Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Power of the Acquaintance

“Hey girl (common term for all: works great when name is forgotten), how are you?!”
“I’m great, girl, it’s been so long!”
“I know, let’s catch up soon girl!”
“For sure, I’ll see you later girl!”
“Bye, girl!”
[Repeat when another run-in occurs]

And there it is. The acquaintance relationship. Good for feeling like you have more friends than you do. Also works in situations where you find yourself around no one you recognize. The acquaintance then can be bumped up to temporary friend status.
We all have acquaintances. These can also be called “hey friends.” Will we be catching up soon? Nope. In the situation of catching up, would there in reality be anything to be caught up on? Maybe not, but it would be nice to think so. I have 1567 Facebook friends. To say I know them personally (or even by name), would be ridiculous; however for the most part, we have been acquaintances  at one point or another.
So where is the power in the acquaintance? People only have the capacity to maintain so many personal relationships, so inherently, most relationships in the walk of life will inevitably be kept at the surface level. It would be impossible to be an actual friend to 1567 people.
“Connections are everything,” said Professor John Cunningham in one of my classes last spring. “It’s not what you know, but who you know. It’s not the grades you make, but the hands you shake.”
He is full of them, but the clichés offer a priceless lesson. In our world, education, excellence, and involvement are becoming the societal norm. I’ve been through so many “make your resume stand out!” lectures. And when it comes down to getting an interview, or really getting anything you may want, connections are oh so valuable. An acquaintance is a connection. It is an inlet to resources. It can be the start of a grand friendship or an important business tie. A way to score a meeting with a future employer. A way to gain knowledge and more networking opportunities.
Connections are everything. The power lies in all the acquaintances that you find yourself wanting to “catch up” with throughout your day.

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