Saturday, March 9, 2013

True Friends


To thine own self be true.
-Shakespeare

I spent the morning with a real, in-the-flesh friend helping me build my social media platform. The words “like” and “friend” and “connection” and “follow” were used at length to describe relationships that have nothing to do with intimacy.  Around the same time Facebook was launching, a study by Harvard psychologist Robert Putnam (published in Saguaro Report) found less than 1/3 of Americans felt they could trust one another. More than half reported they had either one person or no one at all to confide in. 

I wonder what the intimacy/trust pulse is like today when 15 percent of all on-line reviews are fake and  1,000 “friends” or “followers” can be bought for $25 by simply clicking BUY NOW? I have hundreds of friends on Facebook. If my marketing efforts go as planned, I will someday have thousands. But will I have more people I can trust? Will my new friends sincerely like my posts or are they hoping that I simply return the favor?

In R. Jay Magill Jr.’s book titled Sincerity, the author points out different types of sincerity. There is the kind where you are open about your intentions. “Follow me, I follow back.” There is also the kind where you pursue goals based on your true beliefs.  “I believe in my product and believe people will benefit from it, therefore I will do whatever is necessary to build my brand.”  Both kinds leave room for deception.

That old saying you can’t control anyone but yourself got me thinking about my own sincerity. Do I have the time to really get to know people and become invested in what they are trying to accomplish? Would I achieve my objectives if I limited my support to businesses that I have researched and align with in values? Am I confidant enough to be the real me with those on-line connections?  No. Unlikely. Probably not.

So what is a sincerity starved gal to do? Practice. Practice knowing my true feelings and motivations. Practice transparency. Being myself around my kids is so easy. My thoughts and feelings toward them are always sincere. So I will start with them and than practice on friends, the no-quotation-mark real kind of friends. 

How do you cultivate sincerity?

For today's "Sky's the Limit" on what you can learn: The first sincere martyr. English Protestant Reformer John Frith is known as the first person to ever use the word sincere in the English language. Frith was stirring the religious pot with King Henry VIII. He described John wycliffe, a 14th century heretic, as someone "who lived a sincere life." Frith used the word to imply honesty and straightforwardness. The catholic king responded to the letter by having Frith burned at the stake.

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