Building Relationships Through Social Media

Building Relationships Through Social Media

Hello everyone,

I’m excited that Summer Leadership conventions are approaching and I hope to see you all there!  I invited a great friend of mine to guest blog and he wrote an awesome post that I would like to share with you.  Phil Wall is happily married to his wife Catherine and is a proud father to his 2 year-old daughter, Manaia. Phil is originally a Kiwi but has recently become a full-blown Beaver; he hasn’t warmed up to the game of Hockey yet but that’s about the only thing I don’t like about him!

Enjoy,  Claude

Relationship Inflation 

by Phil Wall

I was reading a few articles this week about social media and the thin relationships that often develop in the social media arena.

Social media has touched us all in some capacity, and in many cases has lead to something called “relationship inflation”, where people develop many more click-click relationships but are they really worth anything of value? So what is the true value of a social media relationship (one that was not born from a real, face-to-face relationship)?

It’s funny to me when I hear a conversation between two FB junkies – “I have 300 friends on Facebook … Really? Why so few? I have 678.” and on and on.  How can someone possibly have 678 real friends? It’s not possible if you think about what makes a real friend.

Orrin Woodward, in his book Resolved – 13 Resolutions for LIFE, includes a chapter about friendship (chapter 7). He lists the 8 principles of true friendship:

  1. True friends form around a shared insight, interest, or taste enjoying the common bond uniting them.
  2. True friends accept one another, loving each other despite their human imperfections.
  3. True friends approve of one another, protecting each other’s weaknesses while enhancing each other’s strengths.
  4. True friends appreciate one another, encouraging, serving, and believing in one another’s gifts and talents.
  5. True friends listen with empathy, learning the hopes, dreams, fears, and struggles of each other.
  6. True friends celebrate one another’s success, proud of each other’s accomplishments without a hint of envy.
  7. True friends are trustworthy, maintaining all confidences shared with unimpeachable honor and self-respect, knowing that gossip separates the best of friends.
  8. True friends are loyal, respecting and defending one another’s character, reputation and motives, as far as truth allows, while addressing any issues or concerns between them promptly and privately, ensuring misunderstandings never fester.

I admit I have accounts with FB, LinkedIn, and Twitter. But I don’t have them to build relationships – building relationships takes more than social media.  It takes work.  My friend, Claude Hamilton, a co-founder of the LIFE business once said to me, “Phil, all the skills and one-liners you used to get Catherine to date you is not what got Catherine to accept your marriage proposal (so true – it was my devilish good looks, charm and the rubber boots I wore!).  And what it takes to get married is certainly not what it takes to stay married.”  It’s a totally different game.  Just like getting to be the champion is different than staying the champ.

Facebook and social media “relationships” are weak and have little value – having 978 friends on social media is unlikely to yield meaningful long-lasting relationships.  Think about the relationship you have with your spouse and the time spent with him/her to develop a long-lasting relationship based on trust.  Conversely, you can create “relationships” with people around the world via social media in the matter of a few clicks. These are low-quality connections that develop into nothing more than thin, surface-level relationships.

True relationships are a two-way street. I invest in you – you invest in me. For example, if I didn’t invest in my wife or daughter, eventually we would have a thin relationship of little value.  Same as social media – there’s no investment, so there’s no value.

People invest copious amounts of time playing Farmville or other social media entertainment with “their communities”.  This is what is called an investment in low quality content.  Like a low-end vehicle fixed with low-end parts, communities built solely through social media won’t last long, have value or go very far.

I believe through creating stronger, more meaningful relationships we will be better.  This can only be done by reprogramming how we think.  Getting the right information from people who have personally developed trusting long-lasting relationships – and helped others do the same – is key.

Some my good friends have become champions – and remain champions – at building REAL relationships with REAL people in their REAL communities. Check out their blogs! Orrin Woodward, Claude Hamilton, Alex Nickerson, Wayne MacNamara, Joce Dionne, Denis Leger, Mike Rocheleau

62 thoughts on “Building Relationships Through Social Media

  1. I’m not that much of a online reader to be honest but your blogs really nice,
    keep it up! I’ll go ahead and bookmark your website to come back later. All the best

  2. Great writing! I love how you make a point, then ask a question! Fantastic! Thanks for sharing!

  3. I believe that we are ‘relational’ beings – and that the cultural ‘norm’ of instant gratification (such as clicking a button to have someone become a friend) hurt us and people seem to be more isolated and lonely than ever before.
    I was recently with a group of people who were…. Well, a little more experienced … aka older … and aside from the physical differences, they also seemed to be happier. In observing them, I realized that they were openly smiling at ‘strangers’, striking up conversations and overall just being friendly. This friendliness was then being returned to them by those they approached.
    Conversely, I happened to have been talking with some old acquaintances from a previous employer. A good description of the overall demeanor would be ‘crusty’. Long hours on the job left them little or no time for friends or activities outside of their immediate family (their words), and an overall feeling of loneliness.
    1 group understood that they had a choice and they chose to pursue friendly associations and companionship, the other group had bought the concept that their circumstances and resulting associations were generally by chance.
    I think we can learn a lot from our elders, particularly around the concept of friendships and the power of positive associations. Great article, thanks for sharing.

  4. Great article! I although I have never really termed my friends on Facebook as friends, and only acquaintances, I find the concept of thinking through terms of inflation very interesting – and very true.

    The only Facebook friends I truly value are those that I hang out with in real life. The rest of them don’t fit the 8 principles at all. You won’t find out who my real friends by looking at my Facebook account – real friends don’t communicate that way – we do so in a personal way.

  5. Great post Phil, Kevin and I have made so many real friends from the life business, and we in turn have learned from the information on friendship how to be a REAL FRIEND! Thanks Claude for sharing your friend with all of us.

  6. The 8 rules/needs of friendship mentioned from Orrin’s book “Resolved 13 Resolutions for LIFE” are a checklist to determining the longevity of any friendship!!! That thought is incredible! That us a play-by-play to help anyone create long term, genuine, relationships.Chris Brady in his cd “The Checkpoint Race” says step one is to make a friend. If you want to learn to matter that step in the checkpoint race read Orrin’s chapter on friendship in his Resolved book.

  7. This was such a truthful posting that really hit home to us. This week marked our 2nd month in the Kaizen Community, where we have started to develop true friends. Moreso the information shared through LIFE has also helped us start to reconnect with some great friends from the past, that had somehow fell to the way-side, perhaps because we were too “busy” spending 5 to 6 hours a day on FB or watching TV.

    Thank you to everyone that has helped us so far and we certainly look forward to meeting many more new friends at next months Major.

  8. Thanks for sharing this Claude. Phil, this is a great post on true friendships vs. the social media world today, loved it!

  9. “What it takes to get married is certainly not what it takes to stay married.” WOW if that aint the truth i don’t know what is!! That explains the divorce rate and why it is such a high percentage. Maybe people need better information on marriage.


  10. Phil – great info. I especially appreciate the following…”True relationships are a two-way street. I invest in you – you invest in me”. In my life I have seen both sides when someone invests alot in someone’s life and when there is little investment. The more time that is invested in a relationship it grows the tight bonds. When time investment is low or not at all present. That relationship will struggle to create the tight bonds and common interest.

    I too cannot wait for SLC. Thanks.

  11. Life’s most precious gifts are true friends and I have discovered so many through this business. Great post on what friendship is all about guys!! Thanks for sharing :)

  12. “I invest in you – you invest in me…there’s no investment, so there’s no value.” I like that. Great post!

  13. Phil, great post. You’re correct, it’s difficult to call most of my social media relationships true friends. After reading the chapter in Resolved on Friendship I realized that many people I thought of as friends are mere acquaintances and realized that I was not putting enough of myself into building those relationships. The realizations I’m coming to through the LIFE materials have been amazing and have refocused my efforts to become better. Building lasting relationships takes more than casually responding to peoples posts. The time and effort put in really make all the difference in building a strong friendship. The friendships I’m building through the LIFE community have been the strongest ones I’ve ever had as we are all working to help each other grow. Thanks for taking the time to write this up, and thanks to Claude for sharing.

  14. So true! Great veiw on true friendships and what they “should” mean and be. Well said Phil! Thanks for sharing w/ us Claude!

  15. Very interesting Phil! In a high tech/low touch social media environment, people can be linked together electronically, but isolated socially. You are absolutely right that friendships take effort and that can produce some of the fullest richest life experiences. That is true success.

    I appreciate all the true friendships that I have made since we began associating with people like Claude & Lana and Wayne & Raylene. The friends that we have made are indeed the kind of people who will pick you up when the car breaks down at 2am or sit with you in Emergency waiting to see a doctor.

    Thanks for sharing Phil! You’re truly a man of character.

  16. Excellent post and so true. I have friends that literally have thousands of friends on Facebook. Thanks for the post.

  17. Great stuff Phil, and thanks Claude.
    I agree with Phil that relationships need to be built upon. I heard Claude say last night as he delivered a success talk, that the things you did to convince your wife to marry you, won’t be the things you do to convince your wife to stay married to you.

  18. Phil,
    I look forward to building strong relationships with our growing families. Thanks for being a man of character. You are truly a role model for all the young men out there. I am so blessed to have met you and your family.

    Thanks for sharing Claude!! I look forward to reading lots more from you.

  19. Very much spot on, Phil – thank you for taking the time to put together this blog & thank you to Claude for giving you the guest blogger spotlight :)
    While I am extremely active in social media & in the blogosphere, I know that when the rubber hits the road, it is my friends IRL (in real life), especially those in Kaizen, who will be there for me, as opposed to those followers / friends online who may not be. God Bless from the Oh-iO.

  20. It is so true! Some relationships in my Facebook are superficial, people I only met through this media, but most are of my family and friends that are all over the world and I haven’t seen them in over 25 years and Facebook has facilitated keeping in touch with them, getting to see their children’s pictures and celebrate with them, even from a distance. There is a bridging of a huge gap when we connect through Facebook. But never the less, I agree with you that even this contact is very superficial and will never replace the personal bonding that needs to happen in relationships even with family. I have found that even family UNFRIENDS you if you don’t agree completely with them, it becomes an easy way to discard people. People should be appreciated not discarded, but is becoming a trend and people are desensitized and discard people with out the least remorse, just like people are desensitized to violence by engaging in violent video games!

  21. Strong friendships are part of the foundation of Life. People to share your joy and sorrow – highs and lows. Having a strong community of friends and fellowship is key to our personal growth and well being! You cannot possibly gain that through a computer screen. I want to be able to hug my friends in times of celebration and consolation. Technology can’t do that! Thanks Phil for putting it all into perspective and thank you Claude for sharing Phil’s wisdom!!!

  22. Some great points made here.

    I love the phrase ‘relationship inflation’ as it captures the essence of our instant gratification society so well. I also love the fact that there are so many people who are becoming champions at connecting with others in meaningful ways through principles that are taught and shared via TEAM and LIFE. This seems to be contrary to what 95% of the population is doing (unfortunately).

    Great article, thanks for sharing.

    • Nice to meet you in person at this past Wednesday’s Open in St Catharines. It was inspiring and certainly not something that we could have experienced over FB!

  23. Summer Leadership can’t get here fast enough! :)
    Phil, phenomenal job on the blog! Can’t wait to start reading yours! :)
    My favorite quote on friendship is “If you want to know the measure of a man, you simply count his friends”, (not his FB friends!). And as you said, you invest in me, I invest in you…and that is what makes true friendship works! I am always amazed at the quantity and quality of the friendships within team Kaizen, but when we have leaders of the quality we have here in Halifax, it shouldn’t surprise me!

  24. I vote for building REAL relationships with REAL people in their REAL communities!!! Quality friendships….
    Thanks for sharing… :)

  25. Awesome stuff Claude! And thanks Phil! It’s true that a relationship is to be worked on consistently and constantly. Just got back from a meeting with Claude and Lana doing a success talk and an open and I wrote down what Claude said…what you did to convince your wife to marry you, can’t be the same thing you do to convince your wife to stay married with you.
    Like Phil said, relationships need to be “built” upon.

  26. Really, Phil, it was your accent – not the rubber boots – that got me! Great article! Thanks Claude for sharing it with us.

  27. @ Claude, can’t wait to see you at this summer’s major. Got a preview of some of what you’ll be discussing at tonight’s open in Moncton and I must say it was very well done. My teenage boy sincerely thought it was awesome, and I got to impress one of my oldest and dearest friends with your advice and point of view.

    @ Phil, well said. Meanwhile, anytime I ever get to spend time with a Teammate or at any kind of Team function, the feeling is “good”, right to the heart. The handshakes and hugs mean something, the smiles are sincere and the talk is real. You do get some of that from some social media, but you don’t wind up wind up feeling anywhere the same way after shutting down Facebook, compared to leaving an open

    Cheers (=^_^=)

  28. So well said Phil! Way too many people spend way too much time on the computer to the detriment of their families and themselves. I am so happy to be part of a community with a desire to connect face to face with each other, who want to bring back basic values and morals and are actually doing something about it rather than just talking about it. I am proud to be part of a team who put service to God and family and others ahead of themselves.

    I thank God for the changes He is making in me through the awesome mentors and materials that are Team and LIFE!!!!!

  29. WOW Phil!! I look forward to continuing to create strong long lasting friendships between our families! Thank you for displaying character and always being a MAN of your word! I am honored to know you!
    Thank you Claude, for sharing your friend with us!

  30. Friendship is fast becoming a lost art. As more people abandon breathing people for the ease of “friending” and “unfriending” FB avatars, there are fewer people who have the ability demonstrate friendship. You cannot give someone something you don’t have. Claude, you know if you take the hard way your life will get easier, but if you take the easy way your life will get harder. How many FB friends will find you broke down in a lonely spot at three a.m.? Work at real friendship and you will never wonder about the answer.

  31. Excellent post Phil! I couldn’t agree more. Nothing replaces the shared experiences and deep bonds created with true friends. In this arena I’ll take quality over quantity every time!

  32. Well said Phil! It’s sad because some people don’t know what it’s like to have a real friend – Thankfully LIFE is changing that!


  33. Thanks for sharing Claude! It’s a great reminder of the value of developing true friends instead of just clicking a button…

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