What does it take to get a friend? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
In the comedy series The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon Cooper wants to befriend one of his antagonists in order to get to use the computer at the lab. Sheldon decides to go to the library, get a book on friendship, though written for kids, and extrapolate the principles to a higher level. Most of us kind of laugh at that because to quote the commercial, “That’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works.”
And yet, in some ways, it is. There is a sort of art to making friends. Years ago I read Dale Carnegie’s How To Win Friends and Influence People. One simple rule I remembered from the book was to remember the names of people you meet. Many of us may not realize it, but we do love to hear the sound of our own names.
So when we moved into our new apartment complex, I tried to make it a point to learn the names of the people around me. It’s a small thing, but it does help. I also try to talk to them about the topics that they bring up. I remember a lively discussion outside the pool here once with a lady who was describing how she took a philosophy class once.
Yet overall, there is one simple way to get friends. It’s to be one. Note that this won’t always work. You cannot force someone to do something like that. Friendship has to be a real and genuine choice.
Do you want people to talk to you? Try to talk to them more. I remember growing up in middle school and the highlight of the week was always the same. I was surprised the first time it happened, but grateful after awhile. It’s a shock when you’re that age and the phone rings at the house and someone asks for you. Who wants to call you? (At least if you’re the nerd in school)
It was the Sunday School teacher that I had asking me how my week was. This would happen every week on Friday or Saturday. It became something I looked forward to. When this teacher died unexpectedly one day, it was my first real encounter with death. My grandfather had died when I was two years old so I couldn’t remember that.
There are plenty of people that if you care about this would love it if you would just reach out to them and see how they’re doing from time to time. If someone doesn’t reach out, odds are no one will reach back. Well suppose you reach out and no one reaches back. Oh well. Do you do the right thing to get a reward?
But if they do reach out, that is excellent for both of you. It’s always good to reach out and do something kind to your fellow man just for the sake of doing something kind. However, if you remain standoffish and don’t reach out to people, most people will likely assume you’re not interested in any sort of relationship and act accordingly.
Keep in mind based on my last entry in this, you don’t really need this to work with a lot of people. You just need a few. This is why accountability partners work so well with programs with Celebrate Recovery and others. One of the best ways to succeed in something is get an accountability partner and a mentor. I have a mentor I email every night.
Bottom line again, if you want to get a friend be one. Make the first move.