you put into the relationship?  Easy to manage or a headache?   

I know people who’ll never own rental property.   They don’t want the hassle of renters or the maintenance of broken toilets.  Yet they have disastrous friends, who need constant maintenance, who’ll never be fixed.   

Conversely, look at your high return relationships.  People who make you smarter.   They challenge you, in a good way.  Time spent with these individuals is enriching, versus exhausting.  

You have limited relationship equity.  Do you want to invest it in broken toilets or personal enrichment?  

Sunk Cost is Sunk Cost

Some people cling to negative relationships due to history.  You’ve known Negative Nancy since college and she loves to share her drama.  Poor Pete’s an old pal but he has the worst luck, just ask him.  

You hang around these people because you always have.  Cut your losses.  Like stock in a failing company, these people aren’t going to rebound.  In fact, they don’t want to rebound.  They’d rather drag you down with them.

While it’s hard to walk away from something you’ve put so much into, remember a paramount rule of Economics:  Sunk Cost is Sunk Cost.  And it should have NO bearing on forward decision making.  Ever heard the advice, “Don’t throw good money after bad?”  Move on!  

Time to Rebalance the Portfolio

Once you purge your account of negative relationships, you’ll have relationship equity to invest.  Spend wisely on who you spend your time with.  You’ll be richer for it.  

Damian Mason is a businessman, speaker, writer, and success consultant. Find him at 

Angie Carel