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Getting Along with People - Part 1

Emotional Needs - Part 2

Making Friends - Part 3

Constructive Criticism - Part 4

Relationship Skills - Part 5

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How to Make Friends


When making friends, understanding how emotional needs work is essential.

Different friends usually meet different needs in your life.

  • You may make a friend who is fun and exciting but who you wouldn’t necessarily tell your deepest secrets. They meet your need for stimulation.
  • Another friend may be less exciting, more plodding but a wonderful listener.
  • Another may be someone you can share intimacies with who makes you feel safe and secure because they are so dependable.
  • Yet another may be a business partner, someone you can share goals and aspirations with, meeting your needs for goals, status, and meaning.
  • And that one person who meets all or many of your needs? Hey presto, it’s your perfect friend or partner!

What makes a good friend?

People will tend to want to make friends with you if they feel you meet some of their emotional needs. If you make them laugh you stimulate. If you look out for them they feel safe and secure. If you encourage them and point out their strengths you give them a sense of control and status. If you share secrets and have private jokes you meet their need for intimacy. Think about what you offer people and what others offer you. Basic emotional needs will always play a part.
Delivering difficult messages well

What about when you need to ‘have a word’ with someone over something you’re not happy about?

A common mistake is to criticize someone as a person rather than complain about something specific in their behavior.

What’s the difference? Well if you feel strongly about something you want to let the offending person know about it. Fair enough. But if people feel attacked something has gone wrong. You want their behavior to change in the future. This is the desired outcome. You don’t want a new best enemy!
How to ‘attack’ someone

Have you ever noticed that when giving negative feedback some people just go onto ‘transmit?’ The recipient becomes someone to be acted upon rather than interacted with.

Sweeping remarks about a person being ‘lazy’, stupid etc tend not to be forgotten even after later apologies, back tracks and claims of ‘I didn’t mean it - I was angry!’

If you attack someone’s identity as a person (rather than something specific in their behavior) don’t be surprised if they go on the defensive. If you have a problem with someone about something they’ve done (or forgotten to do) you can be firm but fair.

Make friends, keep friends

To hold onto the friends you have, keep the way open for good future relations with this person by avoiding causing undue offence. Once you have taken the time to make friends, you don’t want to accidentally drive them away!

Next, use constructive criticism to ensure you keep the friends you make!

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Mark Tyrrell
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