Last week I wrote about friendship. Many readers have asked me that friends are required for progress in professional life. They called it networking. I also had a discussion with some of the friends who happen to regularly give me their views after reading my articles. It encouraged me to write one more article to differenciate between friendship and networking. As I always mention, these opinions are my personal and therefore the difference that I am going to mention here is also my personal point of view. Because your network people will always call themselves your friends and you will believe them till the reality becomes clear!

Suppose you are attending a party where one person, known to you, is talking to you. But as soon as he sees someone more important than you, he would excuse himself and attend to that new entrant. That is network. But if you are talking to a friend, even if a CEO of a company enters the room, your friend will not leave you. Because it is friendship.

I agree that networking is really important and it helps us grow professionally as well as socially. In networking, we try to connect with those people who can help us at some point of time in our career or personal life. Networking means that there has to be some utility in the connection. In networking, two persons do not need to be on unequal footing. For example, a businessman networking with secretary of a government officer. If you see the difference between their standing is huge. But there is utility for both of them in maintaining that network.

Another difference is that in friendship you have emotional attachment and and it tends to extend not only to the friend but also to his family members. In networking it may be purely professional and may not reach to family level. There are no emotions in networking. It doesn’t mean that netorking is purely selfish but there is certainly no emotional depth.

People say network is your networth. It means that if you have a strong network, it will turn out to be your wealth sometime. While friends can be demanding and and pocket emptying! As you grow professionally and reach to hire position, you will find more people in you network. Check your phone book. See how many are friends and how many network.

I would say, keep your network and make it strong but do not forget to differentiate between your friends and and professional contacts. Network is sometimes misleading and you may easily misinterpret your network as your friend circle. For people who happened to get transferred from one place to another or from one post to another, they will certainly agree with the point that network changes with your place and post but your friends do not change.

Friendship does not need to maintain regular contacts. It just simply means maintaining regular emotional attachment. Even if you are not talking to your friends on regular basis, whenever you speak, the same warmth will be felt. You will know that no one can take your place in the heart of your friend. But in network your successor or anyone else who can be more useful than you will replace you easily. Don’t get disheartened, its not personal!