Last year every man, woman and dog was posting a little graphic.
Yeah, I’m one of those unsupportive types.
My realm of things I will support is quite small. I’ll support particular charities. I will buy certain brands (hello, Tupperware). I have a short list of musical productions I want to see, and a longer list of ones that I don’t. You couldn’t pay me to watch a variety type show of any kind, shape or form, especially if I have to pay for it.
If you run a business, I’m a rubbish customer. Not only do I have a super limited income, I am pretty loyal. On my quest to find the above quote, I came across one that said something like: ‘If your friend owned a gym, you’d train there.’
No, I wouldn’t. Just because someone works at or owns a gym doesn’t mean I’m going to cancel a membership to go there. The great thing about where I train is that I like the staff. I like that it’s a gym where people are on top of their game all the time.
My loyalties to businesses, groups, charities and churches have been well established. I’ve been so-called adulting since I was 19, and I don’t switch up what I’m doing or buying very often. Even if a friend was running the city’s hottest new coffee place, it will take me a while to move on from my Gloria Jean’s creamy hot cocoa.
Your business or talent, whether that be writing, or selling stuff, or providing a service, or performing in amateur theatre should not be dependent on the support of your friends. People will come along to things or buy things if they want to. Guilting them into doing so is not the same thing.
I came across another quote, which says something like ‘Think you have friends? Start your business and then you’ll know’. Maybe you don’t sell anything I want. Maybe it’s expensive. Hey, maybe your business is a little shop thousands of kilometres from me. Or maybe, just maybe, you’ll sell something that I like and want to buy.
How can you, dear reader, be supportive of your friend?
First of all, decide how people want support. I rarely share posts from people selling things. I don’t even enter Facebook giveaways because I don’t like spamming people. I am happy to be part of a fan base, and pick and choose what I want to share with my extended networks. I’m happy to talk to people about what they’re doing, unless it turns into a conversation about why I should be ‘more supportive’.
Secondly, decide if you actually want to support a business, venture or production. I don’t like the ethics of certain companies or platforms (totally fine). Sometimes I don’t like a certain show (totally fine). Sometimes I can’t afford to see or buy things (again, totally fine). I think it’s good to explain, nicely, why you’re not buying into or buying tickets for something.
Finally, and most importantly, friendship should exceed whatever business or talent or book or show or opportunity your friend wants you to become a part of. Through it all, friendship should endure.