Where do you see yourself in five years?
I asked this question to my friend Sai when I first met him. He said, “I want to build a business that makes a massive impact on the Indian cybersecurity scene. In five years, I’ll probably be among the most influential people in the country.”
This was 2017 and I didn’t really have any goals for myself except pursuing a government job and centering my life around it. But Sai’s answer pushed me to dream big and carve a reality for myself that’s unimaginable compared to accepted societal standards.
I started taking my writing seriously. I published my first book in 2018, and in 2021, I’m planning to quit my full-time “stable” job and pursue a career as a writer and entrepreneur.
If you told the teenager Anangsha that she would build a business around her passion someday, she’d have laughed and called you crazy. But Sai helped me rewire my brain and influenced me to think out of the box. The way he answered this question made me realize how much I wanted to be like him and how there was so much positivity to gain if I became friends with him.
How this question will help
I get it. This isn’t an HR interview and you aren’t hiring them. But this question can help you understand what goals your potential friends have in life. If they inspire you and force you to dream bigger, you should definitely keep them in your life.
But if they aim for something that you feel might push you down rather than motivate you, maybe you can reconsider the friendship.
As Miriam Kirmayer Ph.D. writes in Psychology Today, “Having someone we can turn to for support can make setting goals significantly more enjoyable and keep us motivated and accountable. That said, although the support we receive from friends has the potential to be hugely influential, not all types are created equal. Some can even be quite counterproductive.”