How To Make Friends: Part 4 – Your Ideal Friend


So, last week I started explaining the quick, easy framework I use to think about friendship; the one that’s helped me forge amazing relationships and become a much better friend in the last 5 – 6 years.

If you missed that, click here to catch up with part 1, part 2 and part 3.

All up to date? Alright, great.

So, do you remember the quick 5-step process we used to map out our CURRENT friendships (our core) across 5 different levels of intimacy in part 3?

And did you take 10-minutes to run through those quick, simple steps?

You did? OK, awesome.

Because today, I want to talk to you about IDEAL friendships. If our last update was about surveying point A (where we are now) then this one is about charting point B (where we want to end up).

You see, after I’d mapped out my own core, I had to face two tricky questions:

  1. Who’s in my core right now that probably shouldn’t be? and
  2. Who should I fill all these gaps with? (And how?)

And the truth is, I had no idea how to answer them.

I mean, sure, I could just go with my gut. But if my gut was so good at big-picture core management, then I wouldn’t be writing this in the first place.

There had to be a smarter solution.

So here’s what I tried out instead…

First, I sat down and spent an hour brainstorming a LONG list of ALL the qualities that I’d want in my ideal friends.

I looked at my current friends and family as well as the heroes in my life and thought about why they inspired me. I ran through lists of character traits. I thought about the kind of person I want to become.

Next, I narrowed that thinking down to a shortlist of the 7 most important traits that I’d want to find in my friendships. I decided to fill my core with people who…

  • Share my values;
  • Have common goals;
  • Compensate my weakness;
  • Inspire and encourage me;
  • Share my interests/lifestyle;
  • Have bright, curious minds; and
  • Are proactive organisers.

And finally, I used that list of core traits to help me answer our two questions; to help guide my core from point A to point B.

Now, I’ll show you EXACTLY how I worked through that final step in our upcoming updates (including how I worked through some common, thorny obstacles).

But right now, what I’d like you to take away from THIS update is this…

It is almost impossible to achieve ANYTHING in life until you know:

  1. Where you are now (point A); and
  2. Where you’d like to be (point B).

That’s as true of your friendships as it is of any other goal you’re pursuing.

If you don’t know where you are now and you don’t know where you’re going then you’re basically destined to fail. If you just put your head down and charge about randomly then the odds of you ending up where you want to be; the chances of you fulfilling your potential become pretty much zero.

And as we’ve already discussed, our relationships are way too important to our quality (and quantity) of life to let that happen.

There’s no way we’re going to settle for random.

So, here’s what you need to do next…

  1. Make time to brainstorm ALL the qualities you’d look for in an ideal friend – don’t stop until you’ve painted a really clear picture;
  2. Narrow and synthesise that list into no more than 7 non-negotiable qualities you’ll look for in your friendships; and
  3. Think about how you might use those to evaluate your existing friendships as well as how to start making new ones.

DON’T skip straight to step 2 without going through step 1. The trick here is to work your way through to simplicity on the other side of complexity.

DON’T just take my list and be done with it. You may well end up with something very similar, but the main value in the shortlist is how you got there.

DON’T worry if you get stuck on step 3. We’ll get into that, step-by-step shortly.

DO block out some time now to run through this exercise.

DO COMMENT BELOW and let me know what traits you end up with.

DO look out for tomorrow’s update where I’ll be talking about why, what and how to evaluate your current core against your newly clarified point B.

And until then, be awesome, be a great friend and go well.

Keep Reading Part 5 →

Arthur is a productivity coach and writer who helps top young execs and entrepreneurs be more productive, find more balance and live more meaningfully. Want to know more? Take this 2-minute quiz to discover your Productivity Quotient (PQ) and learn how to get BIG things done. Take the Quiz →
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