Jan 29

Knowing her day can be dreadfully tiresome when she mounts her soapbox, there’s much to like and enjoy about her life so far.

When she describes the understandings of her existence and its climactic moments, I compare with other ordinary people as they go through their day, terrified of what may come their way. In my opinion we all take for granted the health of our kids, and our daily gifts. Most of us grew patience when our kids were infants and woke us up at two in the morning, as this has never stopped for my friend.

My friend has challenges most of us don’t. To accept these challenges delivered to us is usually hard to do.

My friend faces her day with an open heart as she shows love and attention to all who surround her.

She has a real flair; her pleasure and excitement are thoroughly contagious. When I walk away from her presence, I feel different, as if I now understand a big piece of her challenges.

In my opinion we all take for granted the health of our kids, and our daily gifts.

Though she does surprisingly little for herself, when those brief moments are implemented they are very well deserved.

She gives to me as if I had been her friend forever and without any ties or expectations. Her best ingredient is her survival.

Jan 29

I’m going to get straight to the point. If you want to exit the platonic zone, you need to focus on two things.

Number one, it can be done. And number two, you must make her jealous. Making a woman jealous is an art. It is one of the quickest and easiest ways to build instant sexual value. If you have any moral hold ups or any mental roadblocks that will prevent you from making her jealous, then continue to listen to the girl of your dreams yap about some other guy that makes her horny. No self-respecting man should allow such emasculating events to occur, but for some reason it happens all the time.

Making someone jealous is one of the quickest ways to establish your sexual value. I can not stress that enough. In the platonic situation, she is use to you showing her some level of romantic attention. And if you don’t think she has an idea that you are interested in her, then chances are you are wrong. Here’s the good part about this one-sided attraction. Even if she doesn’t initially see you as a potential romantic interest, she has no choice but to receive and experience the pleasurable feelings associated with your attraction to her (whether it is obvious or not obvious).

So naturally when you begin to show her that you are now interested in another girl (making her jealous), you end up cutting off her source of pleasurable feelings. She will experience what I refer to as an “unexplainable emptiness” or an unconscious attraction, which means she will feel drawn to you below her natural level of awareness.

The key is to be effective at this whole process.

And this isn’t something that is slick or jazzy. You don’t have to put on a silvery button-up shirt or practice endless comb-twirls to make this work. Her reaction is natural. And you are simply benefiting by having an understanding of how women respond when placed in a certain psychological environment. And it is this specific understanding that will give you a psychological advantage.

If you succeed at this easy task, she will be drawn to you on a level that she can’t quite explain. People watching the whole thing play out won’t know what the hell happened. And you can just giggle to yourself and say: “An unconscious attraction will always be more powerful than a conscious attraction.”

And it is true. It is the reason why people don’t stay on diets. Their deep down (unconscious) desire to keep eating twinkies is more powerful than the (conscious) desire to eat right.

Once you succeed at making this platonic friend jealous (and you learn how in a second) just calmly smile to yourself. Just take a deep breath and relax. Do not jump up and down as if you hit a game-ending homerun in the bottom of the ninth. Do not outwardly react as if you created a loophole in the universal code. She is designed to respond romantically when in the presence of man who sends the right signals.

It’s real simple. If you act a certain way she will desire you sexually.

If you are attracted to a female friend, then this is important to you because the reality is this.

Females love to talk sexually about other guys to their male friends as if he is one of their girlfriends. Not only is this a fact, it’s an indication that you have zero sexual value in the eyes of your female friend.

Here is the deal. If you are listening or passively accepting the emasculating (balls-removing) act of being radiated by her lusting over another guy, then things are much worse than you think. Many times a woman will say to their male platonic friends “I think he might be good in the sac!” with wide-eyed excitement as if you care.

Many girl’s treat their platonic friend’s like they are girls.

I’m not sure why it works this way, but if you have no sexual value with a particular female, you almost assume the “energy of a female” by default. If you want this female friend, it should offend you when she yaps to you about another guy.

Let’s talk about how to reverse this process. Chances are you are a perfectly straight male that loves women. You just want to figure out if it possible to get this special female attracted to you.

The truth is it is possible. In fact is happens all the time and it happens quite naturally. It is not a strange event when a girl develops a “sudden interest” for a male friend shortly after he has moved on with his life after years of endless pursuing. It’s also quite common for her to even “aggressively pursue” him as soon as he enters into a loving relationship. Now all of a sudden she wants him.

While it may be easy to label her as evil, the truth is she is simply responding in a very predictable way as a result of being placed in a certain psychological environment. And any rate, let’s discuss how you can purposely bring out this “sudden interest” in a girl.

Because from this point on you are going to be prepared.

The first step is very critical. If you do it the right way, you will feel the momentum switch back your way. In addition to that you end up initiating the process of having her experience a loss of pleasurable feelings as you place your attention (what she craves) in another direction.

Women will always love attention. This is going to be your first “momentum tool”.

On an execution level, here is what you do. The next time she does her sexual yapping (or anything that reveals that you have no sexual value), just remain calm. You don’t have to externalize your emotions. You will be more successful if you just calmly let her speak. Let her get it out of her system. And when it feels like it’s your turn to talk, you can calmly introduce your story.

It is a special way of making her jealous.

STEP 1:
Make sure when you mention this other girl it flows naturally in the conversation. You don’t want her to think (know) that you have an agenda. You can say something like “Oh yeah, that reminds me, there’s this new girl that moved in down the street…” and then smoothly deliver you story.

STEP 2:
Build up the value of the girl in this story. Make her incredible. If the girl isn’t special, than your story isn’t going to have the right affect on her. You have to let her know that this girl is slightly better. Basically, you are going to put her in a competition that she didn’t sign up for. And because all women want the attention to be on them she’ll be literally forced into a competitive mindstate. It’s ok to laugh. Remember, to her you are innoscently recalling a past event/experience with another female or you are telling her about a “new girl” that you just discovered. You are just sharing your joy. Give the friend specific reasons why the “special girl” is better than most females (her). Talk about her breasts, her butt, her personality, her eyes, her amazing smile, anything. Pretend that it is your mission to get the friend to say to herself “Ok, that’s enough! I want you to talk about me!” The good thing about this step is that you don’t have to wonder whether it will work. I’m going to assume that you know that this will happen eventually if you do it the right way.

STEP 3:
Repeat Step 2. It is a must that you do this way past the point where she begins to want you to start talking about her. You got to make her feel uncomfortable. And you must extend this discomfort for awhile. Jealousy always involves discomfort. If you ever been jealous over a girl, you know that it always increases your attention (magnifies your focus) on the girl you were jealous over.

You may not realized it, but is also increased your attraction to her. Most women are natural experts at doing this.

STEP 4:
If your particular story allows for it, make sure there is an event where a bunch of guys are admiring this special girl. For example: “This new girl moved in my neighbor yesterday. She gets out of her car and three guys stopped what they were doing and just starting staring at her with their tongues hanging out of their mouths. It was like she was walking in slow motion…” You want her to say to herself “She must be super hot. All the guys want her” Also, women get in competitive mode very easily when they see a woman sucking up all of the guys’ attention.

STEP 5:
Make this step as believable as possible. So far you have built up the value of this super awesome girl that all the guys want. Now you must show that this girl is attracted to you on some level - even if it appears that you are not aware of it. For example: “It was like she was walking in slow motion. Then she introduced herself to me. I was a little shocked because most hot girls are stuck up. She was very friendly. She then tells me that I reminded her of an ex boyfriend and she starts looking at me weird. I’m not sure if that was good or bad.” As you can see this step is all about sending the message that this girl digs you. It is not about sending the message that you have everything figured out.

That’s it. Don’t expect her to instantly rip her clothes off and give you a blow job. Just be confident that you sent her a set of powerful messages and leave it at that.

And now let’s say that these 5 Steps equal a “session”.

Your goal is to have as many sessions as possible. It doesn’t have to be all in one day. You can spread them out over the course of a few weeks. Your goal is to get her to look at you differently.

So all you are going to look for in the beginning is “something” that makes you go “Aha! It’s working!”

You do not have to worry about what it is specifically. Once you see that “something” you will know. Here is an analogy that illustrates the power of this easy-to-do technique. It illustrates the two phases.

Imagine being in an empty white room with your female friend. The two of you are standing up facing each other talking about whatever. Periodically, you let her know that you are interested in her and each time she smiles and says “I’m flattered, but no thanks”.

Time goes on and now the two of you have been in this room for about 30 straight hours! And about 20-40 times she has smiled and rejected you.

On the 31st hour 4 super hot women (feel free to think of your favorite celebrities) walk in and start immediately kissing and grabbing all over you. They ignore your female friend and they are very much sexually into you. It is almost as if each of them are focused on being pleased by you in some way. This goes on for about 5 minutes and then they leave. You are blown away and can’t believe what just happened. Two hours later, they come back in and this time they step it up a notch. They are literaly doing everything imaginable to you. You name it, they are doing it. All in front of your female friend who is looking very uncomfortable as it this goes on right in front of her face. Then they leave again. They continue this cycle 6 more times and each time they step it up a notch. So now you are in the room with your female friend and 10 more hours have gone by and you haven’t complimented or showed interested in her whatsoever.

Your attention is now on these amazing women and that’s all you are talking about. In fact, the female friend is getting tired of hearing about them.

It should be easy to see that pretty soon your female friend is going to not only miss the attention that you use to show her, but she is going to look at you a little differently. This analogy represents the ideal impact that you want to have on your female friend with your story.

In order to get her, she has to look at you differently. Again, this is something that happens all of the time when guys get tired of chasing the girl or they get a girlfriend and suddenly the female friend changes her mind.

Females change their minds all the time. They’re great at it and to be honest they really do need our help. The entire event of converting her into a girl that sees you as sexually valuable in this example features two phases:

The first phase is the flattery phase. You probably has already executed this. And maybe you still are. This is the process of one-sided attraction.

The good news, is that you have already done some of the work because remember:

“Even if she doesn’t see you initially as a potential romantic interest, she has no choice but to receive and experience the pleasurable feelings associated with the interest that you show her (whether it is obvious or not obvious).”

All you have to do is complete the second phase (the 5 steps) to make her jealous.

The reality is when you tell a story, or watch a movie you have no choice but to place yourself intimately in that story. You become one of the characters. As the movie goes on, your eyes will water. Your heart will pound. You will sweat. When in reality the movie was not real, yet you experienced real biological and psychological reactions as if you were living the scenes in the movie.

By the way, this is 100% fun to do.

When you tell your story she will unknowingly identify (or compete) with the female! So obviously your jealousy-inducing story should make you appear like the man. If you know any “other powerful signals” that women respond to, now is the time to send them in your story.

Make sure the woman in your story is sexually admiring you and you are sexually admiring that female. This creates a two-prong attack. And make sure she is interested and tuned in to your story. Good luck.

One last thing. Make sure you look for that something (a change in how she sees you) that makes you go:

“Aha! It’s working”.

This will let you know if you were successful at capturing her attention, painting the story in her mind, making her uncomfortably jealous/competitive and showing her that the hot girl is attracted to you in some way

Jan 29

About a year ago, I was talking to a friend of mine on the telephone. He had just experienced a big success in his career and wanted to brag. We had a great time cheering and laughing over his big moment. Then as we were wrapping up our phone call, he apologized for gloating to me. I blew it off telling him, “Don’t apologize! Real friends are people that you can cry with during the bad times and gloat with during the good times. Everyone else expects you to be politically correct in your behaviors.” What’s the point of having friends if you can’t be yourself around them?

A friend is someone to cry with during the bad times. Everyone knows how great it is to have a friend during your time of need to cry on their shoulder. In reality, people don’t like it if you cry on their shoulder for very long. So the sign of a real friend is that you can cry on their shoulder until you’re done crying. And if you’re crying too long, your friend will make you snap out of it. They help you to pull yourself back together rather than just give a superficial “There there dearie” and then going on about their lives. You’ll be able to tell real quick who your real friends are during the crisis and uglier times of your life. They’re the only ones still hanging around.

A friend is some to gloat with during the good times. We’re all raised that it’s distasteful to brag and to come across as egotistical. The result is that most of us are afraid to say much of anything positive about ourselves. You’re allowed to celebrate a job promotion, a marriage, or the birth of a child, but it’s supposed to be done with class and style. A real friend is someone that you can call up and spend twenty minutes telling them what an awesome job you just did on a project at work and how you feel so incredibly proud of yourself and they are going to be happy for you. They are not going to chastise you for being arrogant. When you have some serious politics going on at work and you pull of a brilliant career move, your friend is going to cheer with you and laugh along with you as you succeed.

A friend is someone to rage with when life is really unfair. That’s not to say they’re going to help you plot your ex’s murder or anything like that, but when you’re really ticked off and need to vent, they’ll be there for you. You can safely tell your real friends just how angry you are and they’ll help you find ways to dissipate the anger and to eventually let it go. Humor is a wonderful way that friends have of helping us to let go of our anger. Rather then help you plot the murder, they can throw out a few wonderfully witty comments about your ex and get you laughing again. Know matter what it is that you’re upset about, your real friends will be there for you.

A friend is someone to dream with while plotting your goals. Real friends make awesome cheerleaders. They believe in you and in your ability to achieve your goals. Everyone else may be politely disinterested in what you’re planning to do with your life, but your real friends will be thrilled to hear about what you’re doing. They’ll help you to brainstorm ideas and will pitch in to help you make your dreams come true whenever possible.

A friend is someone to pray with for support. We’ve all seen the research and the studies show that the power of prayer is magical no matter who or what it is that you think you’re praying to. The studies also show that whenever two or more people get together to pray, that they power becomes increasingly strong. From my own experience I would like to point out that when you have a real friend pray with you instead of a well meaning acquaintance, that the increased power is so much greater. Yes the stranger helps, but nothing beats the power of a friend’s prayers.

A friend is someone that you can laugh with until you make that funny snorting sound. Only with my dearest friends have I laughed so hard that tears poured down my face. I have shared funny stories with my friends that I’d never share with coworkers and such. Part of it is because with real friends there is a trust level and you know that you have similar views about what’s humor and what’s not. So, you can share jokes that otherwise might not be appropriate to tell the church ladies after service. Real friends laugh together.

My daughter wanted me to add this last one. A friend is someone to burp and fart with because they don’t care if you are a real person. She has determined that the reason her best friend has trouble getting along with the other girls at school is because her friend doesn’t realize that you can’t do that sort of thing in front of people that are only polite superficial surface level friends. My daughter says that because they’re best friends it’s okay if one of them burps or farts in the presence of the other, but they can’t do it in front of anyone else. I suppose she makes a valid point.

I’m not saying you should be a completely trashy mess of bad manners and selfishness around your friends, but at least know that with real friends you can be yourself and they aren’t going to turn their back on you. If you have to walk on eggshells, be on your best manners, or monitor your every word and action, then you’re probably not with a real friend. A real friend is one of life’s greatest blessings, don’t forget to give thanks.

Jan 29

Men and women can’t really be just friends, can they? Of course not. There’s always that pesky sexual tension to contend with. And what about the spouse, spousal equivalent, or boyfriend/girlfriend who’s sure to be jealous? Plus, there’s the biological/sociological nesting imperative that women contend with and the hunting imperative that seems to drive men.

A number of years ago, a landmark study published by Dr. Don O’Meara, a sociology professor at Raymond Walters College, identified the following four key obstacles to the success of male-female friendships

  • The inability to define the relationship
  • A fear of confronting feelings of sexual attraction
  • The inability of both partners to see each other as equals
  • Society’s response to a non-romantic relationship

(This is all of the above rolled into one: What’s going on here? Who do they think they are? They just won’t admit that they’re hot for each other!)

Let’s face it, when you come right down to it – there are just too many impediments and too many inherent differences between the sexes for cross-gender friendship to work. Right?

Wrong, wrong, and double-wrong – at least in today’s world.

Fifty years ago, when Harry met Sally, he was a breadwinner who worked outside the home and she was a stay-at-home mom (or stay-at-home spinster). Harry and Sally had very little in common and very few opportunities to explore their commonality. Their paths never crossed except at a church social, perhaps, or in situations that were specifically created to foster romance and, by extension, procreation and the continuation of the species. (Not the stuff sonnets are made of, perhaps, but good for society.)

That was then. This is now.

21st Century men and women follow their passions inside and outside the home and stand shoulder to shoulder as equals in most situations. In 2002, Harry and Sally work side by side at the office. They argue head-to-head at the boardroom table. They run hip to hip on the jogging trail. They may not see eye to eye on every issue, but they freely debate them in Internet chatrooms.

So today, not only do Harry and Sally have a solid foundation of shared interests on which to build a real friendship, they also have time and space to pursue a cross-gender friendship and a society that encourages them to do so. In fact, experts tell us that in today’s world, men and women in platonic friendships enjoy dozens and dozens of benefits from their relationships.

Interestingly, men seem to get more out of cross-sex friendship. In a study by a psychologist in private practice on Long Island in New York State, men rated cross-sex friendships higher in overall quality than their same-sex friendships. Men reported they most enjoyed talking and sharing with women - something they didn’t do with male friends.

All that sharing that men find so appealing – organic though it may be to women — can be a bit of a drain, so les femmes say they turn to les hommes for a different dynamic. With men, women say they enjoy the lightness of not having to carry someone else’s emotional ‘baggage.’ Women may also derive a sense of safety and protection from their male platonic friends – much as they might from a big brother. Interestingly, women say the chance to learn ‘what guys are REALLY thinking” is the number 1 benefit of cross-gender friendship.

So does Harry WANT Sally? You bet. But if he can’t have her ‘that way,’ friendship will do quite nicely, thank you!

Jan 29

What are friends for and how can a friendship be tested? By behaving altruistically, would be the most common answer and by sacrificing one’s interests in favour of one’s friends. Friendship implies the converse of egoism, both psychologically and ethically. But then we say that the dog is “man’s best friend”. After all, it is characterized by unconditional love, by unselfish behaviour, by sacrifice, when necessary. Isn’t this the epitome of friendship? Apparently not. On the one hand, the dog’s friendship seems to be unaffected by long term calculations of personal benefit. But that is not to say that it is not affected by calculations of a short-term nature. The owner, after all, looks after the dog and is the source of its subsistence and security. People – and dogs – have been known to have sacrificed their lives for less. The dog is selfish – it clings and protects what it regards to be its territory and its property (including – and especially so - the owner). Thus, the first condition, seemingly not satisfied by canine attachment is that it be reasonably unselfish.

There are, however, more important conditions:

  • For a real friendship to exist – at least one of the friends must be a conscious and intelligent entity, possessed of mental states. It can be an individual, or a collective of individuals, but in both cases this requirement will similarly apply.
  • There must be a minimal level of identical mental states between the terms of the equation of friendship. A human being cannot be friends with a tree (at least not in the fullest sense of the word).
  • The behaviour must not be deterministic, lest it be interpreted as instinct driven. A conscious choice must be involved. This is a very surprising conclusion: the more “reliable”, the more “predictable” – the less appreciated. Someone who reacts identically to similar situations, without dedicating a first, let alone a second thought to it – his acts would be depreciated as “automatic responses”.

For a pattern of behaviour to be described as “friendship”, these four conditions must be met: diminished egoism, conscious and intelligent agents, identical mental states (allowing for the communication of the friendship) and non-deterministic behaviour, the result of constant decision making.

A friendship can be – and often is – tested in view of these criteria. There is a paradox underlying the very notion of testing a friendship. A real friend would never test his friend’s commitment and allegiance. Anyone who puts his friend to a test (deliberately) would hardly qualify as a friend himself. But circumstances can put ALL the members of a friendship, all the individuals (two or more) in the “collective” to a test of friendship. Financial hardship encountered by someone would surely oblige his friends to assist him – even if he himself did not take the initiative and explicitly asked them to do so. It is life that tests the resilience and strength and depth of true friendships – not the friends themselves.

In all the discussions of egoism versus altruism – confusion between self-interest and self-welfare prevails. A person may be urged on to act by his self-interest, which might be detrimental to his (long-term) self-welfare. Some behaviours and actions can satisfy short-term desires, urges, wishes (in short: self-interest) – and yet be self- destructive or otherwise adversely effect the individual’s future welfare. (Psychological) Egoism should, therefore, be re-defined as the active pursuit of self- welfare, not of self-interest. Only when the person caters, in a balanced manner, to both his present (self-interest) and his future (self-welfare) interests – can we call him an egoist. Otherwise, if he caters only to his immediate self-interest, seeks to fulfil his desires and disregards the future costs of his behaviour – he is an animal, not an egoist.

Joseph Butler separated the main (motivating) desire from the desire that is self- interest. The latter cannot exist without the former. A person is hungry and this is his desire. His self-interest is, therefore, to eat. But the hunger is directed at eating – not at fulfilling self-interests. Thus, hunger generates self-interest (to eat) but its object is eating. Self-interest is a second order desire that aims to satisfy first order desires (which can also motivate us directly).

This subtle distinction can be applied to disinterested behaviours, acts, which seem to lack a clear self-interest or even a first order desire. Consider why do people contribute to humanitarian causes? There is no self-interest here, even if we account for the global picture (with every possible future event in the life of the contributor). No rich American is likely to find himself starving in Somalia, the target of one such humanitarian aid mission.

But even here the Butler model can be validated. The first order desire of the donator is to avoid anxiety feelings generated by a cognitive dissonance. In the process of socialization we are all exposed to altruistic messages. They are internalized by us (some even to the extent of forming part of the almighty superego, the conscience). In parallel, we assimilate the punishment inflicted upon members of society who are not “social” enough, unwilling to contribute beyond that which is required to satisfy their self interest, selfish or egoistic, non-conformist, “too” individualistic, “too” idiosyncratic or eccentric, etc. Completely not being altruistic is “bad” and as such calls for “punishment”. This no longer is an outside judgement, on a case by case basis, with the penalty inflicted by an external moral authority. This comes from the inside: the opprobrium and reproach, the guilt, the punishment (read Kafka). Such impending punishment generates anxiety whenever the person judges himself not to have been altruistically “sufficient”. It is to avoid this anxiety or to quell it that a person engages in altruistic acts, the result of his social conditioning. To use the Butler scheme: the first-degree desire is to avoid the agonies of cognitive dissonance and the resulting anxiety. This can be achieved by committing acts of altruism. The second-degree desire is the self-interest to commit altruistic acts in order to satisfy the first-degree desire. No one engages in contributing to the poor because he wants them to be less poor or in famine relief because he does not want others to starve. People do these apparently selfless activities because they do not want to experience that tormenting inner voice and to suffer the acute anxiety, which accompanies it. Altruism is the name that we give to successful indoctrination. The stronger the process of socialization, the stricter the education, the more severely brought up the individual, the grimmer and more constraining his superego – the more of an altruist he is likely to be. Independent people who really feel comfortable with their selves are less likely to exhibit these behaviours.

This is the self-interest of society: altruism enhances the overall level of welfare. It redistributes resources more equitably, it tackles market failures more or less efficiently (progressive tax systems are altruistic), it reduces social pressures and stabilizes both individuals and society. Clearly, the self-interest of society is to make its members limit the pursuit of their own self-interest? There are many opinions and theories. They can be grouped into:

  • Those who see an inverse relation between the two: the more satisfied the self interests of the individuals comprising a society – the worse off that society will end up. What is meant by “better off” is a different issue but at least the commonsense, intuitive, meaning is clear and begs no explanation. Many religions and strands of moral absolutism espouse this view.
  • Those who believe that the more satisfied the self-interests of the individuals comprising a society – the better off this society will end up. These are the “hidden hand” theories. Individuals, which strive merely to maximize their utility, their happiness, their returns (profits) – find themselves inadvertently engaged in a colossal endeavour to better their society. This is mostly achieved through the dual mechanisms of market and price. Adam Smith is an example (and other schools of the dismal science).
  • Those who believe that a delicate balance must exist between the two types of self-interest: the private and the public. While most individuals will be unable to obtain the full satisfaction of their self-interest – it is still conceivable that they will attain most of it. On the other hand, society must not fully tread on individuals’ rights to self-fulfilment, wealth accumulation and the pursuit of happiness. So, it must accept less than maximum satisfaction of its self-interest. The optimal mix exists and is, probably, of the minimax type. This is not a zero sum game and society and the individuals comprising it can maximize their worst outcomes.

The French have a saying: “Good bookkeeping – makes for a good friendship”. Self-interest, altruism and the interest of society at large are not necessarily incompatible.

Jan 29

Q. Does a friendship quiz really work?

A. That depends upon what results you are seeking from a friendship quiz. If you are seeking to learn how to become a better friend, then the real results are found more in understanding the lessons that are hidden in the question rather than trying to pick the right answer. In fact, if the friendship quiz is well designed, the answer to each question will be very apparent without even having to guess.

There are certain well-defined traits that make a person a good friend, and there are other “variable” issues that get thrown into the mix.

Some of the well-defined traits include loyalty, honesty, the ability to listen, and the ability to understand your friend’s feelings. A friendship quiz should give you a way to measure whether or not you have those traits.

These kinds of well-defined traits are easy to work into a friendship quiz. What’s not so easy are the “variable” traits that I mentioned. For example, knowing when to “butt out” of your friend’s business is a trait that no friendship quiz can measure. Likewise, knowing when to say “No” to a friend’s request is another vague concept that no friendship quiz is likely to be able to quantify.

The real issue is: Do you actually need to take a friendship quiz to figure out if you are a good friend? Maybe yes, maybe no. If you think of the friendship quiz as a “checklist”, then you can run down that checklist to see if you seem to be meeting the basic requirements.

However, if you “fail” the friendship quiz that doesn’t mean that you aren’t a good friend. A friendship quiz, like any quiz, has a built-in bias since it measures what the quiz’s author thinks are valuable traits of friendship. The author may be all wrong in that the friendship quiz may measure things that aren’t important to you and your friends.

My advice is to consider a friendship quiz as an “entertainment only” device and not something that will cause you to become a hermit if you don’t score 100%.

The best friendship quiz is one that only your head and your heart knows the answers to. Treat your friends like you would want to be treated and you won’t need a friendship quiz to keep score.

Jan 29

In every relationship there will be occasional misunderstandings and hurt feelings. Sometimes we are the one who hurt another person we care about; sometimes we are the one who has been hurt.

Sometimes both people have become very angry at each other, or both feel hurt. Hurt feelings can be the result of a slip of the tongue, a misunderstanding, or a deed committed in bad judgment. Sometimes feelings are hurt deliberately in the heat of anger and regretted later.

If we were the guilty party, we might regret what we said the instant we let the hurtful remark out of our mouths. We might want to apologize right away, but some of us find apologizing about anything extremely difficult, almost impossible.

Sometimes the reason we don’t apologize is because we are convinced that the other person totally deserved our angry outburst. Sometimes the reason we don’t apologize is because we have absolutely no idea that we hurt the other person. And sometimes we apologize very profusely, but we don’t really mean it.

When you sincerely apologize to a friend, it means that you regret causing the other person emotional pain, and you want to work on repairing the friendship.

If you have said or done something that hurt your friend or partner, it is important to acknowledge your loved one’s painful emotions. You can say something like, “I’m so sorry you feel hurt because of what I said. I didn’t mean to hurt you. Let’s talk about what happened.”

In some relationships, hurt feelings and problems are never dealt with. Instead, they get “swept under the rug”. These relationships may look polite on the surface and they may even be long-lived, but they are not really very intimate. There is no deep sharing between the two people and there is no ability to be honest.

If one, or both of you, are feeling very angry with the other, put off your in-depth discussion until both of you are to be calm and levelheaded. But apologize to your friend sincerely as soon as you can.

Once an apology for a particular incident has been extended and accepted, don’t go back and revisit old battles the next time you have a disagreement. Take care of each incident as it comes up and don’t nurse old resentments.

Jan 29

Excerpt From The Relationship Handbook: How to Understand and Improve Every Relationship in Your Life by Kevin B. Burk

It’s natural to want to maintain a relationship with our former romantic partners (assuming that the relationship ended on reasonably good terms, of course). We shared a special bond with them, and they touched our lives and contributed to our sense of self in ways that we cannot even begin to describe. Just because the romantic and/or sexual aspects of the relationship have ended, why shouldn’t we include our former partners in our lives in other roles? If we have mutual friends, or shared custody of children, we will be spending time with our former partners whether we want to or not. Since we had a positive connection with them on so many levels, it should be easy to simply become friends, right? Not necessarily.

In many ways, we demand more of our friends than we do of our romantic partners. Once we’ve made a commitment to our romantic partner, we have certain obligations and duties. We’re expected to support our partners in both pleasant and unpleasant circumstances. Our friends have no such obligations to us. On the other hand, our friends do have to earn the right to be in our lives by supporting us voluntarily. Interested though our former partners may be in staying friends, they may not live up to our standards.

Letting go of our old habits and expectations about our former partners takes time. We need distance and perspective so that we can evaluate what kind of relationship we actually have with them.

I have a client, who we’ll call Alice. Alice has been married three times. Her second husband, Jim, had two sons, whom she raised, and remained close to even after she ended the relationship with their father. Her third husband, Mike, also had a relationship with her stepsons. In many ways Mike became a surrogate father to them. Alice is still very friendly with Mike and his new wife, and socializes with them whenever they’re in town.

Alice recently lost both her mother and a very close friend, both of whom Mike knew well. Alice was somewhat disgruntled that Mike did not make any offers of support to help her through her grieving process. She was also disappointed that Mike did not make any contact with her stepsons when their biological mother passed away. Alice knew that even a phone call from him would have meant so much to them, and yet he didn’t even manage that.

I helped Alice to untangle this group of extended family relationships bit by bit. The first thing we addressed was the fact that even though Mike had been a positive role model for her stepsons, he does not have an actual family connection to them. Alice was their stepmother; Mike was only their stepmother’s husband. As their former stepmother, Alice’s continued relationship with her stepsons is reasonable. While married to Mike, it was appropriate for her to foster a connection between him and her stepsons. However the entire basis of that connection is their shared relationship to her. Both of her stepsons are adults now, and both are married. It’s a safe bet that they know how to pick up the phone and initiate contact with Mike if they want to maintain a relationship with him on their own.

Next, we looked at Alice’s relationship with Mike. Had her mother and friend passed away while she was still married to Mike, she would have been entitled to expect him to provide emotional support to help her through the grieving process. However, now that she’s no longer married to him (and he’s married to someone else), she’s not entitled to expect emotional support from him. Alice needed to adjust her checklists and her expectations in the relationship. She realized that she could no longer relate to Mike as a romantic partner, or even as someone with whom she shares a committed relationship.

Ultimately, she recognized that while she can still maintain a cordial relationship with Mike, he doesn’t meet the criteria she sets for her friends. If he were truly a friend, he would have offered some support to her when she needed it. Since she can’t expect him to be there to support her, she needs to adjust her expectations of the relationship. He’s not someone on whom she can count for emotional support, and that’s perfectly acceptable. Their relationship has evolved. They’re still peripherally involved in each other’s lives; the nature of the relationship is more of a pleasant friendship (Alice described it as “neighborly”). Once she adjusted her checklists, she was able to let go of the anger she was feeling towards him.

Jan 29

Even when we know it’s time to end a romantic relationship, we’re often reluctant to let go of our partners completely. We’ve shared so much of our lives with our partner, it seems almost callous to simply cut them out of our lives— especially if we’re ending the relationship on good terms. It’s natural that we want to hold onto the loving and supportive part of the romantic relationship, and simply let go of the parts that aren’t serving us. This is entirely possible: we can remain friends with our former lovers. We both need to want to build a friendship, however.

If we choose to stay friends with a former romantic partner, we will have to establish new boundaries and expectations in the relationship. The old checklists are no longer appropriate, and it may take some time to make a successful transition to the new relationship. It’s best, in fact, if we do not spend any time together once we’ve officially ended the romantic relationship. A clean break is essential. We need time to separate our life from our partner’s. We need to reestablish our own boundaries and our own identity. And we need to spend a little time mourning the death of the romantic relationship. It takes time for the emotional connections to adjust, and it takes time for us to gain perspective on the entire relationship.

Once we’re ready to spend time with our partner again, we must recognize that any friendship that we build is a new relationship. It is not an extension or continuation of our romantic relationship. We will need to start slowly, and to build up a new level of trust. It will take some time to make sure we’re using the appropriate checklists. We can’t expect the same kind of support or commitment in a friendship as we did in a romantic relationship. By the same token, we may find that we could tolerate certain behavior from a lover, but that we won’t accept it from a friend.

In many ways, friendships are far more demanding than romantic relationships. We look for a higher level of shared interests and compatibility with our friends than we do with our romantic partners. We may discover that our former lovers don’t make the cut as friends—and there’s nothing wrong with that. We have a much easier time letting friends drift out of our lives than we do with letting go of romantic partners.

Jan 29

We used to joke amongst the couples we are close to, “who would get custody of the friends in a divorce”. We are a very close group of friends that met in college around 20 years ago, and have remained close through many of life’s changes and transitions. Never did we think that our joke would have to eventually be addressed.

The day that my best friend told me that her marriage was in trouble was devastating. Here was a couple that we shared our lives with. Her husband and mine had been roommates the same year that she and I lived together in college. We stood up in each others weddings. We were godparents for one of their boys, they godparents to our son. He helped us build our house. We spent weekends together, holidays, birthdays.

Suddenly all that was going to come to an end and I had to think quickly about how I would find balance between two people that I cared about. Through some trial and error, here are some of the things I learned about being a friend to divorcing friends.

A. Listen. It is sometimes very, very difficult, but key. You are not going to solve your friend’s problems, only they can. Allowing your friends to talk about their feelings, or talk through the situation, helps them to start the process of healing. Remember too that as a listener, sometimes the less said the better. Silence can be one of the strongest coach/counseling tools you have in your arsenal. More healing can be done in the silent times than in the talking. Let there be silence when there isn’t anything to say. It is really ok.

B. Focus on the person that you are talking to, not the spouse. My friend couldn’t change her husband’s behavior, but she could change how she was responding to him, or how she internalized the things that he said. These were things she could control and growth she could make. Beating him up behind his back will only go so far in making her feel good.

C. Don’t play favorites. This was the hardest thing for me and continues to be. My best friend was hurt terribly and I instinctively wanted to protect her and validate her. Though I wouldn’t often bad mouth him to her, I would do it to my husband, which made things within our relationship stressful. Even though this divorce was the result of some bad decision making on the part of my friends husband, he was still someone she had devoted her life to for ten years, the father of their children and my husband’s friend. I needed to always keep that in mind. If you have to rant and rave negativeness, it is best to find a third party or write in your journal.

D. Make sure that you do things with your friend that takes his/her mind off their miseries. If you always get together and just talk about the divorce, soon you will get burned out and your friendship will start to struggle. You need to continue to groom the things that made your friendship strong before the marital problems started. Not to mention that your friend is probably eating, sleeping, living the divorce 24/7 and some time off from that will give them a renewed attitude and help them to see that there will continue to be life after their divorce.

E. Find ways to continue traditions and make new ones. My friend and I started to get together for our kids to make gingerbread houses at Christmas time before her divorce began. We still do this and have expanded the day to included going out to cut our Christmas tress and exchange gifts. Even though we know that traditions help to normalize things for kids, they can do the same things for adults and again be a reminder that your friends and family are important.

Divorce is a stressful and difficult time for both the couple and their friends. It is not unusual to hear that friends felt inclined to choose one person or the other because the divorce made things uncomfortable. With a little hard work and commitment, friendships can continue to grow, flourish, develop, and be successful.

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