The Craft of Friendship: How To Be A Friend
I’ll start by telling you guys a secret. I have written and re-written this article a lot in the last week, both in my head on my laptop. I write articles and blog posts for a living and this one makes me really nervous. I think it’s because this topic is so close to my heart and I want to do an amazing job.
By starting my article with a secret about myself, I am beginning what I hope will be a continuing trend of helping you to get to know me better. After you read each of my articles on friendship I want you to feel a little closer to me. A little more like my friend.
We Are Defined By Our Friends
When I think of true friendship, I think of lying under the blankets at a sleepover when I was eight years old sharing secrets about my favorite video games and how gross girls were. When we are children we spend time with other children because we like spending time with them. When I was a child I wasn’t devious enough to try and be friends with rich kids or kids with boats.
In fact the richest kid in my school was my enemy. I went to his house once for a Cub Scout event. He had a three-story playhouse. That’s right. His playhouse was bigger than my parents’ house. And I still hated that kid.
If you want to have a lot of friends, you need to know what friendship really is and then you need to know how to become that kind of person. Friendship is based on trust and shared experience. Both of these things are earned over time.
When you first meet someone, they will test you. You may not have even realized it, but people will start with little trusts and build their way all the way up to huge trusts. So when a guy tells you that he feels fat after you have known him for five minutes, how you react to that simple statement will determine whether he ever talks to you again. More than anything in life people crave companionship and security. If you can provide these two elements to those around you, then you will be surrounded by an army of friends.
So let’s think about how you can be the person who provides companionship. Have you ever been on a long car ride with a buddy and while he was driving you fell asleep because you were just so exhausted? Well if you stayed awake anyways, then you’re the kind of guy that I want to hang out with. A true friend is there when it sucks. I have only ever had one friend fall asleep while I was driving. As I’m sure you know, it made me even more sleepy than if I had been in the car alone. At the time I thought about how much it annoyed me. A few months later our friendship ended after he betrayed me in a major way. That’s the only friendship I’ve ever had end so badly. Looking back, that car ride was the warning sign.
When your buddy is talking, just listen to what he has to say. Even if it’s the most boring story of all time, he will like you more for listening. I know very popular guys who never talk. I love hanging out with these guys. They let me talk all night long and I love the sound of my own voice. There is this idea that you have to always say cool things to make cool guys like you. It’s not true at all. In my life I have gone through the whole spectrum of popularity.
When I was a kid I always lacked for friends. I struggled to fit in. I was the chubby, Jewish nerdy kid. I got into fights all the time. I had a few friends here or there, but the relationships always faded after a few months, sometimes after a big fight and sometimes with just silence. We would slip away. I never really understood it.
One day I decided I wanted to have friends. I studied the most popular guy I knew, Nathan Ells. Normally I never use people’s real names, but this guy taught me every damn thing I know about friendship. I studied him and a few years later I was as popular as him.
I have moved around the world a few times since then and wherever I move, I know that if I walk out my front door I can make new friends. I have had guys fly me around the world to hang out with me, take me the most expensive and exclusive clubs and party with me on their yachts.
The first thing I realized is that when Nathan talked, I wanted to be around him more. He was magnetic. I felt that if I could just capture that magnetism I could duplicate it. I will share that secret with you now. Every time I walked up to him, he would start the conversation with a compliment. Not because he needed anything from me. It was just his way. Because he was so confident and popular it was like manna from Heaven. I couldn’t believe it. He must have asked if my sweatshirt was new at least forty times. He always meant it. It was never false.
The Right Way to Compliment
I always try to slip compliments into conversation with my friends, especially when they are feeling down. It is very important not to compliment too much, because it will make him feel weird. But a couple here and there will go a long way.
Start every conversation with a compliment. If you try this exercise for the next week, I guarantee your life will change. There is one other element to compliments and that is our intent. I never compliment someone to get anything. It takes away the purity. You know when the son tells his mom she looks beautiful and then asks for twenty bucks to go out one minute later, it’s simply disingenuous. We don’t want to be like that.
So practice complimenting people with the intention of making the world a better place. In high school I had a friend Michael who always waved twice when people let him in their lane in traffic. He said that anyone can wave once, waving twice might just make their day.
About Paladin Paladin (Jonathan Green) is a professional social dynamics and dating coach. He has traveled the world changing lives and living his dream. To learn more about living your dreams, visit him at www.organicseduction.com