The Time I Lost All My Friends (And How I Found Even Better Ones) Part II
Yesterday I shared Part I of this post, the details of my train wreck in Long Beach Island – the one that resulted in me losing all of my friends, ruining a BMW, and ripping up $1500. You should read that before continuing if you haven’t already. I promised that today I would share how I made my new friends, and most importantly, how I keep them. And actually, these new friendships are better. They’re real and they take work. I like to describe this work as “friendship maintenance”, and without it there’s no point. It takes time. You have to be considerate and thoughtful. For me, this doesn’t come easy. As a matter of fact, I suck at it. I’m lazy and naturally inconsiderate. So if this seems obvious to you – great. For me, it wasn’t.
By the way, this is practical advice. This is stuff you can do tomorrow, or this week. This is stuff that will show immediate results.
- Call Them At Least Once a Month. We have different types of friends. Some are close, some are not as close. Call your close friends more often. But if someone is a real friend that you truly care about, never let a full month go without talking to them. Texting and email do not count
- Plan a Get Together and Invite Your Twenty Closest Friends. Most people don’t have twenty close friends. That’s the point. Generally people have a handful of close friends and then there’s the different “tiers” of friends. To complete this exercise you’ll have to identify people that you can get closer with and want to get closer with. This will also be an opportunity for all of your friends (or acquaintances, or future friends) to get to know each other. It’s better for you when your friendship network becomes larger, but more interconnected with you at the center. By the way, the get together should be at a bar, restaurant, park or somewhere else that fun and laid back. Alcohol and Food work.
- Do Something Different for Their Birthday.It doesn’t matter what it is. Reach out to them. Offer to take them for beers. Send them a handwritten card. Call them. Show them that you remembered. Insist on making a big deal out of it even if they act like they don’t care. More importantly, show them that you care.
- Surprise Visit Them. Think before you do this. Don’t be intrusive and please be timely. A few weeks ago one of my best friends, Jerry, broke up with his long time girlfriend. He was going to be alone in his apartment all weekend with nothing to do except to dwell on his recent shit storm. I grabbed a close friend of Jerry and I, and we made a road trip to surprise him for the weekend. He was thrilled. We took him out for beers, which took his mind off everything. He also realized that he wasn’t alone. He really appreciated it. We became even closer friends.
- Listen to The Good Things Happening In Their Life. Everyone knows that a good friend will be there to listen when things suck. But take note of the following: Listening during the good times is just as important. People want to tell others when something special happens in their life. It could be a promotion. Maybe they saw their favorite celebrity walking on the street today. Maybe they got a new puppy. When something great happens in my life I call my parents or one of my closest friends. Some people aren’t lucky enough to have loving parents. Next time your friend is truly proud, or truly excited about something that has happened to them, they’re going to look forward to telling you.
- Identify Why You Actually Like These People. Sometimes we forgot what it is that makes us appreciate our friends. Write down a list of 20 people. Then write down five qualities about that person that makes you happy. It’s not easy (although some will be easier than others). Do some homework. Go on Facebook and look through their pictures. They might be the person that’s front and center in every pic, and you might realize that you like their outgoing personality. If your friend is Jennifer Lopez you might like their ass. The possibilities are endless. After you’ve thought of five qualities for each person, think of five more. After you’ve done twenty people, do another ten.
Once I really began this approach with my friendships I found that a few things in my life changed almost instantly.
- I Was Happier. The negative effects of my job didn’t matter as much and the positive experiences with my job were much more enjoyable. When I have a bad trading day I can brush it off and look forward to playing basketball at the gym with my buddies that night. When something great happens at work I have some friends to celebrate with for a long weekend.
- I Had More Stuff To Do In My Free Time. It’s simple. When you have more friends you get more invites. I go to bar-b-que’s, bars, restaurants, recitals, shows, parties, graduations, fundraisers, etc. You name it, I’m there. Curling up on the couch and watching a movie by yourself is only fun until you realize that everyone else is out embracing life.
- The Opposite Sex Became More Attracted To Me. It’s true. When you’re happier they like you more. When you’re liked and appreciated by others, it’s easier for the opposite sex to like and appreciate you as well.
- My Network Became More Valuable. I now have more people available to me that I can use as resources. I use them. They use me. We openly acknowledge this fact to each other. It’s okay. That’s what friends are for.
I’m going to go ahead and make a bold statement right now. If you do each one of these exercises over the course of the next week or two, you will immediately feel better about yourself and begin building more fulfilling friendships. Without question.
As a matter of fact, Jerry called me about twenty minutes ago, but I don’t answer phone calls while I’m writing. He was probably calling to brag about the size of his most recent bowel movement. I wouldn’t have it any other way.