In our western world we are inundated with marketing madness. We are constantly being pitched to, through advertising, media, religion and yikes often even by our friends. As many more people it seems are seeking alternative income sources and trying out their entrepreneurial skills, marketing seems to becoming part of our everyday culture. As a result for many whom choose self-employment the marketing switch is always set to on. So what impact does this have on our interpersonal relationships? How do we authentically wear that hat when business contacts blur into friends and vice versa. There is a subliminal message within our society that suggests we always need to be working, never let an opportunity go by and always have a business card handy. Parties are no longer only social gathering but social networking opportunities and as Facebook demonstrates friends and contacts become one and the same.
To be clear there is nothing wrong with people coming together and making business connections but the question I ask is how can we do that in a clear and ethical way so that everyone clearly is on the same page. To prevent blurred lines between friendship and business we are required to take an honest look at our motives and learn to be mindful of boundaries between work and play so that ethically we are not abusing the trust of friendship to meet a private agenda.
Collectively it seems to be agreed upon that this marketing madness is all ok but what it really calls into question is trust and how can we trust our friends and ourselves if there is an underlying agenda? There was a time when etiquette stated not to mix business with pleasure but that is clearly not the case in today’s world. Today I believe we are being called upon to rely more on our own common sense and internal morals and ethics. Trust for me has been essential in navigating business, developing a trust relationship with my clients and expecting the same from the businesses that I deal with. Trust in a product and trust in the person delivering that product. If I feel that a pitch is intended to manipulate me from the get go I must question whether the product or the person delivering the product pitch is authentic. In order to be authentic pitchers we must be clear of our own intentions and respectful of another’s boundaries, as we would hope they would be of our own. Healthy boundaries are in place not to create divisions but to protect our relationships, keep them authentic and mutually respectful. This respect ripples out and touches all areas of our lives, how we conduct ourselves, how we walk in a good way with dignity and how we are accountable for the impact our actions have on the world we live in. So if you choose to have friends in business and business with friends treat them as you would be treated and be open, honest and direct regarding your intentions. On that note let me duly note if you’re inviting me out for coffee please let it be about coffee unless otherwise stated, cuz with me honesty is always the best policy.