Somehow, one of most challenging and unnatural tasks of adulthood is making new friends. Most of the time, we think friends are just people to hang out with, or do things with. While that often is the context, the ultimate aim of a friend is to provide warmth, a shared space where you can both just be “your true selves.” Being a conscious friend, and being yourself in a friendship is no easy task. No wonder why most of us bail on them in light of other adult responsibilities and demands. Often, we don’t want to do the “hard work” of sustaining realness with another human being, or coordinate around each other’s lives.

But when we do, the results are no less than magical. Julie and I happen to be friends, and we happened to meet at work. Last year, we took a roadtrip and during the drive, taped our conversation about my leadership model on friends. Here we chat about how friends are one of the most valuable indicators of engagement in a workplace culture, and one of the most precious treasures of a meaningful, whole life.

We hope it inspires you to call an old friend, or invest in building new ones.