Always, Katie: Coffee and Conversation: Social Approval

Monday, July 22, 2013

Coffee and Conversation: Social Approval

I skipped the last Coffee and Conversation, so I'm super-glad to be back this week!  This week's prompt is: 

Coffee & Conversation

"How important is social approval for you?"

While I would really like to be able to say that social approval means nothing to me, that would be an outright lie :-)

Yes.  I care what people think of me.  

Part of this is because I strive to live my life in a way that doesn’t make God facepalm TOO often, and so I surround myself with people with similar values.  I am firmly convinced that God speaks in my life through my friends.  So if any of these people were to disapprove of my actions or words, I would be concerned.  I would be concerned that I was not living a good witness, that I disappointed God (which happens daily, but I still try to keep it to a minimum!), and that I disappointed some very important people in my life.  

I think that this kind of need for social approval is healthy and functional.  I have chosen what I believe to be a social network full of good people who set good examples and give me honest and loving feedback.  Gaining and maintaining their approval encourages me that I am living and loving to the best of my ability and it motivates me to curb my quick temper and other vices. 

Then, there is the other kind of need for social approval.  It is the same need that has created the Mommy wars, the same need that causes debt to skyrocket as we show up the Joneses, the same need that makes my heart a smidge sad that my follower count is only in the double digits.  Clearly, this is not a productive need for approval, but it probably is pretty natural.  I think that the important thing is, when we recognize it, to not embrace it and feed it, but instead, to dissect it.  

For us bloggers, being “liked” can be tied to our income.  Okay, for me, notsomuch, but hopefully someday.  When we start feeling blue about our stats, we need to question whether that is because we are not meeting business goals (in which case, strategize ways to improve content and community) or if we are taking it personally (i.e. “If I weren’t so _______, maybe I’d have more followers.”).  If the latter reason is the case, it might be time to reevaluate why we’re blogging and maybe take a step back.  I took a (rather long) hiatus pretty recently, and it gave me time to get some perspective and develop my own objectives for my online presence.  

In the midst of my quest for social approval, a good practice I have developed is to strive for consistency.  While Ethan and I have inside jokes and talk frankly to each other about things that are better not mentioned in polite company, I try very hard – with good success, I believe – to make sure that I am authentic in public and as conscientious in my home life as I am with coworkers or strangers.  ­­­­­This authentic me doesn’t get approval from some people, and – as I learned (again) a few days ago when I discovered hurtful tweets about me from a Facebook “friend” – It still hurts.  I have had to come to terms with the fact that I will never have the approval of certain people, and that, generally, this reflects more on them then on me.   

As long as the right people approve or gently rebuke me, I am learning to be content in the knowledge that I’m pretty okay. :-)
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  1. Thanks for sharing Katie. Consistency is key and goal setting is a great reminder instead of just gaining numbers to be more "popular".

  2. Thanks for linking up with us, Katie! There is always something grand to say about those who strive for the best and I am thankful to see that mentioned in your post. Also, I totally agree with Lauren's comment above when considering blog approval. Life is an awesome game for learning, but I am thankful for all that we are provided with in terms of being able to not make the same actions twice.

  3. I'm just dropping in by way of the link up and I love what you wrote about the person who wrote the hurtful tweet-- you are right.. it looks bad on them, not for you! And God doing a facepalm-- too funny!!! Cute little blog here, can't wait to check it out :)


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