One of the books I am now reading is The Friendship Factor by Alan Loy McGinnis. The book was highly recommended by some of my colleagues who found great benefits after reading it.
If you’ve ever wondered why some people are so good at making and maintaining friendships throughout their lives, it could be in part because of their personality. As Dr. McGinnis put it “the friendship factor”.
“People with no friends usually have a diminished capacity for sustaining any kind of love.” Dr. McGinnis wrote. I thought this statement to be powerful because it is true. The inability to make friends and maintain friendships correlates to sustaining love of any kind. Interestingly enough, I’ve seen people who seem to have great personalities and express their love for others, but do not have any real friendship. How is this possible?
Enjoying one’s children, working well on business teams, and having fulfilling marriages, were some of the benefits the book revealed of people who learned how to love their friends.
The book argued that those who failed at business and marriage, perhaps lack important social skills. And some questions must be asked to determine whether our friendships impedes or encourages our social lives. Dr. Stephen Johnson who was mentioned in the book, suggests asking ourselves these questions about our relationships.
- Do you have at least one person nearby whom you can call on in times of personal distress?
- Do you have several people who, you can visit with little or no advance warning?
- Do you have several people with whom you share recreational activities?
- Do you have friends who will lend you money, or those who will care for you in practical ways when the need arises?
The idea for friendship is not to have so many friends that no real relationships can be constructed. Maintaining a strong relationship with a few people is hard, particularly when time is our most limited commodity.
The book shared five ways to deepen relationships as follows:
- Assign top priority to your relationships. Being intentional about the relationships that matters to us, will help us get better at maintaining them. Using some of the above suggestions will help uncover what priorities should be placed on our relationships.
- Cultivate transparency. Living a “maskless” life bring us closer to those we care about. It also draw others closer to us. When we are transparent about ourselves, we are in many ways expressing our human nature to reveal ourselves. We learned that others are more transparent to us when we ourselves become transparent in our relationships.
- Dare to talk about your affection. “For fear of feeling sentimental, many of us hold back expressions of warmth and thereby miss out on rich and profound friendships”. We tend to shy away from expressing our emotion because of what we think the other person might say or feel. More often than not, others are eager to hear about our affections towards them.
- Learn the gestures of love. Understanding these gestures of love cannot happen without acknowledging that it’s kind of a ritual in many ways. Doing the same thing on schedule with those you care for deeply is an establishment of such gesture. Practicing having lunch together, doing something meaningful for the other can stock good memories of a friendship. Other gestures can include gift giving, acts of kindness and simply finding ways to show love.
- Create space in your relationship. Giving others room to grow is an expression of care. Letting others be and express freely who they choose is a form of space they must have to develop the relationship.
I’ve certainly gain a lot from reading the book so far. I would strongly encourage you to read it. I will be sharing another piece as soon as I complete reading. I can see you easily getting to completion before me.