A few years ago, when I was but a mere 23, I worked at a summer camp in New Hampshire. (Yes, I like kids. Don’t look so surprised.) It was one of the best experiences of my life. Long, blissful days playing games, learning to survive in the wild, and dancing around campfires in the evenings like monsters. Good times. But when I first arrived, I didn’t know anyone. And introducing yourself to a huge group of strangers is always fun, right?
Thankfully, Gabe came to talk to me while I was sat in the food hall eating my cereal and chocolate milk (in the same bowl, obvs). Gabe was a lovely smiling lad, around 19 or 20. He was easy to talk to and kept the conversation going. Cool, I thought. My first friend!
But as that first day crept on and came to a close, I realised something. Gabe hadn’t taken a particular shine to me. He behaved this way with everyone. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course. Unless you’re running a business.
Gabe and I were always friendly with each other and shared smiles in passing, but we never became good friends as at first I’d thought we might. I wondered to myself if Gabe ever truly became friends with anyone, or if he was just surface-layer friends with everyone.
The point I’m try to make here, if you hadn’t already guessed, is that trying to please everyone will mean you never connect with your people. If you never let your guard down and show people who you really are, you will never be able to attract a rabidly loyal army of followers, fans and yes — even friends.
If you don’t give people a reason to choose you, well, they won’t fucking choose you, will they? They’ll choose the guy they can actually relate to, whose blog posts resonate with them and who speaks their language.
So do yourself a favour, and just be your god damn self. Some people will hate you, but trust me, that’s a good thing.
For more advice on how to attract the right crowd to your business, check out this post on how to determine your target audience. (Don’t ever say I’m not good to you.)