Monday, June 02, 2008

Paper Plate Relationships

During a not too recent business trip to New York, I was having drinks with a colleague who remarked that she often had paper plate relationships. I was a bit puzzled by what this meant so I inquired more about it.

She went on to explain that paper plates serve a specific function, for a specific time and place. You wouldn't use a paper plate for a big fancy dinner to impress your in-laws, for example, but you would use them for a barbecue with old friends. She then explained that once you are done with the paper plates, you move on until the next time you need them.

This initially struck me as a little harsh -- the notion of disposable relationships -- but then I wondered if this is similar to the notion of social objects?

In many ways, I see the paper plate relationship to be the result of brief encounters with social objects. If indeed this is the case, what does this mean for those on point for fostering social interactions?

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