Truthiness Test: Is Your Org Friend Worthy? 5 Values Young People Seek

Social is the new rage. Many organizations are working hard to thrive in the new Social Economy but the most successful of these organizations understand what being social means to today’s youth. They help them…


Nick Palkowski Senior Retreat Speaker Student Leadership Trainer Nick Palkowski

Not too long ago teenagers had a small close nit group of friends (4-7 people), usually people they met and interacted with through school. Belonging to this group was vital. Nowadays, things are more complex. Gone are the days of belonging to a single group, a typical teenager now manages and maintains multiple intersecting peer groups essentially replacing the need to belong to a close group with connecting to a more expansive network.

As companies, organizations and people flood to the social spaces of the inter-webs connecting with young people has become a top priority for many. This has lead to the phenomenon of “stranger friends” those people with incredible access into the personal elements of your life that you really don’t know.

Students maintain these non-friends for a myriad of reason.

  • To make you look more popular
  • To spy on (they are not your friend up you want to check up on and compare your life to theirs
  • To show off to (maybe you don’t want to personally interact with them but they do provide you with an audience
  • For strategic reasons (might have an in with the person you like)

As your circle of “friends” widens there is a major downfall, it becomes harder to know who your real friends are.

For a more authentic and more impactful role in a students life organizations need to go beyond being see as another “fake friend.” To keep you from becoming just another recyclable friend it will be helpful to know what young people value in a real friend.

5.) Be HUMBLE – Don’t try to overplay your importance to their lives. While being in your organization could be a life changing for some, every student knows they can learn many of the same life lessons in a hundred other ways. And nobody likes a cocky, arrogant friend. Work hard at whats important – staying useful, timely and allowing students to express some element of their personality.

4.) Be MATURE – Be the college student to a high schooler or the junior to the freshman. Youth love having older friends to look up to. Demonstrate that you are worthy of respect by having a compelling and consistent point of view. We all know that kid who switches from fad to fad in an attempt to be “cool,” when he enters a room there are eye rolls when a student who knows what he believes and stand for enters, people listen.

3.) Be SOCIABLE – Friends you love to socialize with share interesting and cool things with you, they don’t just shout or push their agenda they create interaction and a dialogue with you, and have a style meshes with their personality. It’s not about being loud and always around its about having the right presents at the right time in the right way.

2.) Be GENUINE – Being genuine involves know and following through on your true intentions. It’s about being trustworthy. Make sure you have an organization that is worthy of your students trust. Keep what is truly important at top of mind. Here is a hint, its not membership numbers or trophies.

1.) Be TRUTHFUL – “Truthfulness is more than twice as important as its nearest competitor.” Being truthful is more then simply not lie about your intentions. Obviously that should not be in your organization but being truthful is about following through on your commitments or at the very least being honest when you can’t. Just like your mother taught you “don’t make promises you can’t keep.” That statement has been ingrained in the hearts of this generation and they demand it from others in their lives.

Students are now surrounded in a world of “fake friends” and superficial “likes” and interactions. The result is a generation of Truth-Hunter. They are now demanding that the organizations and groups they are apart of have the values of a true friend. Does your student organization measure up? Are you friend worthy?

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