Many of us know people in our brands and outside of our brands that are spammy, arrogant, arguing or blocking people who disagree with them, shaming people’s brands or business methods, stealing or plagiarizing graphics or content, and generally perpetuating the negative perception of our overall industry that we are working so hard to change.

I prefer to lead with the presumption that everyone is my friend. And with that, how would you treat your friends? Kindly. Presuming good intentions. Offering value before asking for value. Allowing a spirited debate of opposing yet respectful viewpoints. Finding a learning moment or teaching opportunity. Seeking to maintain the relationship over gaining a customer. Because on the long view, a good relationship now can evolve into a customer, hostess, or team member later, or someone who is referable. But piss someone off or treat them poorly in the short term, and I guarantee they never will.

This is not always easy. But in the long view, you will feel better about yourself, your business, and your moral compass. And on social media where all we have are words on a screen and we are quick to jump to prejudgments, I challenge you to change the viewpoint and see if there is alternative outcome to “presume the friendship.” This is what relationship marketing is ultimately all about.