April 18, 2022

The Top 10 Tips to Find a Best Friend

Nate LeBlanc

Do you ever feel like you live your life around amazing people and want to feel more connected to them? Or that recent changes over the last few years have made keeping in touch and bonding with new people difficult?

You’re not alone. Many newspapers and magazines have addressed the topic lately. Here’s an article from The New York Times all about it. I’ve had my fair share of friendship ups and downs and wish I had some more friendship advice in my early 20s.

Doorward Thinking is going to be taking a deep look at friendship in both this blog and our podcast over the next few weeks. Listen to our introductory episode, “What is a Friend?” where we talk about the requirements for the pinnacle of friendship!

Of course, all of the understanding in the world doesn’t actually help us do it. This post is a list of the things you need to consider when determining where to place your friendship making efforts.

What this looks like probably differs from place to place: your relationships with family, your romantic interest, coworkers, and other friendship avenues. We need to take that into consideration too. Author Shasta Nelson does a great job of explaining this in her book, The Business of Friendship which we’ll discuss in more detail as the next entry in the Doorward Thinking Book Club at the end of or series.

For now though, here are my Top 10 Tips to Find a Best Friend, starting with #10. Read all the way through to discover the most important tip!

The Top Ten Tips to Find a Best Friend

#10 - Examine Your Fears

Whether it’s making new friends or developing relationships with work colleagues or casual acquaintances, it’s way too easy to let fear hold us back from reaching out to new people in new settings.

Take a step back and see if you can think of counter-examples that disprove your fears. If you can, even though it might be a little nerve wracking, all systems go!

If you’re having trouble, it may be helpful to talk to people close to you and ask them for their honest opinion. Many people find such conversations a friendship booster!

#9 - Give Others a Chance

Sometimes life gets so busy we just don’t feel like we have the time or energy to reach out to everyone under the sun. That’s totally reasonable. Plenty of friendship experts caution against an all or nothing approach though. Many large gestures can lead to friend making burnout (guilty as charged), and withholding friendliness discourages others from reaching out to you. Remember, we’re all people with our own doubts and struggles!

It may be helpful to reach out to a few people with SMALL gestures that aren’t taxing and see who engages with you. You can continue to grow in friendship with those people however it works best from that point.

#8 - Ask Questions

One of the smallest friendship gestures, and my personal favorite, is to be interested and ask a question!

In a world where we are constantly having advertisements, work memos, and bad news shoved in our faces and exploding our inboxes, it’s incredibly refreshing to have someone ask something about me. Flip the script and take the first step by asking that question!

#7 - Think About How You Feel AFTER The Interaction

Feelings in the midst of an interaction can be hard to judge. There’s a lot going on!

Take some time to reflect on what happened and take note of how you feel about the interaction. If you feel peaceful, confident, or genuinely happy afterward (hopefully it’s a mixture of the three) chances are that’s a possible friendship worth exploring further! Use one of the other tips on this list to try taking it to the next level.

#6 - Give Others the Benefit of the Doubt (Unless Proven Otherwise)

One of my favorite tidbits of knowledge from my Psych degree was a little nugget called the Fundamental Attribution Error (or FAE), which generally states when we make a mistake we are quick to chalk it up to our circumstances, but when another person acts in the same way, we’re more likely to attribute their actions to a character flaw.

Doesn’t seem fair, does it?

If someone acts in a way that doesn’t quite mesh with you right away, it’s good to think about being understanding before writing them off completely. If a pattern develops, okay, maybe that’s not the right friendship, but chances are someone was just having a rough day.

#5 - Pray About It

I’m serious! Pew research in 2021 reveals about 55% of US adults pray daily, and about three-quarters of us pray at least monthly, so discussion about prayer is absolutely necessary.

Unfortunately, it’s difficult to study prayer, but some of the limited data we DO have (as mentioned in this CNN article) suggests that spiritual prayer is linked to greater potential benefits than other types of meditation, and that those benefits are most often seen when praying with others.

#4 - Recognize What You Admire About Someone

Maybe we’ve got a good handful of friends but really want a BEST friend. Who do we choose?

It may help to think about what draws us to another person.

Is it their awesome car you get to ride in on the way to dinner? How they make you laugh while telling jokes over drinks? Or their simple way of inspiring you by speaking kindly to the wait staff and everyone else they meet?

Physical qualities and possessions come and go, and feelings are temporary, but admirable character traits are more likely to last.

#3 - Speak Your Mind

Speaking your mind is tough, especially in today’s atmosphere. If you’ve ever watched the original Karate Kid, Mr. Miyagi gives Daniel some great advice as he struggles to whole-heartedly embrace his sensei’s teaching.

“Walk on road. Walk right side, safe. Walk left side, safe. Walk middle, sooner or later, you get squished just like grape.”

Not everybody is going to agree with us, but hey, that’s life. If we don’t say (or do) anything to show who we are deep down inside, we’ll never find others who share our views or are willing to discuss them. sooner or later, we’ll get squished.

#2 - Speak Your Heart

This one is probably a little harder.

If asking someone to join you for 20 minutes at lunch is a simple invitation, really speaking from your heart is graduate level friendship stuff! Sharing a personal difficulty or what fuels a special passion of ours is risky, but such disclosure makes the deepest bonds of friendship possible.

Rest assured though, there is a time and place for such vulnerability, and that time is hardly ever right away. Watch Shasta Nelson’s TED Talk for more on this. Maybe this is the step that makes a good friendship a great one!

And now, the #1 Tip For Finding a Best Friend!

#1 - Know Yourself

Identifying your values, specifying your goals, knowing your likes and dislikes, and awareness of a whole host of personal characteristics is the most valuable resource in your search for new best friends!

Personal awareness allows us to pinpoint who we can build deeper relationships with. It also can help us discover areas where we’d like to grow and identify relationships where growth together is possible.

For more on knowing who we are, listen to our podcast episode, “Don't Be Bird Food”.

Putting It All Together

You may be asking yourself, “There’s a lot of good stuff on that list, but how can I possibly use them all?” It’s tough, but those Greeks thought about everything. Here’s some ancient wisdom.

Pythagoras (yes, the one who you learned about in middle school Math) is attributed to have said, “Friends are as companions on a journey, who ought to aid each other to persevere in the road to a happier life.”

It’s important to remember that friendship isn’t all or nothing, all at once.

In the journey of life, each friendship is a journey unto itself. If a friend is present to aid in our perseverance as we grow, the relationship between them has to be able to grow as well. Shasta does a great job of explaining this process in Frientimacy: the three requirements of all healthy friendships.

As the relationship matures and you learn more about yourself and a friend, you’ll face the decision of whether to proceed towards deeper friendship. If the answer is a resounding “YES!” you’ll also have to decide how it should be done.

There’s not one surefire answer to that decision because each friendship is unique, so keep these tips in your tool kit and use them when you think they’re appropriate!

How do you practice these in your life? Did we miss an amazing friendship tip? Let us know at thinking@doorward.com.

That’ll wrap it up for now. Till next time, go grow with a friend and get back to living!

Post Summary

The companion blog post to our first podcast episode in the Friendship series! Take a look at our list of friendship tips for fostering friendships that age like fine wine.

This article was written, edited and published by members or collaborators of the Doorward Team. Doorward Inc. maintains a positive outlook on the inherent dignity of each: their singular ability to reason and create, to choose and likewise be responsible for their decisions. We defend their best intentions and affirm each person’s freedom to express their own thoughts and opinions and experiences, and to engage in civil discussion regarding them.

This article is meant to be thought-provoking, and is not intended to be specific direction for the topic of this post. Please do your own research and consult the appropriate people for guidance before making a decision related to the topic of this post.

Do you ever feel like you live your life around amazing people and want to feel more connected to them? Or that recent changes over the last few years have made keeping in touch and bonding with new people difficult?

You’re not alone. Many newspapers and magazines have addressed the topic lately. Here’s an article from The New York Times all about it. I’ve had my fair share of friendship ups and downs and wish I had some more friendship advice in my early 20s.

Doorward Thinking is going to be taking a deep look at friendship in both this blog and our podcast over the next few weeks. Listen to our introductory episode, “What is a Friend?” where we talk about the requirements for the pinnacle of friendship!

Of course, all of the understanding in the world doesn’t actually help us do it. This post is a list of the things you need to consider when determining where to place your friendship making efforts.

What this looks like probably differs from place to place: your relationships with family, your romantic interest, coworkers, and other friendship avenues. We need to take that into consideration too. Author Shasta Nelson does a great job of explaining this in her book, The Business of Friendship which we’ll discuss in more detail as the next entry in the Doorward Thinking Book Club at the end of or series.

For now though, here are my Top 10 Tips to Find a Best Friend, starting with #10. Read all the way through to discover the most important tip!

The Top Ten Tips to Find a Best Friend

#10 - Examine Your Fears

Whether it’s making new friends or developing relationships with work colleagues or casual acquaintances, it’s way too easy to let fear hold us back from reaching out to new people in new settings.

Take a step back and see if you can think of counter-examples that disprove your fears. If you can, even though it might be a little nerve wracking, all systems go!

If you’re having trouble, it may be helpful to talk to people close to you and ask them for their honest opinion. Many people find such conversations a friendship booster!

#9 - Give Others a Chance

Sometimes life gets so busy we just don’t feel like we have the time or energy to reach out to everyone under the sun. That’s totally reasonable. Plenty of friendship experts caution against an all or nothing approach though. Many large gestures can lead to friend making burnout (guilty as charged), and withholding friendliness discourages others from reaching out to you. Remember, we’re all people with our own doubts and struggles!

It may be helpful to reach out to a few people with SMALL gestures that aren’t taxing and see who engages with you. You can continue to grow in friendship with those people however it works best from that point.

#8 - Ask Questions

One of the smallest friendship gestures, and my personal favorite, is to be interested and ask a question!

In a world where we are constantly having advertisements, work memos, and bad news shoved in our faces and exploding our inboxes, it’s incredibly refreshing to have someone ask something about me. Flip the script and take the first step by asking that question!

#7 - Think About How You Feel AFTER The Interaction

Feelings in the midst of an interaction can be hard to judge. There’s a lot going on!

Take some time to reflect on what happened and take note of how you feel about the interaction. If you feel peaceful, confident, or genuinely happy afterward (hopefully it’s a mixture of the three) chances are that’s a possible friendship worth exploring further! Use one of the other tips on this list to try taking it to the next level.

#6 - Give Others the Benefit of the Doubt (Unless Proven Otherwise)

One of my favorite tidbits of knowledge from my Psych degree was a little nugget called the Fundamental Attribution Error (or FAE), which generally states when we make a mistake we are quick to chalk it up to our circumstances, but when another person acts in the same way, we’re more likely to attribute their actions to a character flaw.

Doesn’t seem fair, does it?

If someone acts in a way that doesn’t quite mesh with you right away, it’s good to think about being understanding before writing them off completely. If a pattern develops, okay, maybe that’s not the right friendship, but chances are someone was just having a rough day.

#5 - Pray About It

I’m serious! Pew research in 2021 reveals about 55% of US adults pray daily, and about three-quarters of us pray at least monthly, so discussion about prayer is absolutely necessary.

Unfortunately, it’s difficult to study prayer, but some of the limited data we DO have (as mentioned in this CNN article) suggests that spiritual prayer is linked to greater potential benefits than other types of meditation, and that those benefits are most often seen when praying with others.

#4 - Recognize What You Admire About Someone

Maybe we’ve got a good handful of friends but really want a BEST friend. Who do we choose?

It may help to think about what draws us to another person.

Is it their awesome car you get to ride in on the way to dinner? How they make you laugh while telling jokes over drinks? Or their simple way of inspiring you by speaking kindly to the wait staff and everyone else they meet?

Physical qualities and possessions come and go, and feelings are temporary, but admirable character traits are more likely to last.

#3 - Speak Your Mind

Speaking your mind is tough, especially in today’s atmosphere. If you’ve ever watched the original Karate Kid, Mr. Miyagi gives Daniel some great advice as he struggles to whole-heartedly embrace his sensei’s teaching.

“Walk on road. Walk right side, safe. Walk left side, safe. Walk middle, sooner or later, you get squished just like grape.”

Not everybody is going to agree with us, but hey, that’s life. If we don’t say (or do) anything to show who we are deep down inside, we’ll never find others who share our views or are willing to discuss them. sooner or later, we’ll get squished.

#2 - Speak Your Heart

This one is probably a little harder.

If asking someone to join you for 20 minutes at lunch is a simple invitation, really speaking from your heart is graduate level friendship stuff! Sharing a personal difficulty or what fuels a special passion of ours is risky, but such disclosure makes the deepest bonds of friendship possible.

Rest assured though, there is a time and place for such vulnerability, and that time is hardly ever right away. Watch Shasta Nelson’s TED Talk for more on this. Maybe this is the step that makes a good friendship a great one!

And now, the #1 Tip For Finding a Best Friend!

#1 - Know Yourself

Identifying your values, specifying your goals, knowing your likes and dislikes, and awareness of a whole host of personal characteristics is the most valuable resource in your search for new best friends!

Personal awareness allows us to pinpoint who we can build deeper relationships with. It also can help us discover areas where we’d like to grow and identify relationships where growth together is possible.

For more on knowing who we are, listen to our podcast episode, “Don't Be Bird Food”.

Putting It All Together

You may be asking yourself, “There’s a lot of good stuff on that list, but how can I possibly use them all?” It’s tough, but those Greeks thought about everything. Here’s some ancient wisdom.

Pythagoras (yes, the one who you learned about in middle school Math) is attributed to have said, “Friends are as companions on a journey, who ought to aid each other to persevere in the road to a happier life.”

It’s important to remember that friendship isn’t all or nothing, all at once.

In the journey of life, each friendship is a journey unto itself. If a friend is present to aid in our perseverance as we grow, the relationship between them has to be able to grow as well. Shasta does a great job of explaining this process in Frientimacy: the three requirements of all healthy friendships.

As the relationship matures and you learn more about yourself and a friend, you’ll face the decision of whether to proceed towards deeper friendship. If the answer is a resounding “YES!” you’ll also have to decide how it should be done.

There’s not one surefire answer to that decision because each friendship is unique, so keep these tips in your tool kit and use them when you think they’re appropriate!

How do you practice these in your life? Did we miss an amazing friendship tip? Let us know at thinking@doorward.com.

That’ll wrap it up for now. Till next time, go grow with a friend and get back to living!

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