Do you want to be the person who leaves all your friends asking “When can we hang out again?” The initial motions we go through when trying to be friends with someone is acting really cool or talking about all the awesome things we have done. The simple fact is that doesn’t have long-lasting effects. We can all agree that those first impressions, while important, fade soon after.

My mom always used to say this phrase to my sister and I (usually when we did something wrong but nevertheless.)

If what is important to me is not important to you, then what is important to you is not important to me.
-Marci Dane

I always took that at face value, so basically, we had to do what she wanted to get what we wanted. The other day though I was watching Youtube in the hopes of being inspired and I came across this video – I highly recommend you go watch it after you finish up this blog post.
I found the overall message quite convincing but there was a part near the end that really caught my attention. The speaker was talking about a conversation between him and a friend. He was talking about something very important in his life and at the end of the story he told his friend immediately followed up with “Well you won’t believe what happened to me last week!”
Now a couple of natural thoughts may pop up in your brain.

  1. The friend was trying to one-up him
  2. The friend was trying to change the subject
  3. The friend wasn’t truly listening to listen but rather to reply

Well, you would be incorrect in your deductive reasoning. Don’t worry I had the same thoughts – I believe we all did.
The thing is the speaker and his friend had known each other for years. The speaker knew his friend wouldn’t be attempting to be rude in any way. He was correct too. Turns out the friend was just trying to communicate that he understood how the speaker felt. He was trying to connect in his own way but instead of connecting he actually detached.
This is what everyone means by “but he/she had good intentions.” We approach a situation with our own perspectives and we try our best to fill in the spaces of our friend’s lives. The problem is we don’t try to understand what gives out friends those feelings of fulfillment.
Instead, we assume that what gives us a sense of empowerment will work for them as well. Relationships end far too often because of this and often don’t even get off the ground because of it.
Let’s go on a date. (An example I mean.)
We are sitting there and you are telling me about yourself. You can tell me about how you hunt on the weekends and killed a 12 point buck. That literally would do nothing for me.
In order to even write that sentence about hunting, I had to ask my roommate what a big buck would weigh. (Did you know it is measured by the antlers?)
After that date, we probably wouldn’t go out again. My roommate on the hand, she would want that guy’s number.
Instead of talking about hobbies on a first date may be a better topic of conversation would be, what gets you out of bed in the morning. If your answer is still a 12 point buck then – yeah- we’re not going to work out. BUT if you tell me that you love to see what challenges await you in the day and you can’t wait to grow from them. NOW THAT is someone I would go on a second date with.
This situation can apply to most first encounters and second and third and so on.
Success and popularity are not what make friends. We can use success to impress our parents and popularity to advance our careers but when it comes to long-lasting friendships – we need something else.
The things we see in our own lives that are considered “not normal” are what we need others to connect with; the father who was never around, getting scammed out of your money, or the many other failures we generate over a lifetime. Those failures are what connect us in a deep and human way.
Those meaningful moments of vulnerability and true concession to another – That is the cornerstone of a long-lasting relationship.

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Photo by my friend: Julian