Tim Ferris, author of The 4-Hour Work Week, has a new post on his blog titled "How to Test Drive Friends and Irritate People". The premise is that very often we invest our time and efforts into people only to later discover that they are not of good character. He states:
"What if it were possible to fast-forward relationships, whether with new friends, business partners, or romances? To get past the honeymoon facade of niceties and see their true tendencies underneath all it all?"
He then suggests that we put people into planned situations where they might get irritated to see how they react. Thus, if they bark at waiters who deliver poor service or snap when you change plans on them at the last minute that you can remove them from your life sooner rather than later...thus saving yourself the investment of time getting to know them better.
Whoa. Wait a second.
While I agree that time does reveal the true character of people and that some folks do put on a facade in the early stages of a relationship, his plan to trick people in to showing their true colors is just wrong. It is not right. Even if I have to work more than four hours a week, I don't want to plan for manipulation of other people in this manner.
People are not your own personal science experiment. They are not rats in a lab that you get to toy with see how they react. The things he is suggesting are just as one sided and awful as what the liars, cheats and frauds are doing to you by presenting a false image.
I think too many people look at new relationships and think “How will this relationship benefit ME!”. Tim's suggested “tests” of how people react are one sided. It says “let ME make sure that they will be a good friend to ME and be worth MY time and investment in this relationship so that I can save MY time if they are not a fit”.
It just leaves me feeling icky to think that folks would be “testing” each other in a manipulative fashion to decide if the other person is “worth” it. Anyone who discovers they were tested in such a manner should walk away from the tester.
Giving people the benefit of the doubt (that they are good at heart) does take time and many folks will let you down in life. But one cannot make every personal decision based on how it effects their own experience…or by conducting a cost benefit analysis of every friendship. That is awfully selfish.
I have found that MOST people are good and just. Therefore you can approach your new relationships with an honest and open heart. When those come along who hurt or trick you, that is just a lesson. This does not mean you should not have your eyes open and watch out for yourself (of course you should always be aware of your surroundings), but do not let the bad guys get you down or make you cynical and guarded toward everyone else who comes into your life.
While time is precious, do not let the saving of time cause you to shut others out or resort to having a litmus test to be your friend. People are not like cars, you do not get to take them on a test drive.
I admire Tim Ferris and would hope to meet him one day...as he seems very intelligent and interesting. I am now just scared that if we ever did get to have a beer together that I would be being tested as to see if I am worthy of his attention. If he reads this, maybe he would never meet me for a beer anyway, or maybe he would. Maybe I am testing him right now! (No, I am not!!!!)
Have A Great Day.