Old Friends: The Comprehensive Guide to Cultivating and Maintaining Adult Friendships

Friendships are easy in school. Proximity and shared interests bring people together, and lasting relationships are formed. After graduation, however, making friends, and keeping those friendships isn’t as straightforward. Some people have come up to me asking how they should navigate the complicated roads to adult friendship. Even though I have been called “this generation’s MapQuest” on more than one occasion, I don’t have the energy or the patience to give everyone in the world individual directions, so I decided to write this guide instead:

Getting Together

Always have your friend send you her calendar first. You want yours to look full, but you don’t want any of your fake appointments and events to conflict with a possible real invitation from you friend.

   Study Question: Imagine yourself in a room, making plans with a friend. Do you send your friend your calendar first or second?

Body Language

Limit hugs to 1 second.

   Study Question: True or False? It is good to hug a friend for the entire duration of a movie, even through the credits.


I know you’ve probably heard it before, but it’s true: communication is key in every relationship. When you send a letter to a friend, do not use your own saliva to seal the envelope. Your saliva contains hormones which another person’s subconscious may read, and will affect the way your friend feels about you. It’s an evolutionary thing. Because you don’t know how your friends brain will react to your specific saliva, use a dog’s drool, instead of your own, on the lip of the envelope; everybody loves dogs. And if your friend doesn’t like dogs, is that someone you’d really want to be friends with, anyway?

   Study Question: Which statement is correct? a) lick envelope b) do not lick envelope


Five-Minute Break

Please stand-up and stretch before continuing reading this guide.


Yes, your friend and you talk about many personal topics, but there are things that your friend doesn’t communicate to you. Well, actually she does, but you’re just not listening. Your friend may not constantly speak to you, but she is always breathing.

The way a person breathes is a reflection of how she is feeling.  I know that you’re probably thinking that the number of breaths per minute is the key measurement which would indicate how your friend is feeling; you may be surprised to learn, however, that this is not the case. Although FBPM (Friend Breaths Per Minute), is a factor, the main indicator is breath pattern musicality (FBPM).  In order to find her FBPM, you will need to listen closely to your friend’s breathing, paying attention to the tone and patterns. Would your friend’s breathing sounds be better “mashed-up” with your favorite sad ballad or your favorite happy jam? The answer to this question will also tell you if your friend is feeling either sad or happy.

Tip: Yes, breathing can be difficult to hear, but figure it out; this is important.

  Study Question: Your friend’s breathing sounds successfully mashing-up with which type of tune, indicates your friend is sad?

Have Fun

Be good at dancing so that you can impress your friend.

  Study Question: Should you have friends if you are a bad dancer?

Honesty and Trustworthiness

Trust and honesty are critical in holding close, meaningful relationships. Your friend will only want to continue being your friend, if she is certain that you would never lie or hide anything from her. In order to prove you’re honest and trustworthy, you will need to befriend other people, preferably people that your friend knows, but it really doesn’t matter. After you’ve formed close friendships with those other people, you will need to extract information from them that maybe be either valuable or interesting to your friend. Does one of these people have an excruciatingly embarrassing story that your friend may find funny? What about an emotional tear-jerker about a childhood experience? Something on their body that brings them to tears? Whatever it may be, sharing this information with your friend will prove that she can trust you to never hide anything from her.

  Study Question: Is lying morally wrong?




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