- Someone you haven't spoken to in years calls you up and asks you for a favor
- A close friend of yours calls you up to see how you're doing. During the conversation, he/she ends up asking you for a favor
- A stranger approaches you in public, compliments you briefly, and asks for your phone number after a few minutes
- A stranger approaches you in public, demonstrates genuine interest in getting to know you, and after 10 or 15 minutes, asks you if you would like to stay in touch
- You receive an email from someone you barely know asking you to buy a product or service
- An established connection of yours calls you to see if you'd like to have lunch. During that conversation, he/she mentions a new product or service offering and asks if you might be interested
In the first of each of the above examples, I would most likely feel that I am being contacted because the other person wants or needs something from me. The other person's motives appear to be self-serving.
In the second of each of the examples. My perception is that the intentions of the person are genuine and I am the focus. Me doing a favor, providing my phone number, or buying a product/service isn't the goal of the interaction, it is secondary. The other person genuinely cares about me and my well-being.
It is surprising how many times I observe inauthentic situations occurring in society. The results of being genuine and putting others' needs before one's own are far greater than the results received when one's agenda is self-serving. Even when disguised well, people have a good sense, and can generally tell when authenticity is lacking from an interaction.