Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach

Master The Art Of Making Friends

Most of us don’t know how to build strong friendships. That’s probably why the most popular self-help book ever published is about making friends. We need the guidance.

Although Mister Carnegie’s book got a lot of things right, he also happened to gloss over the most important element of friendship.

Vulnerability.

We typically think that we’ll attract friends by being impressive. No surprises there, our society rewards achievement above all else. 

But sharing our successes will only get us respect, admiration and perhaps an enemy or two. It doesn’t earn us any friends.

And why would it? Deep down we all know life isn’t about our achievements. If anything, most people nearing the end of their lives regret working too hard. 

What we spend most of our lives thinking about isn’t work, it’s our hardships. 

How trivial our work is. How deeply we crave the acknowledgement of a distant parent. How alone and misunderstood we feel. How unsatisfactory our romantic relationship can be. And how much we worry about how others see us. 

For fear of being laughed at, we keep our worries to ourselves. Not knowing that opening up about our distress is exactly what will draw others to us.

Our embarrassing moments are more than content for viral videos, they’re gateways to honest and deep friendship. 

Because as luck would have it, we’re all damaged and broken. Pain is the great unifier. It’s the one thing that we all have in common.

There are, of course, wrong ways to share the undignified parts of ourselves. If we express our vulnerability in a heated moment or in hopes of being fixed, we’re more likely to push people away.

If we want to make friends, it’s important to disclose the tricky parts of ourselves with the desire to make them feel more okay about their inelegant sides. 

It’s an act of generosity. Not a cry for help.

If you want to master the art of making friends, remember: failure captivates, success alienates.

By Jeroen Elsing
Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach