As you faithful readers know by now, starting this blog represented a bit of a mountain for me to climb. As you also know, as a StrengthsFinder coach, I have a good handle on identifying people’s natural aptitudes and talents. If you’ll remember StrengthsFinder measures 34 “talent themes.” These themes are all summed up in one word, and ranked from 1 to 34—with the first in line representing your most dominant talent and #34, you guessed it, the least dominant, albeit still an innate talent.
To anyone who knows me, it probably doesn’t come as a shock that my third most prominent trait is the “Relator” theme. A “Relator” is described as someone who is pulled toward people we already know. As a Relator, I “derive a great deal of pleasure and strength from being around [my] close friends” and, once I’ve connected with someone, I “deliberately encourage a deepening of the relationship.” As such, I don’t shy away from intimacy or close, lasting relationships.
On the other end of the spectrum, my bottom-ranking talent theme is that of the “Includer.” In direct contrast with the “Relator,” Includers like to stretch their circle wider. As the name suggests, Includers want to make everyone feel like they’re a part of the group, and they want to “expand the group so that as many people as possible can benefit from its support.”
Think of it this way: Unlike a Relator, drawn to connect deeply with the six people at their table at a party, Includers may flit around from person-to-person, engaging in some sort of contact or conversation with all 30-some attendees, wanting everyone to feel dynamically involved in the event.
Now, what of these two talent themes sounds most like the type of relationships fostered by social media? Chances are, you’ll say “Includer.” That’s not to say you can’t develop a quality connection online. It is absolutely possible. But social media contacts tend to be relatively anonymous and interaction is fairly episodic in nature.
I think that’s “why” I’ve been so challenged by social media. As a Relator, I thrive off of close, personal relationships, which seems to fly in the face of the type of relationships and communication fostered by social media. I am uncomfortable with anonymity. It feels awkward and disengenuine.
I’m not the most patient of people (Activator #1), so having a blog has forced me to invest the time, perhaps, additional time, required to develop more authentic relationships online. It has also challenged my assumptions of how to develop quality connections.
I am embracing the journey. And enjoying the new connections and dialogue that social media facilitates. Like anything worth having, it doesn’t necessarily always come easy.
Let me know if there is any way I can help you, or any way you can get additional value out of my blog. And, if you ever want to *gasp* TALK, let me know. It just so happens to be a passion of mine.
What else would you expect from a Relator?