Thursday, July 19, 2007

China friend finder?

Back in the day 'how to win friends and influence people' was a breakthrough bestseller. A great book. I read it: you should read it too. 'Winning friends' as an art. Or at least as a technique. BUT a sincere one. Not as a gimmick or trick.

Fast forward a few decades, and you discover the teachings of Dale Carnegie still make a lot of sense. One big difference though is that the term 'friend' is not what it used to be. And I'm to blame for that too. Why? Because I like to meet interesting China oriented business men and women, or other sorts of China entrepreneurs, I have this Twitter account ( And I like to meet people. Or see what it is they are up to. But whenever I want to stay updated on somebody's thoughts on China or their whereabouts in China, and I click 'Add', they all of the sudden are 'friends'.

Don't get me wrong. I love having friends. As many as possible. Probably that is why I actually do have some friends. Five or six. Real friends that is. Mainly Dutch, not Chinese (yet?). On Twitter though it takes me 1 second to make friends with a joint China focus. I have 'won' 70 friends in one week. Forget Dale Carnegie! This is way easier.

My concern? I suspect my China Twitter friends aren't real friends. They are real people though. And some of them are Chinese. But friends? Actually I hope they aren't, because I would hate to let all of them down by not attending their birthday parties, weddings, funerals, baby showers, etc. And to reverse that: I'm pretty sure they are not waiting for me to show up on these events either. Neither here, or in China.

I can only hope we stay friends for as long as we mutually benefit from our Twitter friendship, and stick to what it was that made us friends in the first place. And if any of my China Twitter 'contacts', 'links', 'connections', really wants to become real friends, I really do look forward to that. And I promise, I will visit you – at least once a year – in China! Deal?


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