Rereading Trust Agents last week, I was struck by the section on The Power of Taking the First Action. I always hesitate. I think twice before acting. Doing this keeps me from responding genuinely and quickly. By the time I decide to act, all the immediacy is gone and my natural response appears controlled and planned. It is like that when I have the impulse to connect with someone whether on the Web or in person. I resist the situation where I might owe something to anyone. I also avoid situations where someone may owe me. It is a formula for isolation. What should I be doing?
“The first action, or favor, in an exchange becomes a precedent that people remember. Say you are out for dinner one night and a colleague foots the tab for the whole table. What happens next? We remember the person, and we make plans to return the favor. Though it may not be dinner. The favor will be returned. We know it because that’s what people do with their friends, and that’s what online communities are: friends.
This may be difficult to understand at first. How can you consider yourself friends with people you’ve only met once or twice, or not at all? They are not real friends….or are they? The definition of friend as it is used in this context may be different from how we view our childhood friends … but friends are, nontheless, what these people are.