How Real People Build Real Relationships

By May 16, 2011 culture No Comments

At Beach Retreat 2011, I read a book called TrueFaced. The authors call us to live a true-faced life in your personal relationships by presenting your true self to others. As you are honest about who you and what you are struggling through, others feel free to do likewise and a true relationship begins.

Easier said than done. (I’ve been pondering the application for myself all week!)

It seems when I am chewing on ideas such as these, I begin to see traces in other places . . . popping up seemingly from nowhere like spring dandelions. True-faced concepts were many in this week’s High Calling Blogs book club reading (chapters 3 and 4) of Guy Kawasaki’s Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions.

Like the authors of TrueFaced, Kawasaki also encourages us to be upfront and real when it comes to relationships. It matters not that these relationships are business based, because people are still meeting with people.

Sometimes in business we feel guilty that we have something that will meet the customer’s need while also providing success for our own business. But isn’t that why every business exists? It’s not a mystery why businesses build relationships with customers. It’s mutually beneficial, and that’s good.

The problem arises when you mask your intentions, pretending that your business’s success is of no concern. This causes trust to falter.

“Most people won’t care that you are an interested or conflicted party as long as you disclose the relationship. We all need to make a living. Damage . . . occurs if people believe that you don’t have any financial interests and find out later that you do.”1

To be true-faced is the same for all relationships, both personal and business: It is trusting others with your true self (all your needs, wants, interests, and motives) which then establishes a basis for others to do likewise. I trust you; you trust me. I trust you more; you trust me again.

Some business models encourage people to present a false face to the customer in order to win them over. To that, I can’t help but think of this stanza2 from poet Sir Walter Scott:

Oh what a tangled web we weave,
When first we practise to deceive!

Deception may work short-term, but long-term, it is difficult to keep up appearances. Eventually, the façade will fail.

Relationships are work, whether you are being honest or deceitful. Both TrueFaced and Enchantment encourage us to work toward building honest relationships that will produce positive dividends.

The reality is, once you start to build an alter ego, it is difficult to stop the construction process. Then you are stuck being something other than yourself. And there’s nothing enchanting about that.

Read other Enchantment posts from this week here.

1. Guy Kawasaki, Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions (New York, NY: Penguin Group, 2011), 30.
2. Sir Walter Scott, Marmion,1808.

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