There's a lot of talk about Return On Relationships. Expectations that if a company or brand or person is nice/charming/complimentary enough, that the receiving party of these compliments and charm will be loyal to the company/brand/person. Enough already.
What about relating for the sake of relating? For no other purpose than to be a friend? To share life's amazing moments? What about being a compassionate listener without expecting a purchase/referral/follow?
What about socializing for the sake of socializing?
Social media has created beautiful tribes of people that can lift each other during devastating times like the loss of children, divorce, illness... and during times of celebration like weddings, book releases, and the birth of new life. Through our blogs, tweets, twitpics, flickr albums, facebook posts we all learn a bit more about each other. We see each other's human frailties, grace under pressure, and immeasurable joy. Every time a member of our community shares and we read/watch/listen to their words and thoughts, they add to the mosaic that is our life experience.
But I'm not oblivious to reality.
I understand that we all need to pay our bills and I'm thankful that social media has created opportunities for many of us to continue following our dreams while paying some of those bills. In fact, if you follow me on Twitter, you know that I'm an active promoter of companies and friends' businesses on-line. Sometimes for pay. Sometimes for trade. Sometimes as a favor.
Never with any expectation that followers will feel obligated to purchase anything just because I was nice to them once or twice.
There are some people out there that relate with us. We know they work for a company. Some of them never ask us to do anything. They just hang out and share. When we need an answer to a question, they throw up a link. When we need a laugh, they toss out a great one-liner. The good ones know the right balance of joining the conversation without being all shouty. I'm not so naive that I don't think they are hoping for a return on their interactions, but the good ones aren't... what's the word...
It's hard to explain, but when you get ROR'd, you feel it.
And it doesn't feel good.
Relationships are not currency to be cashed in like chips at a casino at the end of a weekend in Vegas. They are gifts from real people... gifts to be treasured. Comparing a relationship to money only cheapens the relationship, tarnishing any cherished memories, leaving the leveraged soul wondering if there was ever any authenticity in the relationship in the first place.
So let's be friends. Friends with no expectations other than to add to the mosaic of memories. Memories of the good times that we shared without waiting for any return but a smile.