Aug 2, 2010

Power dynamics and hidden agendas in friendships - ARTICLE

Very often, when you check your friendships, you will notice a gap or lack of connection in many ways.


Because of conflicting interests + competitive attitudes.

The thing is that it takes focus and time to nurture friendships and profound synchronized connections.

When these connections happen within an organization, like with work, sports or politics, there are often hidden agendas + competitive strategic behaviors that take over human connections.

This means that friends can be connected to a certain point but then, there are all the unspoken strategic behaviors, the thoughts and emotions that represent the power dynamics between individuals.

I already covered these dynamics extensively in couples and just start realizing that in friendships and social circles, the same type of power dynamics take place.

This means that people are rarely totally honest with each other and will strategize the way they communicate.

What's the conclusion to that?

That you do have realities that can be totally clear where perfect synergy is felt.

It can happen in nature, within a family or at a social event.

But as soon as you dig into it, you will see as well, other aspects of that reality appearing.

These other aspects are not about love!

They are about power and division of power amongst a group.

So, that's clear!

What now?

Let's check some examples:

You go to church one day in a new community and one of the community leaders comes to you speaking very kindly and nicely.

You have two possible interpretations for that kind behavior:

  • He likes you, genuinely cares for other human beings and is interested in really knowing you.
  • His behavior is strategic. His hidden agenda is to get more people to come to his church and to achieve that he uses his social skills. I know that it's a bit harsh to say it that way but somehow, he is a bit of a sales person, right?

In most cases, I believe that these two interpretations merge.

His behavior is the result of a combination of these two impulsions: the desire to get more people to come his church + genuine care for other human beings.

So, what's the point of all that?

That in friendships, the same type of double agendas can often be seen.

Here are more examples:

  • Someone who you feel is a good friend of yours could have a secret crush on your girlfriend. The reason he spends time with you comes from a desire to actually spend more time with her.
  • Your new neighbor is very friendly and interested in your life but gossips behind your back about the stories you told him.
  • An old school friend reconnects with you not because he wants to see you but because he hopes to get a job in your company.
  • You are a guy and a close female friend has in fact a secret crush on you.
  • Etc.

You see? Hidden agendas.

The real motivator in people in you social circle could be VERY different than what you think.

To be followed...