Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Clicking In Real Life
We may have hundreds of Facebook friends, but how many genuine friendships?
Personal profiles on social networking sites boast an army of digital
'friends.' But can these digital penpals really be considered friends?
Are these feeds and streams enough to feed an offline friendship and
satiate the need for connection?
"There's not much of a future for a virtual relationship unless it finds
its way into the offline world," says Dr. Rick Kirschner, author of How To
Click With People: The Secret To Better Relationships In Business And In Life.
"If all you want is some conversation, or a little titillation, or some
hard-to- reach information, online connections can serve us well. But if you
want to grow a relationship into something valuable and enriching, you have to
do something more than type and talk."
Stats indicate the average user on Facebook has 120 confirmed friends and
clicking online can mean you click well offline too.
Jaden, 34, developed a lasting friendship with a man she met online. "From
the very first moment, I knew we'd be great friends..."
Four years later they still are connected in the real world as well as
online. "Marvin and I are both fun, motivated people. We value family, we
value our friendships and we like to do fun and interesting things. We both
like to be silly, do funny voices and make funny faces. Both of us really
cherish staying physically active. Both of us like hiking and camping ..."
says the actor and teacher.
"By being open to meeting someone online I was able to make a connection
with someone I might not have met otherwise and find a lot of neat things to
relate to in this person," adds Jaden.
According to Kirschner, "social networks make the invisible visible. Your
entire network of connections is visible to your entire network of
connections, speeding up our ability to find needed resources and make
The downside of it all is that as people connect online, they may become
more disconnected offline, hidden behind their profile--antisocial networking
"Without direct contact, it's very difficult to take the measure of a
person, to develop confidence and trust that what you're hearing and seeing is
worth believing," says Kirschner.
Kirschner says a connection evolves as some degree of honesty, empathy,
reciprocity and trust develop. Ongoing sharing and reciprocity helps turn a
contact into a connection into a relationship.
Close connections are crucial to mental and physical health. "You are born
alone, and you die alone, but in between, it is the connection we share with
friends that determines our fulfilment and happiness," says Kirschner. "And
the good news is that all around you, there are connections waiting to be
made, friends wanting to be found, relationships wanting to be discovered."
Being able to click is key to personal and business success, adds
Kirschner, whose new book offers techniques on how to connect more deeply with
people, dispelling the myth that you either click with someone or you don't.
- - -
EXPERT ADVICE ON HOW TO KEEP YOUR FRIENDSHIPS STRONG
ENCOURAGE: Bring out the very best in people by encouraging them. A note of
encouragement, placed where it can't be missed, might be enough to change the
trajectory of a day, a week, a life. "The difference it makes in a person's
life to have someone cheering them on is astonishing."
HELP: We get by with a little help from our friends. When you can see the
need for help and provide it, the message is, 'I care about you.' Do a favour.
Make a sacrifice. Volunteer. Find a need and fill it. Most people are too shy
to ask for help, and most people who ask are too stubborn to receive it.
Nevertheless, stand ready to provide it. You can also give help by asking
someone for help.
GIFTS: It's a sure signal of appreciation and affection. And remember,
learn what people like and surprise them with it. Sometimes, the greatest
gifts we give come from receiving each other's gifts. Give a laugh at a lousy
joke. Give flowers.
QUALITY NOT QUANTITY: How much time does it take to be a good friend?
Moments. What turns regular time into quality time? Undivided attention.
Usually, to tune in to another person, you have to turn off all the
distractions, turn away from everything else, and turn on that part of you
that is curious, interested and eager to connect.
TOUCH: One of the most powerful ways to end that feeling of isolation is
through touch. Something as simple as a touch on the hand, a pat on the back,
a hug, a neck or shoulder massage.
-Courtesy Dr. Rick Kirschner, theartofchange.co m