As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. -King Solomon

In a world full of social media friends and political upheaval, this quote probably transcends personal friendships.  Any social interaction can count someone as a friend you interact with at any level.  Jim Rohn famously said that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. That’s fitting with King Solomon’s quote.

Friends, even social media friends can challenge you to step up to keep up.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to swallow my words on social media and other internet forums because I was misinformed or didn’t do my research.  It forces me to step up and learn whatever topic I’m discussing.

Online forums and social accounts offer a level of protection from criticism through things like “blocking” and “ignoring”.  This isn’t necessarily a good thing to do.  If you’ve heard of the term “Echo Chamber”, it means more than a cavern where sounds reverberate.  When we discuss Social Media, an echo chamber is the situation where information, ideas and/or beliefs are reinforced by communication and repetition within your sphere.  Nothing goes unquestioned and different views are censored by you.  When you ignore or block these people, it softens you because you don’t get those challenges.

The only way you will get better at something is to accept the criticism and the opposing views in your social feeds.  By looking at things that you don’t know or don’t agree with, you can become a better person.  The only way to do that is to let the people who make you uncomfortable into your feed.

Sometimes this is necessary if an discussion doesn’t progress or in the case of a personal attack. This is when you’ve got to realize that this person is not sharpening you but actually trying to do damage. Those are the people you want to block and/or ignore.

In summary, it’s best to find people online and offline who challenge you in areas you would like to become better.  If you don’t know anyone offline, going online can give you the mentor-ship and friendships you need to succeed.

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