IN THE English-speaking world, we have issues when it comes to relationships. There is only one word for friend, which begs the question: “are you a friend, or aren’t you?” Facebook has helped us go some way towards solving this problem by providing a new class of friend, you can now have “real life friends” and “Facebook friends”. In addition to Facebook friends we now also have “LinkedIn contacts”, which are apparently more valuable than Facebook friends (and that’s why we don’t show them our stupid drunken photos).
In a fast-moving world it would be helpful to understand more clearly the relationship dynamic that we have with people and the quality of those relationships.
Here is a first attempt to segment those relationships in a meaningful way (slightly tongue in cheek).
7 Relationship Segments
- Stranger – I don’t know you and you don’t know me. Don’t contact me unless you have something valuable to offer.
- Stalker – You know me, but I don’t know you. Whatever I do and where ever I go, you follow me. Stop sending me roses.
- Follower – You know me because I am engaged in an activity that provides value to others, and you have taken a genuine interest in that activity.
- Facebook friend (social acquaintances) – We’ve met (or at least I think we met at that party a few years ago, I forget). If our paths cross we’ll most likely exchange pleasantries.
- LinkedIn contact (professional acquaintances) – We share a common interest or have mutual contacts that have introduced us. We may be able to help each other in the future, so let’s stay connected.
- Friend – We know each other. Feel free to contact me for any reason, and I’ll do likewise.
- Ally – I will take a bullet for you and you will do the same for me, right?