How to Not Lose Friends and Alienate People


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Do you scream things like, “It’s a Go, a Go, Go!” when you are in your friends’ cars as lights turn green? Do you say things like “in so doing”, “smorgasbord”, or “guesstimate”? Are you disproportionately asked to take a “breather”? Do you say hello to your friends by tickling them behind the ears? Have you been caught trying to let the tips cover your meal when you go out with friends, and when they don’t, blurting out that there just “isn’t enough tip”? Do you ever feel like every single one of your friends don’t like you? Do you feel like they just about despise you? Who doesn’t! Read on to get them to not detest you as much.

Record some of the conversations you have with your existing friends. It would be best to set-up a tripod, with your friends’ permissions, just before your meeting up with them and place it somewhere where your behavior will be able to be easily seen and if permission is not given, somewhere where the tripod can not be easily seen.

Pour over the footage, analyzing your expressions and noting especially every occasion where one of your friends says “Wow, you are so incredibly annoying”. Why did they say this? Was that particular occasion all your fault, or is there someone else you can blame?

Try pinpoint the exact behavior and character traits of yours that makes their skin crawl. Pay special attention to your friends’ expressions: what did you say immediately before the grimaces, the cringes, and the winces?

Keep a notebook while viewing the footage, and write down everything you learn. Do: repeat your summarised learnings to your friends the next time you see them. Don’t: spend 45 minutes talking about how you think Moleskine notebooks are superior to almost any other form of paper ever made and why, therefore, you are a mole and will always be one.

What do your friends make of the findings? Are they annoyed that you recorded them without their permission? Tell them that this isn’t illegal, you have checked, but that you do apologize and that you won’t do it again (allow them to inspect the room for concealed tripods – this will help restore much needed trust).

Do they agree with your observations regarding your behavior that most drives them up the wall? How do they think you can improve? What if you went on courses? What about if you spoke to them only through a human filter of their choosing? And if you went to a Buddhist monastery for a year or two to learn how to be tolerable? This would make it worse, they say? Why do you have such difficult friends? Consider whether your troubles are perhaps as a result of “bad friends”. Don’t blurt out that they are bad friends, even though you probably really want to and have done so many times in the past.

Good luck! It’s not easy, but with this advice, you should be merrily on your way to becoming a natural Bill Clinton type.

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