클릭 하나(‘친구 신청’)로 누구나 쉽게 ‘친구’가 되는 페이스북 시대. 그렇게 쉽게 맺은 친구가 범람하면서 어느 순간 ‘네가 왜 내 친구니?’니 하는 의구심이 경우도 있다.
31세에 세계적 경영대학원의 미국 와튼스쿨 최연소 종신교수가 된 애덤 그랜트 교수(34·베스트셀러 ‘기브 앤드 테이크’의 저자)가 개인적으로 정의한 ‘(친구가 범람하는) 페이스북 시대의 진정한 친구의 정의’가 소셜네트워크서비스(SNS)에서 화제라고 한다. 이 얘기를 그의 ‘친구’이자 페이스북 최고운영책임자(COO)인 셰릴 샌드버그가 자신의 페이스북 계정에 올리면서 더욱 널리 퍼져 나갔다.
그랜트 교수는 “한번도 만난 적이 없는 사람이 e메일에 ‘나의 좋은 친구 애덤’이라고 쓰곤 한다. 나는 그런 친구 둔 적이 없다”며 “내가 생각하는 (진정한) 친구의 정의를 소개한다”며 7대 조건을 제시했다. 축약해서 소개하면 아래와 같다.
1)실제로 직접 만난 적이 있어야 하고
2) 구글 검색에 뜨지 않는 서로의 비밀(황당한 경험 등)을 알고 있어야 하고
3) 대화할 시간을 사전에 조율해 잡지 않아도 서로 전화할 수 있고
4) 쓸데 없는 안부나 인사치레 없이 바로 본론으로 들어갈 수 있고
5) 계산하지 않고 도울 수 있고(친구가 필요한 것을 생각하지, 그 친구에게 돌려받을 걸 생각하지 않고)
6)의미 있는 경험을 함께 했고
7) 듣기 싫지만 필요한 조언을 서로 할 수 있는 사이
그랜트 교수는 ‘기브 앤드 테이크’라는 책에서 인간관계의 유형을 1)준 것보다 많이 받으려는 테이커(Taker) 2)준 만큼 받으려는 매처(matcher) 3)받은 것보다 더 많이 주려는 기버(Giver)로 구분해 설명한 뒤 “역설적이게도 기버가 가장 크게 성공한다”고 주장했다.
<애덤 그랜트 교수의 관련 내용 원문>
Wharton professor and author of GIVE AND TAKE
You’re Not My Friend
￼Recently, someone I’ve never met introduced me in an email as “my good friend Adam.”
A few days later, a virtual stranger who has emailed me a few times posted an article by “my friend Adam.”
Then a student from a one-day workshop that I taught listed me as a job reference, and when asked to describe our relationship, wrote “professor and friend.”
After I endorsed a book, a reporter referred to the author as “a friend of Adam’s,” when our interactions have consisted of a series of work emails and one phone call.
I like all of these people, but I wouldn’t describe any of them as my friends—I think that misrepresents how well we know each other and the kind of bond between us.
In the Facebook era, the boundaries on friendship have expanded dramatically.
Someone recently called my brother-in-law a “dear friend” but didn’t bother to attend his wedding. Judging from recent friend requests, my friends apparently include a person who ignored me in grad school, a second cousin’s high school classmate, a colleague’s mentee, a peewee soccer teammate I vaguely remember, and some guy who sat at a table near me at a restaurant once.
If you want to avoid committing the faux pas of describing a colleague or an acquaintance as a friend, here are some rules for when it’s fair game to use the term:
1. You’ve actually met in person
From the caption of a famous New Yorker cartoon: “On the internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.” If you’ve only connected by email or phone, even if they are a real person, there’s no substitute for the trust that can be developed from meeting face-to-face.
2. You know embarrassing things about each other that don’t show up in a Google search
Studies consistently show that self-disclosure—opening up and making yourself vulnerable—is one of the strongest drivers of close relationships. My friends know that I have questionable taste in music, and refrain from dissing Bryan Adams. They accept the fact that I read the first Twilight book, cover to cover (my wife made me do it) and the rest of them (that was my doing).
3. You can call each other without scheduling a conversation
Unless the person in question is a head of state, if you have to get an appointment on someone’s calendar to talk, you haven’t cleared the friendship bar.
4. You never discuss the weather
When you ask a friend “How are you doing?” you don’t have to follow up with “No, really, how are you doing?” Friends don’t bother with small talk. They can go months without talking, and pick up as if they’ve never skipped a beat. They dive right into deep conversations about love, life, and that exasperating conclusion of Lost where nothing was resolved.
5. You help each other without keeping score
In professional relationships, I find that most people follow the norm of reciprocity: when we do someone a favor, we expect an equal one back. In friendships, the norm shifts from reciprocity to generosity. We focus on what our friends need, not what we can get back from them. Instead of keeping tallies of credits and debts, friends give whenever they can. As Jack Handey says, “If you wear a toupee, why not let your friends try it on for a while? Come on, we’re not going to hurt it.”
6. You’ve had meaningful experiences together
Men and women alike expect friendships to involve mutual activities and shared memories. If you’ve never gone to a movie or shopping together, played a sport or game together, attended a party together, or decorated someone’s car with shaving cream together, you’re probably not friends.
7. You give the critical feedback that we don’t want to hear, but need to hear
Friendships have what the organizational scholars Jane Dutton and Emily Heaphy call tensility—the carrying capacity to withstand criticism and bounce back from strain. “We wouldn’t want to assume that compassion is always gentle,” George Saunders observes. “A harsh truth can be compassionate… if a friend is wearing something ridiculous, you can say, ‘You look like an idiot,’ and maybe that will save him.”
If you’re reading this post on LinkedIn, you’re probably not my friend. Because if you were my friend, you would know better than to read my content.
Adam is the Wharton Class of 1965 Professor of Management and Psychology, and the bestselling author of Give and Take. Sign up for his free newsletter at www.giveandtake.com