I know who’s obsessed with bacon and who has seen Jimmy Buffet in concert 100 times.

I can tell you who roots for the Mets, or the Tigers, or the Cubs. Who’s crazy about the NBA and who really, really loves college basketball.

I can identify the runners, and people who love good beer, and a couple of bourbon and whiskey drinkers too.

You need to look past first impressions.

I’ve never met most of these people.

I connected with many of them for reasons unrelated to these things. Many are marketers, digital strategists, entrepreneurs, designers, and journalists in their day jobs.

They’re in my Twitter feed.

They could just as easily be people I know tangentially through work or met at a conference or networking event.

Many are real-life friends in waiting.

Many years ago, Mrs. Nixon received a birdcage from an American diplomat and his wife during a visit with her husband to a foreign country. Several years later, the two women came face to face at the White House. And Mrs. Nixon said, “Thank you again for the lovely birdcage. It’s hanging in our home in San Clemente.”

It’s not about a birdcage.

Birdcage

Of course, someone was storing the details for Mrs. Nixon. Logging the gifts. Cataloging the names. I write facts on business cards, make notes in Gmail about my contacts’ spouses and/or their kids.

I don’t collect names or followers or friends. I learn about people.

I told someone recently that I sometimes think my real superpower is saying hello. Not enough people do it and mean it.

Relationships don’t spring forth full blown; they’re forged in the details. Understand this, and your business (and your life) will be richer.

Feature photo by Sam Howzit (Flickr); birdcage by Kate Hiscock (Flickr).