I don’t like networking if it means using someone under the guise of friendship. Sometimes professional contacts do result in genuine friendships and camaraderie. That has happened to me plenty of times. But, I have a problem with feigning interest in someone for my benefit alone. And I have a problem with people doing that to me.
That’s using people.
Could we say that it’s a form of exploitation?
When we do that, we really don’t care about the person. We only care about what we think we can get from him or her. It’s a rapacious relationship. If the person doesn’t serve our purposes, we move along. We discard her.
Or maybe we simply ignore the person because she can do nothing for us. Ignoring her is dehumanizing, too. It can be a way of asserting power and control. It’s demeaning. I am grateful Jesus isn’t that way.
I’ve been discarded. I’ve had people cozy up to me, people I thought were actually interested in friendship. I was glad to befriend them. However, not long after, I discovered they weren’t interested in me per se, but in what they perceived I could do for them. I was a stepping stone to bigger and better. I don’t hear from them anymore. Or if I do, they don’t give me the time of day. They’ve moved on. I see them fawning over others, courting the time and attention of those they deem celebrities–those whose influence they crave. I wonder if those now being courted are on to them or if they’re playing the same game?
It’s a rather dehumanizing experience, really. To sit there knowing that a Christian person does not care one wit about you, or only a few wits about you, and is using you.
It’s wrong. I’ve watched as some have forged “friendships” with only the most influential people in their circles. They sidle up to the movers and shakers because they desire to become a move and shaker. They want to broaden their influence. They flatter others in their bid to obtain a more influential status. I see it and hope to God I don’t do the same thing.
Now, I am not saying it’s wrong to strike up conversations and friendships with people we admire. But there is a fine line between that and using them to get ahead. How do we treat those who “can do nothing” for us? Are we guilty of rapacious relationships?
2 thoughts on “Rapacious Relationships: Using People Because We Crave Their Influence”
Good questions, Marlena. I think networking that is an outgrowth of good working relationships is effective and constructive. But the manufactured kind you write about here is not really going to do any good in the long run because there’s no support to hold it up.
‘Manufactured’ is a good word. No one likes to feel used.