Point ONE: Making Friends
Understandably, making friends is often one of the hardest things to do. Now keep in mind, I said friends, not acquaintances, not drinking buddies, not gym friends. FRIENDS. Like the show, “I’LL BE THERE FOR YOU!! CUZ YOU’RE THERE FOR ME TOO!!” I have found that all too often people become content with the superficial and unfounded friends that they have surrounded themselves with. Similar to why couples will stay in a relationship they both KNOW isn’t working out. It’s comfortable. But the real value in life comes from the strong relationships you’ve had. For instance, try now, to think of your closest friend you’ve had in your life. Most likely an immediate swell of happiness, memories, frustration, anger, love, hate, and nostalgia will come to surface. This is no accident. It is simply the outflow of the emotions you have been storing up and have associated with that person in your mind. Why don’t you have more friends like that? Why only so few? THESE questions are precisely the ones I am trying to answer with my first point here. The Friend Multiplier Rule.
Often I have noticed that people become frustrated with their own inability to turn those superficial relationships into strong, lifelong ones; I know I have. But a conclusion I have come to recently is that there are some very basic pillars a friendship must be built upon. The Friend Multiplier Rule states that there are three types of things two people must have in common in order to create a fulfilling relationship.
The FIRST pillar, is Situational-Commonalities. Obviously, you must be in the same physical vicinity to become friends with somebody, duh. But that’s why it’s the first pillar; it is the most important. You must have some physical “excuse” to see this person often. It may be that you go to the same gym, work at the same place, go to school together, or have the same karate teacher. Without this “excuse” even a relatively strong friendship can fall by the wayside. Ever had a good friend move away and you hardly ever talk to them again? If so, then you know what I’m talking about.
The SECOND pillar, is Action-Commonalities. In order to make that situational congruency worth something you have to have something in common with the person. But more specifically, you have to have something in common that you like to do. It isn’t enough to work with someone who likes the same kind of music as you. In order to build that relationship, they have to like going to the same kinds of concerts as you. This can then lead to increasing your Situational-Commonalities and strengthen the relationship. These first two pillars must be present in order for a higher-level friendship to be built. You will find that after a while, this next pillar will make the difference between a drinking buddy or a gym friend, and one that survives a lifetime.
The THIRD and final pillar, is Value-Commonalities. So, sure you like to go to bars together and talk about the opposite sex, but where do that person’s values lie? Are they stubborn or easy going? Are they compassionate or aggressive? Basically, ask yourself, what makes this person act the way they do? And then do your best to find out. During the time you have with them, inquire about their background; family, hometown, school-life, past love life, type of music, etc. By asking about these things the person will gradually be able to open up to you more and more. Their association between you, and opening up will allow them to be more honest with you, and “let you in,” so to speak. Over time, utilizing your Action-Commonalities to ask more questions and find MORE Value-Commonalities, will strengthen the relationship more and more and more. The higher number of Commonalities will act as a multiplier of the friendship. Each additional AC will allow you to find out more VC’s. The more VC’s you share, the closer you get. And so on, and so forth.
When will you know you’ve made it? When you can sit in silence next to the person without even the slightest bit of tension or awkwardness. Sitting in silence=being on the same page with that person, without having to say a word. A page that says, “this is my friend, we don’t have to talk to have fun together, and I’m comfortable here.” Hold onto those relationships, for they are the diamonds in society’s rough.