How important is being on the same level?

In Stories

Sam is a young business owner who runs a bustling bike shop in Adelaide. He has a daughter who’s almost two and a half and a son who’s about six months. We met him on a Friday morning before he opened up for the day.

For Sam, transitions were a big part of his story.

“School, university, and then we went overseas and made a whole other friendship group, and then we came back and started a business, that’s another friendship group, and having children is another friendship group as well.”

In high school and university, sport played a big role. Starting with sailing as a kid, on to running the ski club in university, kite surfing, and now with the shop, of course, cycling. With the kite surfing, especially, it made it easy to catch up with people.

“You didn’t even have to message them. You’d go to the one spot you knew where the wind would be good, and everyone would be there. Then someone would say ‘hey, let’s go and grab a beer afterwards.’ And so you’d go and grab a beer.

“Then there was always something related to what we were doing. I was on the sailing committee. I was on the kite surfing committee. It was always a group. And that’s the way that I always made connections.”

That ease of spending time with who’s around was the same in university for Sam. He said he sees people from his degree less often these days, but they spent a lot of time together, so “you can pick up really quickly.”

“With architecture, you’re there 24/7. We did all-nighters in the studio. You were always with people, so you really did create good connections there, and we used to have a lot of fun.”

And it’s been the same again with the bike shop.

“With D and S, we used to hang out a lot as well, because they’re business owners next door. Same sort of times within our life and also business hours, you do the same things and you have the same time off.

“I’m always talking to D about certain things and vice-versa. Like, he borrows tools all of the time, because they’re there. So that’s easy.”

Now with having kids, though, he sees the other business owners a bit less.

“Now, especially for my partner, and for me as well, we associate ourselves more with people who have children, or are about to have children… just because it makes it easier. You’re on the same level.

“I see a lot of friendships created on common interests, yeah, but people who are doing something similar to you and you want to be able to get information from them as well and help each other out that way and that common ground creates a friendship. For me: business, definitely. And for my partner: children and her friends.”

Finally, before he left to open the store for the day, Sam reminded us that close relationships are not all about people.

“We used to have Rusty, our dog, at the shop every day. Mate, there’s connections between people, but animals are amazing. For sure.”

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