Tuesday, May 19, 2015

What Kind of Relationships Do You Have?

Are you a "broad and shallow" or "narrow and deep" type of person?

Broad and shallow.

This is the approach I've taken most in life when I've sought to have an impact on the lives of others. Part of this plays to my strengths and personality: I'm an extrovert, I like new relationships and starting stuff. I don't like details or staying in a place or on a topic for too long. I'm a butterfly in a crowded room and definitely experience FOMO in those situations.

I would much rather have a little bit of a relationship with a lot of people than a super deep relationship with only a small number.

Social media, for me then, is a drug because it plays into all that I've ever wanted. I never regulated my Facebook page when I had one. I would accept pretty much everybody as a "friend," probably to the point that if some fake person claiming to be me asked me to be his friend, I'd accept. I'm sure I would have accepted fake versions of me at some point.

I believe we live in a point in time where the broad and shallow is touted as the way to go. How many friends do you have on Facebook? How many followers on Instagram or Twitter? How many peeps on Pintrest? What about Tumblr? What about blogs? And then there's LinkedIn. I've noticed recently on LinkedIn that there is a title people place near their names: L.I.O.N. Do you know what it stands for? I didn't for a while, but then learned that it means LinkedIn Open Networker. From what I gather, these are folk who almost make a job out of the connections they have on there. I thought I could be proud of the nearly 1,500 I have, but these people are easily hitting 5K and upward on there? I'm sure there are a ton of benefits and I know some very successful, smart people who are in this group.

If I'm honest, I'm drawn to being in that group. I'm simply of the tribe that thinks, "the more I'm connected, there's more of some chance that something will happen with someone." Vague, I know. But, truth be told, great things have happened for me through those kinds of connections. Perhaps the only example I need to give is the fact that I got my current job through a somewhat random connection on Facebook and, after he saw my post on there about needing a job, reached out to me (that'll be a blog post soon: "Get a job the Lisi way.").

Back to my main point though. While I default to the broad and shallow, I long to be of the narrow and deep. I often wonder if this is an unnecessary conflict that resides in me. Why don't I just accept who I am and commit to the broad and narrow approach to my relationships? In that question I keep coming back to one point that nags me into that longing I have and that's the issue of quality. I am under the impression that those who are of the narrow and deep tribe experience a greater sense of quality in their relationships that I tend to sacrifice for the broad and shallow. I picture a richness in the narrow and deep relationships, almost like the silkiness of delicious chocolate, that calls only for a small taste to provide a lasting satisfaction and joy.

I'm sure there's a balance between the two worlds. I want to believe there is. I imagine having this conversation with people, both friends who I've known for years and people I just am getting to know and I watch it play out with them telling me, "You can have both, Andrew. Stop pretending like it's just one way or the other." That's why I want to believe there's a balance - because advice givers always provide the easy road and the pat answer. But if there's a balance, I haven't figured it out yet. I know that's true because I default toward the broad and shallow and long for the narrow and deep. Maybe that's balance, but I just call it tension. Tension is stressful; balance is peaceful. I am not there.

So for all you narrow and broad folk out there, for those of you who are either very content in that world or maybe long to be the uber-connected individual - what does your side of life look like? Any words of wisdom on how I might be able to come closer to where you live? If you provide pointers, I'll connect with you on all types of social media...if that's what you want, of course.

This blog is an idea. An experiment. An adventure. I am writing a post on one thought for 30 minutes everyday for a full year. If you like what I write, have an idea for me to write about, or have any feedback, please share in the comments below. Also, if you think it is at all valuable to you, share it because it just might be the same for someone else. Boom!

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