How to know if someone is worth your time.

Why is it that people get along or don t?


Well, well, well... the human condition. Much to like and equally otherwise.

The basics: Homo sapiens sapiens are social beings because it's more efficient to cooperate, share and help each other out to meet our individual wants and needs.

Wants: "Which would you prefer: soup or salad?"  "Salad, and I'd like a cool, polyglot, billionaire supermodel wife on the side, hold the onion."  Keep dreaming, in both senses.

Needs: What is most important.  The things we can't live without indefinitely: air, water, food, sleep, shelter, safety, money, exercise, socializing, sex, love, etc.

Imagine if everyone had to own their own oil rig, supertanker, pipeline, oil refinery, gas station and finally, car in order to drive. Wasteful use of capital isnt it? So why do we all need our own DSL and wireless internet? Do we need a carpet shampooer to use once every three months? Probably not.  And, one of the neighbors propbably has one. And you probably have that circular saw they'll need next week. Also, split the internet bill with the neighbors  Simple, eh?  It all evens out.  If you break something of someone else's, fix it, etc. That's how to keep trust and reputation.  Common-sense.  That's the point, it's all kindergarten stuff. Real interdependency forces us to be social, yet somehow to talk about socializing as having an art or science of relationships is taboo because it would break the mystery or be malevolent.  Oooh!

Next up, If the answers are  "yes" to most of the following, it has the potential to be a healthy relationship.  Most successful people try their best, and most people want to be successful for obvious reasons.

  1. Can the two of you communicate? (sign language and pictures work in every country!)
  2. Do you trust this person? Are their actions consistent?
  3. Does this person help you in some way, even social/emotionally? Might their social network help yours?
  4. Do you share similar interests? (Virtually certain. Keep digging!)
  5. Can you accomidate each other's faults and differences?
  6. Does this person not engage in criticism, contempt, stonewalling, defensiveness or schadenfreude towards you or others?
  7. Does this person respect your space, time, etc.?
  8. Does this person have a more-or-less clear purpose?
  9. Does this person have a clearly-defined moral framework?
  10. Does this person genuinely care about others?
  11. Does this person show remorse?
  12. Does this person contact you? Do you contact them?
  13. Can this person help and be helped?
  14. Can this person appologize? Can you?
  15. Does this person hold themselves to similar standards as other people?
  16. Will this person stand up for themselves and others, what is right?
  17. What do your instincts say?

 Some classes of "friends":

A. "Networking" buddy (basically everyone):

  • Might lead to a job interview, work engagement or reference.

B. "Social" buddy (almost everyone):

  • Networking buddy plus.
  • Someone with similar interests.

C. "Neighbor" (almost everyone around you where you dwell)

  • Borrow and return stuff.
  • Watch out for each other.
  • Entertainment optional.

D. True friends (very rare):

  • Social buddy plus.
  • Trust with your life.
  • If you were broke, they'd still be around.
  • Tells you how it is.

E. "Enemy" (even rarer, people are rarely only "bad")

  • find out why, because it's probably not rational.

Also, don't keep score or expect immediate results. Put yourself out there first.  No risk = no reward. When others figure out that this is a better way to do things, they'll follow your lead and return it. Think of it like the "social karma" effect. Smile, give people what they want and be on your way.  Leave the ones who ask about salary first.  "Uhhh, work. *sigh*"  Darn right!  Be a true friend first, so you shall be treated.

Recommended Reading:

  1. "Ethics" by Aristole, Book 8
  2. "How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie
  3. "Conversationally Speaking" by Alan Garner