You are on page 1of 36

The Art of Friendship

Brian C. Rideout
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3. !nported
"icense. #$# b% Brian C. Rideout.
&ou ma% create derivative works of this document' so lon( as Brian C. Rideout is credited' and
the work is also released under a Creative Commons Atribution-ShareAlike 3. !nported liscense.
Additionall% the content of followin( te)t bo) must be included in all derivative works with no
A +essa(e from Brian C. Rideout' author of
The Art of Friendship
Please feel free to distribute these ideas: , believe that this is
knowled(e that should be available to an%one who would like to learn
it. , consider ever% download a reward and ever% time it is shared with
a reader-s friends and famil% the hi(hest compliment.
,f %ou have found these ideas valuable' and wish to see them
continue to evolve and be refined' , ask that %ou email me at
brian.rideout/newworldscoachin(.ca and tell me how this te)t
chan(ed %our perspective' and how %ou feel , could improve upon it.
Introduction: Friendship is a Skill
Friendship... is not something you learn in school. But if you haven't
learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven't learned anything.
- +uhammad Ali
+akin( friends seems like it ou(ht to be an intuitive process. 0hen we see people who are
admired and make a lot of friends' we assume that the% have some innate (ift that not all people have'
which we sometimes call 1Charisma.2 ,n the same wa%' we look at an artist or musician who is capable
of inspirin( and ama3in( us' and wonder at his 1Soul2' or we look at a person who (ets lots of attention
from the opposite se) and assume that the% have some sort of 1Animal +a(netism.2
0e hold these ideas in a stran(e and ma(ical place in our minds. 0e ima(ine that Charisma
must be some kind of special blessin( on certain people' we can-t show e)actl% what that person has
that makes the Charismatic. 4ust like we can-t tell wh% between two handsome men' one seems to (et
an%where with women despite his (ood looks' while another (u% alwa%s seems to be successful* we
can-t see his 1Animal +a(netism2' but we like to ima(ine that it is some special (ift he has.
The truth is that the social butterfl% with Charisma' the musician with the ama3in( 1Soul2' or
the irresistible lover with the Animal +a(netism are people who 5ust have ver% well-honed skills. All
of the social (races ever% human bein( possesses are skills. &ou learn them when %ou are ver% %oun(.
And like ever% skill' ever%bod% uses it a little differentl%' and (ets different results.
Consider drawin( for a moment. 0hen we are ver% %oun( pla%in( with chalk or cra%ons' we
draw flat' crooked' awkwardl%-shaped ima(es. As we (row up' some of us never learn much more than
that. 0e sta% at stick-fi(ures. 6thers start learnin( about the techni7ues that (o into a (ood drawin(*
shadin(' perspective' composition' te)ture' proportion... and their drawin(s become more ele(ant and
more realistic.
The same is true of makin( friends. The onl% ma5or difference is that we don-t think of makin(
friends as a skill because we learn it when we are ver%' ver% %oun(... too %oun( to think about what we
are doin( in an anal%tical wa%. 4ust like talkin(' sin(in(' or throwin( a ball' we have done them so
often and when we were so %oun( that our skill is so finel% honed that it becomes second nature.
An% skill %ou practice often enou(h %ou will do without thinkin( about it. ,t becomes more
than 5ust a simple skill' the wa% %ou do that skill becomes a habit. ,f %ou learned to do it ver% well'
then %ou will do it ver% well ever% time without effort. 8eople will assume %ou have a special (ift for
it' and %ou mi(ht even build a career based on it. ,f %ou learned it imperfectl%' %ou will probabl% do it
imperfectl% ever% time and stru((le with it. 9ventuall%' %ou will either (ive up on usin( the skill
because %ou think that %ou are terrible at it' or %ou will choose to learn it all over a(ain.
A person with Charisma is someone who' when the% were small children' learned friend-makin(
skills ver% well. As a toddler' the% pla%ed with other toddlers' the% tried a number of wa%s to make and
keep friends : if the% were luck%' their parents helped : and the% stumbled across wa%s of makin(
friends that worked reall% well. As the% (rew up' the% kept usin( those skills over and over a(ain' and
refinin( them. Because the% learned their skills well at a ver% %oun( a(e' and it became habit lon(
before the% were old enou(h to reall% think about it' most couldn-t e)plain what it is the% do to be so
social and charmin(.
B% the same token' a person who has had trouble makin( friends since childhood tried a few
thin(s' and learned how to be a friend well enou(h to have one or two friends... but their techni7ue had
a few 7uirks in it. Their friend-makin( skills were (ood enou(h that the% stopped tr%in( to make more
friends' and settled with what the% had. As the% a(ed and had to make new friends' the% tried the same
tricks' and found that their skills were hit-and-miss. Because the% don-t think of friendship as a skill'
the% don-t believe that the% can improve it.
8eople who stru((le to make friends : because the% don-t understand that it is a skill that the%
could relearn' often develop some self-destructive ideas*
Some come to believe that the% are unlikeable* the% tr% hard to (et people to like them' but
because the% don-t alwa%s meet with success' the% assume it is because the% don-t have the
natural charisma to be liked.
6thers come to believe that people in (eneral are cold and unfriendl%' and that the friends the%
have are some of the few decent people out there.
;either of these is reall% true' but if %ou don-t understand that friendship* makin(' keepin(' and
enrichin( friends alike' is a set of skills' one of those hurtful e)planations seems like the onl% lo(ical
0hen we understand that friendship is a skill set' on the other hand' we are (iven the
opportunit% to make the world a much better place for ourselves and those around us. 0e are (iven the
power to make our own charisma. 0e can choose to be likeable' friendl%' and to be sociall% successful.
All we need to do is re-learn those skills with open e%es' rather than rel%in( on habit.
,n this e-book , intend to teach %ou the basics of the most important friendship skills' includin(
ei(ht eas% steps to makin( friends' how to avoid takin( friends for (ranted' how to make %our
friendships stron( and durable' and even how to be the best possible friend to either a man or a woman.
Making Friends in 8 Easy Steps
Wishing to be friends is quick ork, but friendship is a slo ripening
- Aristotle
, am (oin( to be(in b% describin( the step-b%-step process of makin( friends to %ou' includin(
some information on the sub-skills that are the most important. This is not the onl% wa% to make
friends : there are man% routes to friendship : but it is a simple' strai(htforward' and eas% wa% to make
the friends %ou want.
Step 1. Decide hat !ind of Friend "ou ant
The wa%s %ou can cate(ori3e friends is nearl% infinite. ,deall%' we would like friends who have
a lot to offer us in a lot of different parts of our lives' from emotional support to shard hobbies' to
common work e)periences. !suall%' this comes later in friendships as the% (row and develop. To make
a (ood friend %ou reall% onl% need to start with one or two points of connection' like a friend who
shares a similar hobb% or interest.
The trick is to pick a hobb% or interest of %ours that %ou are passionate about' and<or that %ou
would like to (row and develop in. There are advanta(es to both* a hobb% that %ou are passionate about
will (ive %ou an opportunit% to be a mentor' and reall% throw %ourself into both the interest and the
friendships %ou are developin(. Bein( a be(inner (ives %ou more opportunities to connect.
But once %ou have selected that first point of connection' %ou have the most powerful tool for
developin( a friendship.
,t helps' once %ou have decided on which point of interest %ou are (oin( to use as a startin(-
point for friendships' to know how %ou want to (row and develop in that field' because it is throu(h
seekin( to (row that %ou will attract friends.
Another possibilit% is to look for friends with a common e)perience. ,f there has been a
powerful or definin( e)perience in %our life' for (ood or bad' often others who have had the same
e)perience can offer a uni7ue connection and insi(ht into %our own process.
Step #. Figure $ut %here to &ook
6bviousl%' once %ou have a point of connection %ou would like to make' then the ne)t step is to
surround %ourself with potential friends. Stat lookin( at places where people who share %our common
interests (ather.
Clubs' societies' and teams abound for most an%thin( %ou could name. ,f %our interest is in
archer%' %ou can bet that there is an archer% club within a =-minute drive of %ou. Findin( them is not
as hard as %ou mi(ht e)pect. These da%s tools like and >or to a lesser e)tent
crai( are (reat places to find people to meet. +ore traditionall%' people advertised for (roups
the% wanted to form or 5oin on bulletin boards in local churches and the public librar% : the &+CA or a
local communit% centre are other (ood places to look. &our local chambre of commerce usuall% can
point %ou to networkin( (roups that mi(ht have %our interests in common as well. Classified ads in
%our local paper are a less common' fadin( wa% of advertisin( (roups' but still viable.
Some points of interest are ver% rich' because the% have either a lot of communit% support' or
international clubs. 8ublic speakin(' for e)ample' has the Toastmasters club@ almost ever% communit%
has a communit% theatre for those interested in drama' while musicians can usuall% find a charit%
ensemble' a (lee club' and a 5a33 band in their area.
Almost ever%thin( also has forums and communities online. This is a (ood place to start
lookin( not onl% for friends' but also local' in-person events.
Step '. (reate an $pening )*sk for *d+ice or $pinion,
This can be the hardest part of makin( friends. 6nce %ou are involved in a club or (roup and
have started participatin(' %ou have to be willin( to create an openin( for other people to take an
interest in %ou and (et to know %ou.
The easiest wa% to do this is to ask people for advice or present somethin( %ouAve done and be
open to an opinion. The people who respond to %ou are not 5ust showin( their e)pertise' the% are
showin( their interest in %ou as a person and their willin(ness to connect. The% are puttin( themselves
out there. ,n return' %our 5ob is to (enerall% listen to what the% have to sa% as openl% as possible. Be
sure to show appreciation for the advice %ou (et.
There are several important 7ualities and skills one has to be mindful of in order to make this
Coura(e is "atin for Bthe poer to sho hat is in one!s heart!. The% knew that this was done a
lot of wa%s' includin( b% speakin( what is on their mind. The ancient Romans believed that sa%in(
what %ou felt' and puttin( %our thou(hts and feelin(s out there was a terrif%in( thin(' and doin( so was
as much a form of braver% as (oin( out on the battlefield. This is somethin( worth rememberin(.
Cettin( out there' 5oinin( a club' sharin( %our interest honestl%' and askin( others for help re7uires
coura(e. As does respondin( to that re7uest.
There is a bit of a sti(ma in our culture a(ainst bein( vulnerable* we like to show our stren(ths
and not our weaknesses. ,t can be hard to ask for help' and when we do' there is a temptation to wrap it
up in fanc% lan(ua(e' or to protect ourselves with a suit of armour made of cool manners and formalit%.
But it is when we are at our most human and vulnerable that other people can connect with us. DonAt be
afraid to sa% thin(s like 1, donAt understand2' or 1, am havin( trouble2' or even 1, want help to (row on
, want to recommend %ou check out this video b% Brene Brown on the topic of vulnerabilit%.
Rapport is a comple) idea that is ver% important in communication. ,n order to create the sort of
trust and comfort we need to make friends' we need to feel that we have somethin( in common with the
people around us. B% 5oinin( a (roup that is devoted to one of our interests we are off to a (ood start. ,f
%ou want to build rapport it helps to emphasi3e the wa%s %ou are similar to others.
There are a lot of wa%s %ou can do that' but here are a few basics*
0hen someone shares an e)perience or thou(ht that %ou can identif% with' tell them.
8a% attention to how people dress' talk' and present themselves. +ake a few ad5ustments so that
%ou are more similar to them.
Talk about wh% and how %ou became interested in %our topic.
Cive people compliments.
Bein( (enuinel% curious is one of the best wa%s to make friends. Ask 7uestions' be interested in
what people have to sa%' tr% and listen as well as %ou can' and store awa% the information %ou hear.
8eople love it when others take an interest in what the% are doin(. Curiosit% is a (ift when %ou (ive it
about other people who are open to it. Take an interest in wh% people share %our point of interest' how
the% do thin(s differentl% and the same as %ou. ,f %ou approach ever% person as a potential teacher and
show %ou are willin( to learn it will make a hu(e difference.
This means also suspendin( 5ud(ment to a de(ree. ,f someone sa%s somethin( %ou disa(ree
with' instead of ar(uin(' %ou have a chance to ask them wh% the% feel and think the wa% the% do' which
is a chance to enrich %our own knowled(e.
The secret of makin( lots of friends can be summed up in a rule of thumb* "ho people that
you are more interested in hearing about them than you are about talking about yourself.
&ou will not be the onl% one askin( 7uestions* when %ou 5oin an% (roup based on a interest'
people will be as interested in learnin( from %ou and sharin( their passion for the topic with %ou as %ou
hopefull% are with them. Bein( open to other peopleAs curiosit% will be a hu(e part of the e7uation. Be
free with %our knowled(e and ideas' and thankful when people take an interest.
8art of bein( open is a matter of makin( sure to pro5ect a friendl% persona with others. Curiosit%
and vulnerabilit% will do a lot for that. ,t also helps to tr% and brin( a (ood mood with %ou into %our
(roup. This shouldnAt be too hard' after all' %ou are there to share somethin( %ou are interested in. A
smile and and a little enthusiasm (oes a lon( wa% to (ettin( others to share their thou(hts with %ou.
The real mark of bein( (ood friend material that %ou can put forward is to show an interest in
helpin( and empowerin( others. After all' %ou are there to (row and (et support %ourself' if %ou can
offer the same in return' %ou will be able to attract others to %ou.
Step 0. Follo%12hrough
6nce someone has (iven %ou that vital advice or feedback' follow-throu(h with it. +ake
chan(es to %our approach to the hobb%' 5ob' or (ame. Be open and curious to see if it works for %ou'
and how it works.
Step 3. .econnect4 2hank4 and 5i+e Feedback
6nce %ou have tried some of the recommendations %ou have heard' return to the (roup' and
thank the people who helped' first and foremost. ,f %ou let them know the% were heard and %ou were
(rateful not 5ust when the% (ave advice' but once %ou tried out that advice' it will make them feel
special and valued.
6nce %ou have done that' talk to them about how %ou found their input helped %ou out' what it
tau(ht %ou about %our interest' and what %ou noticed about %our resultsF this will open the wa% to
more or(anic communication' help build rapport' and (ive %ou some openin(s to ask for more advice
and input. &ouAll want to keep repeatin( steps 3'=' and E over and over a(ain to build up %our
friendship with people in the (roup.
Step 6. (hat and E7plore
As %ou reconnect with people and (et to know them better' %ou will have an opportunit% to talk
about interestin( ideas and points the% brin( up@ after a time most people will talk about interests
outside of the one %ou both 5oined the club for. ,f %ou keep a posture of curiosit% %ou can learn about
other thin(s that %ou mi(ht en5o% talkin( to that person about. An% time the% sa% somethin( reall%
interestin( either ask about it with (enuine curiosit% immediatel%' or make a note about it and start up
another conversation later.
There is no more edif%in( wa% to start a conversation than with # as thinking about
something you said last eek$.
.apport )continued,
This is where %ou will have the (reatest opportunit% to build rapport with others. 0hen %ou find
somethin( the% do interestin( or %ou find that %ou have somethin( in common' be sure to share that
fact. ,t is when %ou become aware of how much %ou share with the other person that %ou both become
trustin( and comfortable with one another.
Take an opportunit% to repeat sta(es 3'=' and E' askin( for advice' followin( throu(h' and
reconnectin( and (ivin( feedback' on other topics as well.
This is also the best time to share information about %ourself* when %ou talk about e)periences
%ou share in common' %ou are not 5ust talkin( about %ourself' %ou are talkin( about how %ou are like
that other person' and want to know how %our e)periences are similar. That wa% %ou are still showin(
interest in them as well as %ourself.
% true friend never gets in your ay unless you happen to be going
- Arnold H. Clasow
This is also the point where %ou will occasionall% learn about a personAs worst traits. 9ver%one
has flaws' and most of them are entirel% for(ivable. But if a person sets off alarm bells' bullies %ou'
spends too much time on nast% (ossip' or steps on the boundaries %ou set >as a part of bein( the (ood'
assertive communicator %ou should alwa%s strive to be?' or shows active disrespect' %ou have probabl%
seen a person who could turn into a to&ic friend. To)ic friends are those people who han( around with
%ou' but ear %ou down and use up %our ener(%. ,f %ou see si(ns of someone bein( to)ic %ou owe it to
look elsewhere* %ou deserve friends who actuall% care for %ou.
Step 8. 2he In+itation
6nce %ou have had a chance to (et to know someone and build a (ood rapport >a (ood si(n is
when %ou have a hard time tearin( %ourself awa% from a (ood conversation with that person?' %ou have
an opportunit% to build a relationship outside of the club' band' societ%' etc. Ask them to meet %ou for
coffee' or to e)chan(e some private emails about another topic' in the case of an ,nternet ac7uaintance.
Cettin( to(ether outside of %our interest (roup and 5ust chattin( for the sake of buildin( more
rapport and bein( curious about the other person is the test of bein( a friend. 6ther options mi(ht be to
invite them to another (roup %ou belon( to connected to a common interest' or to invite them to a (et-
to(ether >barbecue' house-warmin(' holida% tree-trimmin( part%' or dinner? that %ou are holdin(.
Step 8. 2he (lose
The test of a buddin( friendship comes after %ou have moved the relationship outside of the
(roup and into somethin( comfortable and interpersonal. After the coffee' barbecue' etc.' >assumin( it
wasnAt some kind of disaster? tell the person %ou had fun and en5o%ed their compan%. Ask if the% would
like to do so a(ain some time. ,f the% sa% 1%es2 %ou have officiall% made a friend.
Jeepin( that friend and deepenin( the friendship are other skills' but the short version is that
%ou want to keep repeatin( steps 3 to E' and G to K often with curiosit%' and be open to allowin( them to
do the same.
Friendship is a seed that once planted' takes time to (row' however. There are characteristics
and ideas and skills that are re7uired to nurture that skill and make it (row stron(. ,n the followin(
chapters , would like to share the essentials of those skills with %ou.
5i+ing of "ourself to "our Friends
%s iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.
-8roverbs #I*$I >;ew "ivin( Trans.' #I?
6ne of the (reatest thin( about deep and meanin(ful friendships is that the% make %ou a
stron(er' more confident person over time. Cood friendships have a wa% of workin( on %ou until %ou
are a better person for them.
5i+ing ithout E7pectation of .eturn
6ne of the most important principles to remember in friendshipsF and in all personal
relationships' for that matter' is that %ou set the tone for it with %our actions. 8eople learn how to treat
%ou b% how %ou treat them' and how %ou respond to their actions.
Throu(hout this article , will be focusin( on how to empower' stren(then' and support %our
friends. , work from a ver% strai(htforward assumption* an% ener(% %ou put into a friendship comes
back to %ou eventuall% in different wa%s. ,f %ou empower other people' in time %ou will find them
reachin( out to empower %ou in return. ,f %ou brin( lau(hter into a friendship' %ou will surround
%ourself with people who want to share lau(hter with %ou.
0hen %ou act to help friends to be the best the% can be %ou set a precedent. &ou also learn how
to be a better' stron(er' happier person %ourself in the process. &ou create a communit% of people
around %ou who like to be helped and offer help. ,n such a communit% %ou can trust that if %ou ask for
it' others will (ive the same help.
,t is helpful to think of acts of friendship on this social-environmental level at all times* 'our
return for your kindness to friends is a better, kinder orld to live in.
9)pectin( pa%back on a tit-for-tat basis undermines this approach. ,t also puts all of %our
motives into 7uestion. ,t adds an ener(% of distrust' obli(ation' and 1shoulds2 or 1ou(hts2 into %our
friendship that make it difficult to be authentic and carin(.
For this reason' it is important that all of these tasks be done without an% e)pectation of
repa%ment from the individual person. ,t is a point that will rephrase several times throu(hout this
article and future articles.
E/po%ering "our Friends
, discussed 9mpowerment briefl% above' and here , want to e)pand it' because it is one of the
wa%s in which friendships are the most enriched and enrichin(.
0hen one is empoered' it means the% possess the resources the% need to mana(e the obstacles
in their life and pursue their (oals. 0ithout empowerment' we stru((le and we can become depressed
and (ive up on our (oals. 9mpowerment allows us to be active rather than passive.
!ltimatel%' the power to overcome an% obstacle has to come within. ,f someone else removes an
obstacle for us' we can lose our own momentum or become burdened with doubts as to whether we
deserve the accomplishments we (ain at the end of the 5ourne%. &ou cannot (ive a friend the power to
overcome an obstacle. &ou can' however' remind them that the% have the power to overcome.
These reminders come in a lot of different forms. Honest criti7ues from a well-meanin( friend
can hone a personAs arts or crafts. A simple hand on the shoulder' or a word of encoura(ement can
remind people that %ou believe in their power' and that reminds them to believe in it themselves.
6fferin( an ear to listen to a person can allow them to work throu(h their problems out loud' or let
them drop the ba((a(e that is holdin( them back. Cheerin( or a friend at a (ame' or lettin( them share
a work in pro(ress with %ou seems like a small thin(' but it can mean the world to the one doin( the
work. The trick is to offer the support and help that %our friend is comfortable with so that the% find the
power to chan(e their circumstances on their own.
(e)oicing in our )oy, not suffering over our suffering, makes someone a
- Friedrich ;iet3sche
0hen we empower others' we (ive them a (ift of our attention and ener(% and help them move
forward in their own life. ,n the process the% become stron(er' happier' wiser people. ,n return we (et
stron(' happ%' and wise people in our lives who would do the same for us. A friendAs support can make
the difference between success and stru((le in %our own life.
The process of empowerin( people is ver% strai(htforward' and is somethin( %ou can do all the
time. ,t comes ver% naturall% so lon( as %ou approach a person from a place of curiosit%' and act out of
a desire to see them at their happiest and stron(est.
, remind m%self of this principle with a little mantra , repeat to m%self internall% when , spend
time with m% friends : online or in person*
1*oday # am meeting ith +. *his is an opportunity to make both our orlds happier places, all
# have to do is look for one opportunity to say or do something to make them )ust a little better about
9mpowerment is not a bi( or difficult thin(. ,n fact' (ood empowerment is often effortless for
us. A few words' an open ear' or 5ust a smile and a compliment. A simple favour' a little feedback' or
advice can work miracles. 0hen a friend shares a problem with us or e)presses their stressed-out and
ne(ative feelin(s' we donAt have to make those problems ours' or feel their feelin(s@ in fact' if we do
that we are robbin( our friends of an obstacle to overcome. The% have shared those thin(s to put down
the ba((a(e that is wei(hin( them down : the% donAt need us to pick it up and carr% it for them@ if %ou
see a friend l%in( in a ditch %ou donAt help b% l%in( down with them' %ou help offerin( them a hand up.
The trick for man% of us is fi(urin( out how to best empower others. A person who suffers from
a poor sense of personal boundaries often takes on another personAs problems' or simpl% tries to do
thin(s for that other person rather than helpin( them find the power to do so themselves. This is where ,
can offer some concrete and practical advice* ask hat you can do to help.
,n ;"8 and in the coachin( profession one of the most vital assumptions is that people already
have the best solution to their problems, they )ust need to be given the right space to reali.e them.
0hen %ou look at empowerment from this an(le' it is reall% about offerin( the support' patience' and
curiosit% to help them find their solution. ,f %ou are uncertain as to how to do this consider a simple
two part phrase to use when %ou see a friend stru((lin(*
The first part is alwa%s the same* # kno you!ll ork your problems out, it is one of the things
# respect about you, but #!d like to help if # can.2
The second varies a bit based on the circumstances but it alwa%s boils down to askin( how %ou
can best support the other person. Some e)amples mi(ht be*
/o you need someone to bounce ideas off of0
# am alays happy to lend you an ear, if you need someone to listen.
#!m here if you need to vent.
What!s the best ay # can help you ork out a solution0
/o you need an e&tra set of hands0
Would you like me to give you some feedback on the pro)ect0
*ell me ho # can pitch in.
Why don!t you alk me through the problem0
F6r if the person seems like the% 5ust could use a lau(h' , am ver% fond of.
# kno a great place to hide the bodies.
0ith the e)ception of the last one' all %ou need to do after that is what the% ask of %ou' without
e)pectin( an%thin( in return for it. 6ften %ou will find that 5ust offerin( to help can make a hu(e
9ourney ith Friends
Sometimes' %ou and a friend will have interests that intersect or points where %ou both need to
(row. This is an ama3in( opportunit% for both of %ou to work on somethin( to(ether. 0hether it is
learnin( a new skill' (ettin( fit' (oin( throu(h similar kinds of losses or chan(es' or simpl% tr%in( to
(et the most of a shared hobb%' it is easier to do with a friend alon(.
, recommend startin( an% ma5or 5ourne%* fitness pro(rams' classes' sports' self-help' recover%'
parentin(' etc.' b% seein( if an% of %our friends are startin( a similar one' or have interest in doin( so. ,f
the% are' then ask if the% would like to cooperate with %ou on that 5ourne%. That could be takin( the
same class' chattin( re(ularl% about it' 5oinin( the (%m or team to(ether' or 5oinin( a support (roup at
the same time.
Havin( a friend share a 5ourne% with %ou can help %ou maintain discipline. There is nothin( that
will keep %ou (oin( to the (%m >or rehearsals' practice' etc.? with 7uite the same intensit% as knowin(
that %ou have a friend who will be there to help' and who will be disappointed if %ou donAt keep up
with the pro(ram.
+ost friends are happ% to hold %ou accountable if the% ask %ou to. ,f %ou ask a friend to keep
%ou on task b% askin( how %ou are doin( or (ivin( %ou reminders' it will often help %ou (et thin(s
done on time and well.
,t is human nature to tr% and impress people %ou respect. This is somethin( that can make life
difficult at times' but b% havin( a friend alon( on a creative or skill-oriented 5ourne% like a class' %ou
can make that impulse work for %ou* havin( a friend nearb% %ou want to impress will help ensure that
%ou do as (ood a 5ob as %ou can.
0hen %ou have a friend alon( with %ou for a task that is full of challen(es' %ou alwa%s have
someone %ou know and trust to ask for feedback' advice' or interpretations. &ou also have someone
who will be read% to listen if %ou need to work somethin( out' and will understand what %ou are talkin(
aboutF the% are ri(ht there with %ou. ,f %ou are willin( to do those thin(s for %our friend' durin( their
5ourne%' %ou will create an easier 5ourne% for both of %ou' and %ou will be able to trust them to do the
(hallenge "our Friends
Be%ond empowerin( friends or (oin( on them with a 4ourne%' which are respectivel% about
helpin( them overcome problems' and about helpin( them en5o% the challen(es of a new contour to the
world the% live in' one can also help friends in another wa%* b% challen(in( them to outdo themselves.
,n m% e)perience' people are at their best when the% have hi(h e)pectations placed before them'
combined with confidence that the% can succeed' and the support of empowerin( friends the% are able
to rise to those challen(es. ,n the process the% raise their whole sense of what the% are capable of and
willin( to tr%. 0hen that roof is raised' not onl% does it au(ment what the person is confident that the%
can do' it also vastl% improves their overall performance as a person* the% make success and pushin(
their limits into a habit.
As a friend' listenin( to a friendAs plan and encoura(in( them to tr% for even more (ives %ou the
opportunit% to show them how much %ou respect their abilities' skills' and their character all at the
same time.
This is not an eas% one to pull off in (eneral' it is best done when %our friend is alread%
confident in a task the% are undertakin(. ,t involves bein( hi(hl% curious as friends tell %ou about (oals
and plans' askin( them about wh% the% chose the specific (oal the% have' and then simultaneousl%
e)pressin( faith in their abilities' and askin( them to push themselves a little harder. For e)ample*
# think competing in the regionals this year is a pretty good goal, 1ene. 'ou have the talent
that it should be no seat to make it that far, but you kno hat, # think you could storm the regionals2
hy not make them )ust a arm3up and shoot for national3level competition0
$ur Secret orld
% friend is someone ho gives you total freedom to be yourself.
- 4im +orrison
6ne of the thin(s , have concluded after %ears of stud%in( the human search for the +eanin( of
"ife is that ever% human bein( carries a perfect world within them. , donAt know if we are born to it' if
it is part of our soul' or if it is simpl% a product of our childhood learnin(' but it is a l%nchpin of our
This perfect 0orld is a little different for each person. ,t has its stories' its wars' its conflicts' its
victories' and its tra(edies like ever% other world@ but in it our loved ones are happ%' the world is a
better place' and ever% stru((le has value. ,t is a beautiful place full of stran(eness' meanin(' wonder'
and miracles. ,t is also a place that chan(es and evolves 5ust like the real thin(.
0hen we are asked how we would make the world a better place' we look within ourselves and
see how our inner world and the outer world fail to match for an answer. 0hen we tr% to make thin(s
better' we tr% and make them more like our ,nner 0orld. 0hen we create artwork' we are takin( scenes
from our ,nner 0orld and brin(in( them into this one. ,n fact' all creative acts are about makin( the
6uter 0orld more and more like our perfect ,nner 0orlds as we can. 6ur moralit% flows from a love of
the ,nner 0orld we spend so much time in : because it is a 5o%ous' happ%' and vital place' when we act
in (ood faith' we tr% to make the happiness of the inner world manifest in the outer one.
6ur ,nner 0orlds are private and sacred@ the% are where our hopes and dreams are made into
realities' and where our fantasies are pla%ed out. ,ntuitivel% we know that it is somethin( we have to
honour and keep safe@ for man% that means that the% choose not to share their perfect 0orld e)cept in
the wa%s that the% make our world more like it. 0e sense somethin( a little demonic in people who
happil% e)ploit their ,nner 0orlds b% wearin( them like a bad(e : it is wh% we have such a hard time
trustin( politicians' (urus' and ,nternet celebrities. 0e also intuitivel% know that when a person does
(ive %ou an honest (limpse of their ,nner 0orld' that it is a (ift to us.
Some of the wa%s we share that ,nner 0orld in (ood faith include*
"on(' meanderin( talks about ourselves and one another.
Creatin( works of art and literature that we share.
Holdin( celebrations in our homes : especiall% holida%s where we create.
,nvitin( people into the inner sanctums of our homes where our inner and outer worlds are their
Speakin( about our spiritual beliefs.
Talkin( about se).
Talkin( about our hopes and dreams.
Doin( charitable work and volunteerin(.
+akin( hard moral decisions under scrutin%.
Counselin( and consolin( others' especiall% in (rief.
Speakin( our opinions when we know that the% will be unpopular.
Tellin( stories of meanin( in our lives.
Tellin( fantastic stories and faerie tales in our own voice.
Sharin( our problems.
All of these are acts of supreme vulnerabilit%. The% take coura(e and self-possession to do.
The% (ive another person a look at somethin( near to our soul. The% let that person see how the% are
the most like ourselves' and where we share the most incredible' ine)pressible secrets. ,t also e)poses
us to the possibilit% of the most fundamental and shatterin( form of re5ection.
Sharin( our 0orld somethin( we can onl% do around those we are willin( to trust' and we also
know that. Thus' it is onl% somethin( we can reall% do amon( friends or people we want to have as
friends. 6nce our perfect ,nner 0orlds are shared' people know each other on a totall% different level.
9ach time it happens' it enriches a friendship.
0hen %our friendship is alread% feelin( stron(' and %ou trust a person' , recommend takin( the
time to share %our ,nner 0orld in one of the wa%s above. ,t is impossible to schedule these thin(s' of
course : the% onl% happen or(anicall% : and so the best wa% to make it happen is to develop an attitude
of openness about these thin(s when %ou are with %our friends* to tell %ourself that 1# trust these
people, and they trust me, so # honour that trust by being ready to talk about, sho, or share the things
that are the most dear to me, should the chance arise.
&ou will find that adoptin( that stance of openness makes it possible not 5ust to respond when
people do these thin(s rather than shuttin( down : but %ou will start to develop an intuition for
appropriate times to share %our ,nner 0orld with others : and to know when doin( so mi(ht be over-
sharin(' and make others uncomfortable.
Some (ood si(ns that people are open to sharin( their ,nner 0orlds include*
that %ou are in one anotherAs homes in a casual atmosphere'
conversation has lapsed into comfortable silences'
%ou have an sense of safet% that is present across all of %our senses'
%our friend e)presses intense curiosit% about %our beliefs and opinions'
the% are sharin( their own personal stories or memories'
the% have come to %ou with problems or feelin(s that are sensitive.
Sharin( %our inner world' even reco(ni3in( it is a matter of intuition : much of it we learned
unconsciousl% as children when makin( friends with other children' and b% watchin( adults. For people
who have a hard time makin( friends' the intuitive leaps necessar% to open %ourself up and be
vulnerable on this level is incredibl% difficult. ,f this is the case' , recommend learnin( how to
reco(ni3e and en(a(e %our intuition : this too is a skill %ou can learn if %ou have trouble with it' 5ust
like makin( friends : and to be as open as possible with others.
B% bein( open : lettin( them know %ou are usuall% willin( to talk' that %ou refrain from
5ud(in(' and are interested in empowerin( %our friends first and foremost' the% will often make the first
move and share with %ou. ,n that case' all that %ou need to do is first' thank them for sharin( somethin(
that %ou know is sensitive' and second' reciprocate b% sharin( a similar e)perience' thou(ht or creative
work. Remember that when another person makes themselves vulnerable b% sharin( somethin(
intimate about themselves' like a (limpse of their ,nner 0orld' the surest wa% to hurt their feelin(s is to
let it pass without comment' or closin( down and refusin( to respond with %our own moment of
vulnerabilit% to show them that the% were ri(ht to trust %ou' and are safe to keep doin( so.
(uriosity !eeps Friendships Strong
4ne of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand
and to be understood.
- "ucius Annaeus Seneca
Curiosit% permeates ever% aspect of makin( and keepin( friends. ,t is visible in ever% part of the
&ou must be curious enou(h to find interests %ou are willin( to (row in.
&ou must be curious enou(h to 5oin (roups of other people' and once %ouAve 5oined those
(roups %ou have to be curious enou(h to see how others (o about en(a(in( in the same interests
as %ou do : how the% do it differentl%' and sometimes better' than %ou do.
&ou must be curious enou(h to ask them for advice and reall% listen.
&ou must be curious enou(h to tr% their advice out and pa% attention to whether it works.
&ou must be curious enou(h when (ivin( them feedback to keep learnin( about them.
+ost importantl%' %ou must be curious enou(h to tr% and (et to know this person outside the
mutual interest-(roups %ou share.
, propose that bein( curious about other human bein(s is one of the two most vital traits one
must have to en5o% meanin(ful friendships. ,f %ou donAt want to (row' (et other perspectives' and learn
about what other people have to offer' %ou will never be able to sustain meanin(ful friendships.
Throu(hout %our friendship' %ou will build a (reat deal of %our closeness b% simpl% repeatin(
the steps that helped %ou become a friend in the first place* share a pro5ect or a (oal' ask for advice or
feedback' implement it' and then tell them how it worked' and talk about their ideas : let the
conversation wander into unfamiliar territor% or related topics until %ou can find somethin( else to
share' and use it as a 5umpin(-off point for (et-to(ethers' coffee klatches' or han(-out time.
"ikewise' empowerin( others' is best done not b% tellin( them what to do or removin( obstacles
from their path' but b% wantin( to help them e)plore their own mental landscape and find the perfect
solution to their problem that is alread% within them.
Bein( curious about other people has so man% benefits it is impossible to stress its importance
There is a temptation to start takin( people for (ranted after %ou (et to know them' and %ou can
lose %our curiosit% about people if %ou donAt sustain it activel%. Sometimes %ou have to work at makin(
%ourself curious about people. , have developed an e)ercise for this purpose.
2he (uriosity E7ercise
, recommend this e)ercise for %ou in %our 5ournal as a wa% to stimulate %our curiosit% about
others. 0hen %ou do it e)ercise' donAt worr% about whole or pat answers : in fact' tr% to put 1# don!t
kno2 down wherever %ou are unsure.
Sometimes' answerin( these 7uestions will inspire %ou to more 7uestions' or help %ou spot
places where %ou donAt know %our friend as well as %ou mi(ht have thou(ht. 8art of the point of the
e)ercise is to help %ou see how little %ou mi(ht know about a person' while at the same time showin(
%ou some of the thin(s %ou stand to (ain b% sta%in( curious.
$. 0hat are the interests that m% friend and , have in commonM
0hat draws m% friend to those common interestsM
For each of those what are some wa%s m% friend approaches them differentl%M
How did the% learn to do or think about those thin(s so differentl%M
0hat could , learn from them that mi(ht help me (row in this interestM
0hat are some of the 7ualities , like about m% friendM
How do each of those help them be successfulM
#. 0hat traits in m% friend could , model to become happier or more successfulM
How can , ask advice about thoseM
3. 0hat are some wa%s m% friend and , are ver% differentM
How did we learn to approach life so differentl%M
0hat can , learn from m% friendAs approach that could help me in lifeM
0hat could , ask of m% friend about their ideas or e)periences that mi(ht reall% chan(e m%
=. 0hat are some obstacles , have run into that m% friend has also run intoM
0hat are some obstacles that slowed me down b% m% friend seemed to blow ri(ht pastM
How did the% approach that obstacle differentl%M
How could learnin( what the% did help me in the futureM
E. 0hat about m% friend inspires meM
G.0hat could , do to be an inspiration to m% friendM
9ver% time %ou do this e)ercise about a friend' ,Ad ima(ine %ou will (et different answers*
people are alwa%s chan(in( : and we never (et ver% much of the picture.
Take the time to look at places where %ou donAt know how to answer the 7uestion* this is where
%ou can have a chance to start formulatin( hooks for new conversations' new pieces of advice to ask
for' and new feedback to seek.
6f course' be sure that the 7uestions %ou ask are acceptable for the relationship %ou are in. ,t
takes time before %ou can safel% ask people about beliefs or their past. That is wh% a common interest
or two is so valuable* it (ives %ou an opportunit% to hold meanderin( conversations full of tan(ents and
asides to learn about a person and build that comfort and rapport %ou need for askin( more personal
7uestions in the appropriate time and place.
A (ood rule of thumb is that when someone shares a bit about a belief or e)perience' %ou are in
a (ood place to ask permission to talk about it more.
2he Po%er of 5ratitude
5et us be grateful to people ho make us happy, they are the charming
gardeners ho make our souls blossom.
- +arcel 8roust
0hile , consider m%self to be a fairl% spiritual person' , donAt often pra% to an% particular
divinit%. 0hen , do feel the need for that kind of connection to somethin( (reater than m%self' , prefer
a ver% simple practice of (ratitude. , look at the thin(s , am proud of and (ive me 5o% in m% life and ,
sa% out loud 1thank %ou2 for each. 1Thank %ou for m% dear friends2 is almost alwa%s one of the first
thin(s that pops into m% mind.
Friendships make me a better' healthier' and more dedicated person. Connectin( with friends
reminds me wh% , am doin( the thin(s that ,Am doin(' and motivates me to do it better. The% also dra(
me awa% from the computer once in awhile when , am pushin( m%self too hard@ the% (ive me a chance
to come back down to earth' when , have lost m%self in thou(ht. The% inspire me to create.
6f course' like ever% sort of pra%er' bein( thankful for m% friends isnAt enou(h unless it leads to
some kind of act of (ratitude towards them. Bein( (rateful to a person means nothin( if the% donAt
know how much %ou appreciate them. And therein lies toda%As lesson.
Cratitude heals raw emotions when our friends have been workin( hard to hold us up in our
darkest moments. 0hen our friends have made themselves vulnerable b% askin( for help or sharin(
their feelin(s' (ratitude lets them know %ou welcome their sharin( : that the% can do it a(ain' and that
the% are not burdenin( %ou b% unburdenin( them. 0hen someone has helped %ou with feedback or
advice : even when that input is hard to swallow' thankin( the friend who (ave it to %ou with (ood
intentions ensures that the% will continue to tell %ou what the% think honestl%.
Sa% 1thank %ou2' (ive a (ift' or do somethin( kind for no reason. Few thin(s will help shore up
a friendship even in the rou(hest times.
*ppreciating the -alue of Friendship
*here is nothing on this earth more to be pri.ed than true friendship.
- Thomas A7uinas
, wanted to talk about one of the most little-considered' and %et most important truths about
havin( friends* they make it possible to be happy.
,n his book The Happiness H%pothesis' Dr. 4ohnathan Haidt looks at ever%thin( ps%cholo(% has
tau(ht us about human well-bein(' love' moralit%' and connections : alon( with some of the most
powerful thou(hts b% philosophers and reli(ious teachers on these topics throu(hout histor%' and tried
to come up with a formula for how one can be trul% happ% in ever%da% life. His conclusion was that
happiness arises from a combination of four factors* Havin( challen(in( (oals that (ive us somethin(
to strive for' havin( a sense of the sublime or sacred' havin( work or hobbies that are rich in meanin(
and make us feel alive when we are en(a(ed with them' and havin( lovin( attachments that brin( us a
sense of belon(in(.
"ikewise' the philosopher Ceor(e 6rte(a did a $#-episode television series' *he 6appiness
"ho' on the nature and importance of happiness : and what we can do to become happier people.
6rte(a' like Haidt' brou(ht to(ether reli(ion' ps%cholo(%' and philosoph% to(ether' and likewise
concluded that 1happiness comes from other people.2 That is to sa%' in order to be happ% we need to be
surrounded b% friends and famil% to keep us en(a(ed' to help us share our triumphs' and to li(hten our
loads when we are haunted b% ne(ative emotions.
Both thinkers at times' like happiness to a (arden* some thin(s necessar% to accomplish
happiness come from within' like soil and seeds' but thin(s must also come from without' as water and
sunli(ht does' to allow the (arden to (row and bloom. Friendship and love are the sunli(ht that allows a
(arden to (row and e)pand. And of course' if we want to be happy we have to take on the role of a
(ardener' and activel% seek out the conditions necessar% to make our happiness possible.
This is a radical idea' of course. 8eople tend to see happiness as a fleetin( b%product of livin(
life' ac7uirin( (oods' and workin( : or the% see it as somethin( the% will earn when the% retire and can
finall% stop workin(. Both of these approaches allow %ou to abdicate responsibilit% for %our happiness@
the% take the power to be happ% awa% from %ou' and convince %ou to stru((le and accept unpleasant
states of bein(. !suall% for someone elseAs profit.
0hen we reali3e how vital those relationships are to our well-bein( : to bein( happ% : it (ives
us a reason to (o out and make friends' and to spend time with the ones we have. ,t makes it eas% to
feel (ratitude towards our friends' and show that (ratitude to keep our friendships stron(.
,-d like to offer %ou a challen(e* take stock of how often %ou feel (enuinel% happ%' and what
%ou are doin( at the time : especiall% who %ou are with. ;otice the patterns that emer(e from it. As %ou
add more friends' take more time with them' and appl% %our skills to make friendships deeper' note
how that chan(es %our e)perience of happiness. "earn for %ourself how valuable %our friends are.
*hen tell them.
*rue friendship multiplies the good in life and divides its evils. "trive to
have friends, for life ithout friends is like life on a desert island... to
find one real friend in a lifetime is good fortune, to keep him is a
- Baltasar Cracian
Friendship *cross 5enders
7en kick friendship around like a football, but it doesn't seem to crack.
Women treat it like glass and it goes to pieces.
- Anne +orrow "indber(h
;o discourse on friendship would be complete without e)plorin( of how +en and 0omen
e)press friendship* how to be (ood friends with members of %our own se) and the opposite se) alike.
The differences between the se)es is a complicated topic' and there are alwa%s numerous
e)ceptions to ever% ma5or trend or behaviour. 0henever someone speakin( on the topic of +en or
0omen makes an assertion like 1+en tend do do N2' what the% are actuall% sa%in( is 1Thanks to a
combination of (enetics' upbrin(in(' and the wa% societ% makes use of +en' the ma5orit% of +en will
do N' but rou(hl% $O will do what women do instead' and around another $O to $EO will do &
instead.2 and the same (oes for 0omen.
Social behaviour is one of the places where the two se)es seem to var% the most. And
friendships work ver% differentl% for +en than the% do for 0omen.
Cenerall%' Men tend to form simple' direct' and non-intimate relationships. +en prefer to do
things as a (roup or a team' and (et the rewards of friendship from accomplishin( somethin( as a
(roup' or competin( a(ainst one another. Shared victor%' defeat' silent communication' and the
satisfaction of (roup problem-solvin( are at the core of friendship with +en. +en can form this sort of
friendship with a fairl% lar(e number of others. Social ps%cholo(ists often describe the preferred social
(roup of most men as a lar(e (roup of people with relativel% shallow connections.
+en tend to connect on a personal and intimate level with their friends onl% after a ver% lon(
period of time@ when the% dos so' it is usuall% in the form of sharin( a personal and emotionall%
sensitive problem in hopes of (ettin( advice or help in solvin( these problems.
o/en' on the other hand' prefer deepl% intimate emotional connections. The% look to one
another for support and compassion. Time spent to(ether in the compan% of friends is often a prete)t to
have a conversation' a chance to connect' and to share their feelin(s. This sort of friendship works best
in small (roups and d%ads. Social ps%cholo(ists describe the preferred social (roups of most women as
small (roups of people with deep connections.
0hat this means to %ou depends on the relationship %ou are involved in.
:eing a good friend to a /an
To be a (ood friend with a man can often mean simpl% sharin( a common activit%' and en5o%in(
the sense of team or the thrill of competition. Creatin( a deeper relationship is somethin( that takes
time. The currenc% of friendship amon( men is problems and solutions* when %ou come to a man with
a problem %ou have and ask for advice it is a si(n of (reat esteem and respect. These (enerall% start as
advice sou(ht in %our common activit%* how to do a better 5ob' compete more effectivel%' or work out a
better strate(%. "ater on the% ma% evolve to problems of a personal or emotional nature.
8ushin( for that intimac% b% askin( after a manAs problems' or sharin( too soon can break trust.
,f %ou want a man to become an open friend' %ou have to allow it to happen or(anicall%. Friendships
amon( +en are slow-(rowin( most of the time.
Sharin( feelin(s or personal problems is difficult for the avera(e man. ,t is somethin( the% onl%
do with a person whom the% see as wise' trustworth%' and decent. 0hen a man approaches %ou with a
deepl% personal problem it is a si(n of the utmost respect. ,t is also a moment of incredible
vulnerabilit%' and if their problem is handled disrespectfull%' it will si(nal the end of the friendship.
Thankin( a man for sharin( can ensure that he will trust %ou to do the same a(ain in the future.
"ikewise' askin( a man for advice on a personal problem is the surest wa% to make them feel
respected. ,t will allow that man to feel comfortable in the future of he needs advice on a problem of
his own.
,t is worth notin( that this means that +en onl% form their deepest friendships in times of pain'
distress' challen(e' and hardship. +en alwa%s respect and trust with those who have seen them thou(h
hard times. 8eople who are onl% around in fair weather almost never (et to know the men around them
as friends in a meanin(ful wa%.
,f %ou are a woman and want to be (ood friends with a man' %ou need to be ver% careful about
pushin( too hard with a man to tr% and (et him to speak about his feelin(s. 0hen %ou tell a man a
secret or deepl% personal thou(ht' remember that he ma% not share in return : or he mi(ht offer advice.
This does not mean that he is re5ectin( %ou' 7uite the opposite* if %ou did so without pushin( him to tell
%ou somethin( back' he probabl% feels ver% respected and honoured that %ou shared with him' even if
he isnAt showin( it in a wa% %ou are comfortable with. DonAt be surprised when he comes back to %ou
and shares a problem of his own later on.
:eing good friends %ith a %o/an
To be a (ood friend with a woman re7uires %ou to be willin( to share %our personal thou(hts.
As %ou spend time around women the% will share little thin(s* personal thou(hts' opinions' and feelin(s
with %ou. The currenc% of friendship amon( women is intimate details and reciprocit%* when the% share
these thin(s about themselves the% are showin( that the% are lookin( for a connection. The% are hopin(
that the person the% are sharin( with will tell them how the% a(ree with or appreciate the thou(ht the
woman shared' then respond with a similar thou(ht and feelin( of their own.
At first these little details of a womanAs inner life tend to be simple* personal opinions' stories
about her own e)perience' feelin(s about a topic. As %ou share in return' she (ets to know and
understand %ou better' and in doin( so' can come to trust %ou more. The details become more private
and more important to a woman as she shares with %ou.
There are ri(ht and wron( wa%s to share these feelin(s. 0hen the% come in the form of an
ar(ument' when the% mi(ht make %our friend feel 5ud(ed' or if %ou present them in a wa% that makes it
sound as if %our opinions or feelin(s are the onl% ri(ht ones' it shuts down the womanAs willin(ness to
enter into dialo(ue with %ou : she loses trust that %ou will treat her feelin(s with respect.
"ikewise there is a ri(ht and a wron( wa% to accept them* when women share feelin(s and
personal opinions' the% feel vulnerable@ it is a risk the% take in the name of for(in( an emotional
connection. "ettin( them know that %ou hear their feelin(s and appreciate them is incredibl% important
to helpin( them return to that state of comfort.
For women' formin( a friendship is a process of carefull% testin( the waters with another
person' sharin( more and more important secrets until she can feel safe sharin( the thin(s that are most
important to her' her deep personal feelin(s. ,t can happen slowl% over man% conversations to(ether or
almost instantl%' dependin( on how willin( the other person is to share' and how closel% their feelin(s
and opinions match.
The hi(hest compliment a woman can pa% %ou is to share somethin( she considers a secret.
Acceptin( and keepin( a womanAs secrets creates a level of intimac% that is sacred.
,f %ou are a man and want to be (ood friends with a woman' %ou need to understand that her
feelin(s have a totall% different meanin( to her' than %ours do to %ou. 0hen she shares them' she isnAt
necessaril% askin( for advice. She wants to know that %ou see her for who she is and value her feelin(s'
even if %ou donAt a(ree with them. Tellin( her %ou understand and care about her feelin(s is the best
wa% to make her feel safe and comfortable. Askin( for her feelin(s or opinions on a matter can often
help her feel safe in sharin( them with %ou. The one thin( she is not lookin( for' usuall%' is advice on
how to solve her problems. For her' 5ust lettin( (o of her pent-up feelin(s be% speakin( them out loud is
often all she needs.
Dysfunctional Friends
%n insincere and evil friend is more to be feared than a ild beast, a
ild beast may ound your body, but an evil friend ill ound your
- Buddha
There are two kinds of +an-0oman friendships that happen between people who donAt
understand how different friendships work that , also wanted to touch on.
The first is often called the :eta $rbiter in +enAs circles. A Beta 6rbiter wants to (et into a
romantic relationship with a woman' but she is either involved with someone else' or he is afraid to
approach her. Rather than findin( the coura(e to let her know how he feels' a Beta 6rbiter becomes
friends with the woman he desires. He often (oes out of his wa% to help her without askin( for return'
and is usuall% incredibl% 1;ice2. Secretl%' the Beta 6rbiter believes that eventuall% his female friend
will fall in love with him' or b% sta%in( close to her' he will find the perfect moment to brin( her into a
romantic relationship.
The fact of the matter is that the Beta 6rbiter is prone to a lot of ver% confused and mi)ed
feelin(s that can taint the friendship. Because he wants her romanticall% and se)uall%' he is not
acceptin( her feelin(s and secrets in a spirit of (enuine no-strin(s acceptance' which violates the sense
of trust in which the% are (iven. To a woman' a man who secretl% wants to be in a relationship with her
has built their friendship and trust on a lie.
Because he spends so much time pretendin( about his feelin(s' most Beta 6rbiters lose si(ht of
what the% honestl% feel' and make a habit of l%in( about or i(norin( their feelin(s. ,t erodes their abilit%
to have inte(rit% and to be honest with themselves. ,n time it also makes it hard to trust themselves'
which destro%s confidence and initiative.
Beta 6rbiters are particularl% prone to nice guy syndrome. Dr. Robert Clover-s Book ;o +ore
+r. ;ice Cu% describes the men in detail' but the short version is this* a %oun( man comes to believe
that his (ood behaviour is keepin( up his end of an unspoken contract. ,n return' he believes that the
people around him oe him love' respect' etc. He feels entitled' on some level' to respect from the
women he has become friends with. He ma% also feel entitled to her love and se) from her.
0hen he doesnAt (et that respect' love or se)' he becomes frustrated' bitter' and eventuall%
an(r%' which makes it impossible for him to accept an%thin( a woman shares with him in (ood faith.
He often becomes passive-a((ressive' or fakes feelin(s to (ain more acceptance and closeness to
others. ;ot all Beta 6rbiters are ;ice Cu%s' but there is a stron( correlation.
0hether or not an 6rbiter is also a 8ice 1uy' he is not comin( to his friendship or bein( a friend
in a (enuine wa%. He is also wastin( his time in pursuit of a relationship that can never (ive him the
love and trust he needs@ his own actions have made that impossible. His best shot at happiness is to
come clean' let himself fall out of love' and find someone new he can be authentic with about romance
and se)ual desire. ,f heAs luck% he can salva(e his friendship' if not' he is still better off without it' than
bein( trapped in a relationship that is de(radin( his inte(rit%.
The other side of the coin is discussed much less' and usuall% (ets tan(led up with all sorts of
other problems. For the sake of ar(ument , will call them :oy (ollectors.
Bo% Collectors form friends with a lot of men around them. The% are often ver% (ood at makin(
men feel comfortable and at ease. The% often end up with a lar(e collection of 1(u% friends2 that the%
can rel% on to (ive advice' help them handle problems' or listen 7uietl% and receptivel% to their feelin(s
whenever the Collectors need them to.
This in and of itself would not be a bad thin(' e)cept that the Bo% Collector is (ainin(
ever%thin( she wants' but (ivin( little in return. She usuall% does not respect her male friends' and is
ver% 7uick if one of them does share an emotional problem to tell him to 1+an !p2. She believes that
because men donAt need the same emotional validation and (ive-and-take as women do their feelin(s
simpl% donAt matter. The% are off the hook to help men in times of hardship and distress.
Bo% collectors (enerall% donAt have much respect for men@ while the% ma% be perfectl% happ%
5oinin( in in +enAs (roup activities' pla%in( on teams' etc.' the% donAt 7uite think of men as real people'
with real valid feelin(s and needs.
+an% Bo% Collectors have poor boundaries with their male friends@ the% tend to (ive mi)ed
si(nals' and attract Beta 6rbiters ver% easil%. 0hether or not the% are aware that the Beta 6rbiters want
to be 1more than friends2 is not important@ often when the% are aware of it' the% take advanta(e of it b%
makin( more and more comple) re7uests for support out of a Beta 6rbiter' while bein( aware that she
will never have to reciprocate his feelin(s.
+an% Bo% Collectors (et tan(led up in the entitlement princess syndrome@ the belief that the%'
as women' are special' and have a ri(ht to use' lead on' tease' and discard men. The% will often marr%
or have children b% passive men like Beta 6rbiters' and then divorce them as soon as the% (et a better
offer. ;ot all Bo% Collectors are 9ntitlement 8rincesses' but there is a stron( correlation.
0hether or not she is an 9ntitlement 8rincess' a Bo% Collector is not comin( to her friendships
with respect* she is treatin( her male friends more as assets than people' and takin( advanta(e of a
blend of the wa% +en make friends and male cultural pro(rammin( to create a (roup of people who
will support her for no return. 0hen men come to understand this the% usuall% feel violated and
Se7 5etting in the ay
, canAt write male<female relationships without soundin( off on the debate as to whether men
and women can (enuinel% be friends. ,n the movie When 6arry 7et "ally' Bill% Cr%stalAs character
delivered the famous line* 7en and omen can try to be friends, but the se& thing ill alays get in
the ay$ and since then it has been one of our cultureAs most popular matters for debate.
>Actuall% , have alwa%s preferred ;iet3cheAs version* % 7an and a Woman can be friends$
but it helps if there is some physical antipathy beteen them.?
, have chan(ed m% mind on this topic a few times over the %ears' and now , have come to
believe that se) doesnAt enter into it unless %ou are willin( to let it become a factor. ,Ave been workin(
with some relationship writers who have done the friends-with-benefits thin(' hook-ups' and fuck-
buddies' and what the reall% self-aware ones have said' is that it is all about settin( %our boundaries.
Se) onl% makes friendship impossible if %ou let it. , have seen it make friendships impossible because
of ridiculous views about relationships >like the Beta 6rbiter? and , have seen people have se) and
remain perfectl% (ood friends with no si(nificant emotional complications.
Se) is a Rorschach Test' what %ou see when %ou look at it determines how %ou are (oin( to
respond to it.
*fter%ord: :eing $pen to "our Friends
#n everyone's life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. #t is then burst
into flame by an encounter ith another human being. We should all be
thankful for those people ho rekindle the inner spirit.
- Albert Schweit3er
Friendship is a skill set' and one that can be tau(ht and applied. Tools like ;euro "in(uistic
8ro(rammin( and Co(nitive Behavioural Therap% allow us to chan(e the wa% we respond to the world
around us' at first consciousl%' and then' with practice' automaticall%. ,n the past few posts , hope ,
(ave %ou some valuable tools' whether %ou are a person with (ood social skills alread%' or someone in
need of a little e)tra help.
, wanted to end this book with a sin(le' all-important final note* be open to receiving from your
Be open to the help the% can (ive %ou. Be open to bein( cared for. Be open to the idea that %our
friends mi(ht find it rewardin( to help %ou with %our worries and problems. Be open to communicatin(
to them' even when %ou feel like shuttin( down.
Throu(hout m% life' , have kept m% cards ver% close to the breast. 0hen , was %oun( , had
friends turn on me' spread m% secrets around' and beat me up. 0e were movin( from a small' ti(ht-knit
school of IL students to a bi( 4unior Hi(h of II@ the 7uickest' easiest wa% for a fri(htened bo% to
make his mark was to bull% and humiliate a bo% who he knew wouldnAt fi(ht back. After the% abused
m% trust to earn their place on the totem pole' , simpl% stopped sharin( with m% friends.
9ven after , worked throu(h a lot of the trust issues , had developed' and could finall% reach out
to people a(ain' there was a lot of ver% ne(ative and self-destructive beliefs that , had created from that
time period* that no one wanted to hear m% problems' that pain and 5o% ou(ht to be private thin(s' that ,
was on m% own and had to work out m% problems m%self' and that too much talk would bore othersF
and these beliefs ultimatel% led me to be ver% closed to friendship.
, certainl% had no problem makin( friends' , have alwa%s' despite the various challen(es ,Ave
had to work throu(h in m% life' been able to put other people at ease and become friends with them. ,
was happ% to listen to othersA problems' to 5ust be a soundin( board or someone to vent to' and , was
happ% to tr% and (ive the best advice , was capable of when people asked it of me. 0hen it came to
sharin( m% own tribulations' thou(h' , closed up. ,n the end , treated friends as people # could do
things for' which is not what a friend is.
Friends are neither people # can do things for, nor people ho do things for me@ the% are people
we share lives with for our mutual (rowth and happiness.
Because , treated friends as people # could do things for' , ended up closed off. , dealt with the
troubles in m% life poorl%' and , was unhapp% most of the timeF not to mention bitter' ne(ative' and
sick. This meant' amon( other thin(s' that , was not in a position to (ive (ood advice' or be the comfort
, could have been to m% friends had , been in better emotional health. ,t also meant , was sufferin(
needlessl%' because , had a (roup of people who would have liked to do for me what , was alwa%s
doin( for them' and in the process , could have staved of depression' an(er' and a lot of virulent
ne(ative self-talk that held me back for a lon( time.
B% bein( closed' , also (ave m% friends a constant subtle insult* , refused to hold m%self to the
same standards as them. ,f , thou(ht , would be burdening others with m% own thou(hts' feelin(s' and
problems b% sharin( them' then b% the same lo(ic , should have been considerin( m% friends a burden.
, didnAt consciousl%' of course* we all have innate inconsistencies in our worldviews' to me' other
people' bein( on some level better than me' didnAt burden others with their problems. Their problems
were of a different' better class of problems than mine. , donAt know who detected this and who didnAt'
but , am positive it made me come off as cold' aloof' and arro(ant at times' and artificial at others. , can
think of a couple of times when , (ot called on it@ , am (rateful to this da% when people for(ave me for
m% occasional outbursts of rotten attitude.
Friendships are at their best when %ou are open in them. , am fortunate now to have so man%
lon(-term friends who have been able to see me chan(e into the person , am now' and to have made so
man% new friends in the past couple of %ears who have been able to know me in a trul% open' (ive-and-
take friendship.
6ne half of Friendship is simpl% showin( up. Be open and present with %our friends' and the%
will chan(e %our life.
.eadings in Friendship
, would like to offer here a list of the works , feel have done the most to inform me and inspire
me in the creation of this te)t.
Frogs into Princes
6ne of the 9arl% and definitive works in ;"8' this book teaches the art of rapport' developin(
authenticit%' and communicatin( with people in their own modes of thinkin( b% observin( how the% act
and speak. ,t also includes techni7ues for raisin( confidence and comfort in social situations.
Crinder' 4ohn and Bandler' Richard. Fro(s into 8rinces* ,ntroducin( ;euro "in(uistic 8ro(rammin(.
Real 8eople 8ress* Boulder. $LKL
5od;s Debris: * 2hought E7peri/ent
Scott Adams fuses ps%cholo(%' philosoph%' and (nostic m%sticism into a sin(le dialo(ue about
the nature of human consciousness' includin( the nature of our relationships with one another and how
we can transform our planet.
Adams' Scott' Cod-s Debris* A Thou(ht 9)periment. Andrews +c+eel* Jansas Cit%. #$
2he <appiness <ypothesis
4ohnathan Haidt e)plains what modern ps%cholo(% teaches us about human happiness* what it
is and how we create it' or unintentionall% work awa% from it. He also shows how ancient teachin(s
have essentiall% tau(ht the same wisdom all alon(.
Haidt' 4ohnathan' The Happiness H%pothesis* Findin( +odern Truth in Ancient 0isdom. ;ew &ork*
Basic Books. #G.
2he <appiness Sho%
A free pro(ram on happiness and human well-bein(. Available for online viewin( at
http*<<< The happiness show focuses a (reat deal on the power of friendship and
human relationships on our abilit% to be happ%.
6rte(a' Ceor(e@ Jetchian' "ionel@ Co(et' A%mee' and Claudia B. >hosts?* *he 6appiness "ho. The
9thical Culture Societ% of 0estchester and Ceoer(e 6rte(a. #3-#G.
<o% to (on=uer Difficult People
A book on how to keep a positive outlook and use simple methods to enhance %our social skills
in order to make people who were previousl% unfriendl% and difficult into people with whom %ou can
be friends.
Brons' Randin' How to Con7uer Difficult 8eople* 0in and Chan(e the Hearts of 8eople 0ho +ake
&our "ife +iserableP Rhema ,nternational* Qancouver. #I.
<o% to in Friends and Influence People
The definitive work on treatin( social (races as skills %ou can hone with practice. Dale
Carne(ie created one of the most effective anal%sis on human relationships' how the% are formed' and
what power the% have. His focus was on developin( the character and attitude that would make findin(
friends eas%.
Carne(ie' Dale' How to 0in Friends and ,nfluence 8eople >reissue edition?. Simon R Scheuster* ;ew
&ork. #L.
Is 2here *nything 5ood *bout Men>
Social 8s%cholo(ist Ro% F. Baumiester describes the different roles of +en and 0omen in
culture throu(hout histor%* wh% the% act differentl%' choose different professions' and have different
relationships with their emotions. He describes how +en and 0omen form different kinds of
friendships' and (ain different thin(s from friendship.
Baumeister' Ro% F.' ,s there An%thin( Cood About +enM How Cultures Flourish b% 9)ploitin( +en.
6)ford !niversit% 8ress* Toronto. #$
2he &1Factor
This book breaks down much of the thou(ht on likabilit% from previous (reat thinkers on
success and influence like ;apoleon Hill and Dale Carne(ie and develops them into methods for
understandin(' developin( and enhancin( likabilit%.
Sanders' Tim' The "ikabilit% Factor* How to Boost %our "-Factor and achieve %ou "ife-s Dreams.
Three Rivers* ;ew &ork. #G
&o+e is the !iller *pp
Tim Sanders describes how compassion' friendship' and empowerin( others is the ultimate
strate(% for success in business.
Sanders' Tim' "ove is the Jiller App* How to 0in Business and ,nfluence Friends. Three Rivers 8ress*
;ew &ork. ##
?o More Mister ?ice 5uy
Robert Clover-s seminal work' ;o +ore +r. ;ice Cu% details the 8ice 1uy "yndrome that
man% mend develop when the% develop unhealth% ideas about how love and friendship work*
especiall% how the% form unspoken contracts with others.
Clover' Robert' ;o +ore +r. ;ice Cu%* A 8roven 8lan for Cetti(n 0hat &ou want in "ove' Se) and
"ife. Runni(n 8ress' 8hiladelphia. #3
2he #1 Irrefutable &a%s of &eadership
4ohn C. +a)well-s book The #$ ,rrefutable "aws of leadership teaches us how to be curious'
(enuine' and authentic in all of our dealin(s in order to attract the friends and support we need to be
trul% (reat leaders.
+a)well' 4ohn C.' The #$ ,rrefutable "aws of "eadership* Follow Them and 8eople will Follow &ou'
Revised and !pdated 9dition. Thomas ;elson* ;ashville. #I
&ooking for More>
Dear Reader'
, hope %ou have en5o%ed this book' and that it has helped %ou enrich
%our life b% stren(thenin( the bonds of friendship that %ou alread% en5o%' and
brou(ht more friends into %our life.
, have dedicated m% life to helpin( people like m%self' who have stru((led to reach their
potential thanks to depression' uncertaint%' sh%ness' and the deep emotional pain that can come from
bull%in( and se)ual trauma. , want to help others learn as , have to la% down their burdens' and finall%
live the life that the% were meant to live* one that is vibrant' e)citin(' passionate' and full of 5o%.
Friendship is one of several fields of e)perience that ,' and man% of the people , serve have
stru((led. 6thers include mana(in( time' mana(in( stress' becomin( a leader' buildin( a happ%
marria(e' becomin( assertive' findin( a relationship with masculinit%' learnin( to accept m%self' and
learnin( to love. , am devoted to offerin( 7ualit% resources to an% who are stru((lin( in these fields'
and on m% websites %ou will find books' pro(rammes' articles' reports' and e)ercises for problem areas
in all of these fields. ,n time , hope to create books like this one for all of the fields above.
, hope that %ou will help me in m% life-s mission b% visitin( m% web sites' e)plorin( the
resources , offer' and if %ou en5o% them' offerin( me feedback' so that , can create even better ones in
the future.
?e% orlds (oaching
The website of m% life coachin( business for creative people. 0here , help stru((lin( artists'
crafters' and writers turn the hobbies and pro5ects that the% are passionate about into a self-sustainin(
wa% of life. http*<<newworldscoachin(.ca

2he ild Man Pro@ect
The website of m% 0ild +an pro(ram' where , focus on developin( tools to meet the needs of
+en like m%self b% helpin( the build their self esteem' emotional health' friendships' and romantic
relationships. http*<<
0armest Re(ards'
Brian C. Rideout