One of the most significant things about success is that it affects every aspect of your life. Your level of success determines the way you speak, the house you live in, the places you go, the way you dress, the things you eat, etc. Your relationship with others is also affected, or determined, by your level of success. Birds of a feather flock together. People are expected to identify with those at the same level of success with them in friendly relationships. This is why friendship is always best among people at the same level.
There can neither be strong nor cordial friendship among unequals, no matter the standard with which the inequality is judged. Even interactions among blood relations are adversely affected by differences in their levels of achievements. Besides, among young men and women, one’s level of success is a major factor in selecting a potential spouse. A successful person, all things being equal, naturally desires a fellow successful (or at least potentially successful) person as a spouse. This is why educated people usually get married to fellow educated people.
The claim that there can neither be strong nor cordial friendship among unequals has been challenged by some attendees of my seminars. It has also been challenged by some people during informal discussions. However, I still hold on to this view because of some observations and practical experiences. For instance, no matter the level of relationship between a multimillionaire and a poor person, the former cannot reveal the amount of money he makes in business to the latter for several reasons, as he may risk the relationship.
For instance, doing so may provoke jealousy from the poor person. Besides, such information may induce the poor person to make irrational financial demands from his wealthy friend or relation. The relationship may eventually break down if the request is not granted for any reason. This is one of the reasons rich people keep information about their financial success away from poor people, irrespective of how close they are to them. I sincerely believe that this observation validates the truth that there cannot be intimacy among unequals.
Besides, communication is usually more effective among people at the same level of life and success, as their experiences are (very likely to be) similar. For instance, discussion on the marital life between a married man and a bachelor, a married woman and a spinster, or a married person and a divorcee will be from different perspectives. This also applies to discussion between the rich and the poor, a landlord and a tenant, a male and a female, an adult and a child, an employer and an employee, a worker and a retiree, etc.
The place of success in human relationship should not be difficult to understand because peoples’ lives are under the irresistible influence of their relationships; hence, the popular expression, “Tell me your friend and I will tell you the type of person you are”. Relating with people above you has the tendency of assisting you grow higher in life, if you are willing to do so. In a similar vein, relating with people below you has the tendency of dragging you down, if you are not careful. This is why you should be mindful of your relationships.
Your life is under the influence of the relationships you keep. Your relationships are among the factors that will determine whether you will succeed or fail in life. This is why there is usually a correlation between people’s level of success and their relationships with people. As a matter of fact, your companions determine what you are, and what accompanies you. You should not expect to have focus in life if your closest friends are people who have no focus. Your choice of friendship influences, or determines, your destiny in life.