In the last post, I mentioned that I would never use this tool. I figured I should probably explain why as I do think for most teams this is a wonderful tool in general.
What is it…
Fast Friends Protocol is a technique to build closeness by asking and answering a series of questions. One way to overcome these barriers to closeness is by engaging in “reciprocal self-disclosure”—that is, to reveal increasingly personal information about yourself to another person, as they do the same to you. Research suggests that spending just 45 minutes engaging in self-disclosure with a stranger can dramatically increase feelings of closeness between you.
Now as the social extrovert that I am – people assume this would be right up my lane. They are completely wrong. Let me demonstrate what happens in my mind…
1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?
(Do I start this right off with the honest answer? My son, Connor. What I wouldn’t give to have a dinner/discussion with Connor. Ok, I’ll just give a safe answer: Michelle Obama)
2. Would you like to be famous? In what way?
(I do not have an urge to be famous. Well, unless, this would help me share the lessons/stories of infertility and pregnancy loss. Everyone else is giving good answers. Ok, I’ll just say: No)
3. Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?
(Woot. One I can answer. Yes. If it’s an emotional call, I practice what I want to share and being able to articulate my involvement and investment in finding a solution).
4. What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?
(Great. Back to my problem from the first question. Do I now give the honest answer? Being with all three of my children. This is meant to be fun and engaging. Pretty sure bringing up my dead son is going to squash this exercise.)
5. When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?
(I sing a custom love you song to my children – all three – every day. Do I explain that?)
And this is the point that I’m usually done. Almost every one of my answers deals with my loss. This is my reality. This is my life. My son’s death is with me every single day. I live around that. So personal questions that are seemingly innocent are not for me. I can be social all day long but if you really want to build a relationship with me – my entire family goes with that. However, this is not something everyone has learned how to deal with and can often lead to the room being very uncomfortable. So not only did I not make fast friends – I actually can alienate people.
So for many people this is a wonderful technique. This is just not the one for me.
That said I’m always looking for exercises that help people get to know each other. Do you have other recommendations for me to try?