Social media has altered the way many of us view business and relationships. Who we know - and how well we get along with them - has re-emerged front and centre as a primary determinant for one's popularity and ability to reel in clients and customers. "People won't do business with you if they don't like you", we are told - and in some respects this has always been true. After all, who wants to work with a curmudgeon, right? Unless, of course, it's Harrison Ford or Clint Eastwood.
With a society long focused on prom or homecoming queens and kings, Big Man on Campus, and beauty pageants, in many respects we've catered to the most gregarious or outgoing demographic. Despite numerous meaningful pieces about Introverts Who Quietly Run the World, we are still teaching our children (and adults) they won't matter unless they aspire to be the most visible, well-liked, and social person in school, the office, or on the web.
As an introvert who has figured out my way in the world, and quite successfully, I've never bought into it.
To be clear, I agree that personal and professional interactions are more appealing if the parties are above board, civil, and pleasant. However, my standard for choosing a client or vendour has always started and ended with high performance.
I like things done right. I like them done exceptionally well. And I'm willing to pay for both, even if the currency is dealing with someone who isn't laughing it up on Facebook or posting every bit of personal data about him or herself to endear you to them. No, I won't tolerate abuse or cruelty for the sake of genius-level output, but I'm not always looking for a new best friend when striking up a win-win partnership.
None of this means we should end our quest for positive and uplifting encounters which enrich our business and personal experience. I'm just stepping a bit outside the box to note the basics are important and can typically survive the fluff. Besides, if someone does business with me because they like me or their friends liked me, what happens when they get angry and decide they no longer do - whether or not I actually did something to deserve it?
It's a measurement which can be too precarious for my contemplative and oftentimes reserved tendencies, and I don't apologise for preferring to work with those who've gotten a bit beyond the need for emotional validation.
Indeed, I recognise some things go out of style, but they usually come back round. You know, like bell bottoms and platform shoes. So, too, do foundational underpinnings like quality, commitment, and sincerity -- even if you aren't centre stage and a candidate for homecoming king or queen.