Who Do You Like?

Do I want to work with you? It depends.

I’m stuck, and I need someone to work with on something that feels important. Do I want that person to be you? It totally depends.

You’re smart, and you’ve got a really interesting idea. You talk a good game; conviction, clarity, and style abound. Still, it depends.

Mostly, it depends on whether we like each other. It sounds shallow and childish, like the standard children use when deciding who to play with during recess, but it is the measurement I privilege more than most when pursuing collaborators: do I like them? Do they seem to like me? Yeah? Then I’m reasonably certain we can do some things together.

Sometimes we don’t have a choice: we have to get along for the sake of the project regardless of whether or not we like one another. But what if those instances are the exception and the norm is that you get to seek out people you like to work on things that matter.

The leaders of Tapestry work on things like a Tacky Prom for youth because we like each other, and when people like one another there’s joy in shared work, even though there are also responsibilities and disagreements–even outright conflict. The joy we take in one another grounds our work, and we get things done.

So who do you like? You can work with anyone (you’re a grown up, after all). But who do you really want to work with?

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