You meet people everywhere, you interact with them and yet – do you really know them? Could you, if asked, differentiate their skills?
You know that moment when someone asks you for a professional recommendation and you say – ‘Oh, I know a person who would be perfect for the job!’ while you think of your best friend? Well, you just recommended the person, the friend, for a job you don’t know what skills requires.
Unfortunately, people are not the same in social life as well as in the professional life. Be very aware the next time you endorse someone.
My thought on this, after seeing and experiencing this type of imbalance between their two (or more) sides – I’ve met people so in love with their work and passion that they didn’t know how to relate to people next to them. They are the professionals and I would mention them to anyone in need of a certain thing their field covers. Still, I wouldn’t recommend them as a friend or as someone you can count on – social skills needed here.
Not ashamed of what I am about to say, I fell in love at some point in my life with a professional. And that was all he was, that is all I remember of him. I remember that when I met him, I was impressed by his confidence, by the control that he had over the public he was speaking to. I met him on his playground and I was a sure catch, given the fact that that’s all he was – a professional. But I started liking him even more when I saw the passion in his eyes when he talked about his work. After some time, we started getting closer and closer. We tried a relationship, we spent weekends together. All he knew was work. Our weekends were spent in his large living room, each one of us on his sofa and on our laptops. He always had some work to do – ‘I have to read the latest news and stay up to date’, ‘I need to send a proposal to this client’ etc. When I managed to get him out of his laptop (rare times) and tried to communicate with him, to exchange opinions and experiences, that was the moment when I realized he was only a professional. He couldn’t handle a human interaction. He wasn’t a human.
Another moment when you have to know the difference is the exact opposite. You have a friend who’s always there, no matter what. Well, guess what, if he is always there, even if you call him at noon when he’s working, he might not be a professional, so don’t recommend him in that field. There are people who are defined by just one thing and you can’t do anything about it. Just know what they are good at and don’t make them anything more than they are. It’s just like that. A friend who would rather stay out at night and have another beer with the gang even though he might work early in the morning is just a friend and not someone you should take into consideration for a professional recommendation.
I want to go even further than what I already said now and state a difference that I learned from my personal experience. Let’s be clear that some people might be great friends and just that, so don’t turn then into a significant other. A few years ago, I had a friend who was always there. Always there to help me with whatever I needed, whenever I needed it. He was so supportive I couldn’t believe it. Over time, we got really close and started forming a couple. Bad idea – really! Because now, I did have a helpful boyfriend. He knew that I loved that part of him and that I would support him on helping others, so he started helping more the others than me. So, we were at this BBQ thing with all his friends and he was the one who would take care of the BBQ and the one who would make the salad and the one who would take pictures, so that all our friends would stay in couples and the girls wouldn’t feel lonely there without their boyfriends. The only problem was, while he was doing everything for the others, I was the only one who was alone there, without her boyfriend. And it wasn’t even his house where we had the BBQ. When I talked to him about what bothered me, he told me that was the way he was and that was the way I liked him to be. Well, needless to say what happened next. I came to realize that he was a great friend and a helpful one, on whom I can count on, but he was a terrible boyfriend. So after some time we got back to being friends again. And friends only.
My point is – get to know people, love them, but for you and for the sake of others, also know their limits. Appreciate them for who they are and just know what they won’t ever be. Don’t make them more than they are and don’t lay your expectations on them.