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How to make a friend fast (happyturtlethings.net)
765 points by trurl42 on July 9, 2017 | hide | past | favorite | 242 comments

Maybe it's because I find this research area intriguing, but I did not think that this summary adequately captured the efforts of the original paper [0].

I think it was unfortunate that this piece did not begin by conveying that the original study's authors specifically state their goal "was to develop a temporary feeling of closeness, not an actual ongoing relationship".

Additionally, like many social psychology studies the nuances of the design and methodology are extremely valuable, yet this piece deems them as "dry" and mostly "devoid of enthusiasm". Anyone who has contributed to the design of substantial social psychology studies can tell you just how carefully each of these details is considered in design, implementation, and analysis. The original article [0] is full of detail, context, and discussion, and is definitely worth a read.

[0] https://psychodramaaustralia.edu.au/sites/default/files/fall...

Thanks for the link. I was wondering what was going on with the ego/gender split:

"This pattern is consistent with Erikson's idea that low ego-identity individuals fear cross-sex intimacy in which they might lose their identity and thus get close only if they feel they can protect themselves from too much intimacy. For the same-sex pairings in the 45-min classroom version, the opposite interaction was found -- consistent with Erikson's idea that same-sex friendships for those who have not developed ego identity serve as identity supports, but for those who have developed an identity, they serve as sources of undesired conformity that threatens one's individuated identity."

> this piece did not begin by conveying that the original study's authors specifically state their goal "was to develop a temporary feeling of closeness, not an actual ongoing relationship".

The post does say this in the second paragraph:

Strangers... [report] a substantial amount of closeness in their relationship after a guided 45-minute conversation. But it's a far stretch to say that such an accomplishment truly creates reliably long-lasting relationships, regardless of the immense immediate effect.

>I think it was unfortunate that this piece did not begin by conveying that the original study's authors specifically state their goal

Except that they began the piece by conveying exactly that:

>But it's a far stretch to say that such an accomplishment truly creates reliably long-lasting relationships, regardless of the immense immediate effect.

What seems to be missing is actually mentioning that it was the opinion of the original authors, as well.

That sentence says nothing about the goal of the study's authors.

Makes enough sense to me...

If you don't know anything about anybody... like the homeless man rummaging through my recycling bin right now looking for bottles... It's easy to look down on them or just write them off.

But if a neighbour told me anything about that same man... perhaps that he lost his job last year and thus just tries to supplement his income by picking up bottles in his spare time... I would feel immense sorrow even just looking at that man (who is still a stranger to me). Enough so that I would probably offer him some extra cash and a bite to eat if I had it.

I witnessed a man break into my neighbor's house the other day... which enraged me at first (what if it were my house?!) but when I saw the man who did it... I immediately felt sorry for him.

This was a desperate, dirty, homeless man with a smile on his face as the police dragged him away. He was probably just looking for some shelter to sleep that night.

The house that he "broke into" did admittedly look abandoned. And I found myself trying to justify the reasons that he might have tried to break into the house, rather than hating him silently.

All because I got a look at him.

Lack of resources can make the kindest, most altruistic person behave in extremely ugly, selfish ways.

You don't know who someone is until you see them go through poverty. Also, you don't know who you are yourself until you experience that terrible feeling of scarcity.

For me, greed is the worst human attribute. When I see rich people being greedy, I find it hard to imagine how much worse they would be as human beings if they were poor.

>You don't know who someone is until you see them go through poverty.

The inverse is also true: you don't know who someone is until a) they get rich and/or powerful (and change), b) you go to poverty (and e.g. they prove to be only "fair weather friends").

And I would just more harshly someone who reveals themselves to do bad things or be a bad friend when they get rich or when you get poor, than someone doing bad stuff when THEY get poor.

Because desperation can force one to do things they don't want or like (like borrow money and not give it back or even steal), but the others don't have that excuse.

I think we vastly underestimate how much of an affect our environment-the circumstances we find ourselves in—has on us.

Different aspects of our personality are revealed, or developed(?), in different settings. Temperature, time of day, how tense our muscles / tendons feel, how well we sleep, I think we underestimate how much all of these contribute to what we call 'personality'.

>I think we underestimate how much all of these contribute to what we call 'personality'.

I agree.

But there are still people who are not changed much in important qualities despite big changes in their circumstances (e.g. from poor to rich, or from obscurity to fame or power, or vise versa) and others who change behavior totally with the subtlest of life changes.

(E.g. now got a more high paying job, let me dump my lower earning friends for people more to my class).

Just watch out that they dropped their poor friends for the reason everyone expects.

I don't give a fuck if someone is rich or not, and I have a number of poor friends[1], but I made the conscious decision to cut out friends that I wouldn't befriend if I met them today. Many of the people I cut were poor, but it's not why I cut them. I cut them because they stopped growing after or during highschool. When I talk about politics or society I don't want to feel constrained. I don't want to have to explain things like the catch up effect. I don't want come over with an expensive scotch and have people mix it with Coca Cola.

I understand that labour mobility and the internet have lead to a fracturing of society into different enclaves of intellectual and (usually) fiscal subgroups, but I don't want the only reason I'm hanging out with former highschool friends to be that I read Coming Apart and I'm worried about social cohesion. It's too high of a price.

[1] Most of them are either PhD candidates or in a profession that they love that just generally doesn't pay well, like Singer Songwriter. To me and I feel to most people that cut their social group sometime in their 20s or early 30s class or culture is the critical distinction, not wealth.

>I don't want come over with an expensive scotch and have people mix it with Coca Cola.

Well, on the other hand, I don't want to be "friends" with people who judge me by my knowledge of drinking etiquette.

Who gives a duck for how one drinks an "expensive scotch" (sic) compared to friendship?

I'm not sure what bond was broken when someone upgraded friends based on how they treated an expensive scotch, but it was no real friendship from that person's end.

While above says "I don't give a fuck if someone is rich or not", the whole criteria seems to be "they're out of my new social class and don't share its interests and pastimes" -- in fact, you openly admit class plays a big role. So it's not about "being rich", but about having brought up and/or behaving as a rich person -- same difference.

>* It's too high of a price.*

The price of keeping a friend like a real friend would do, despite their lack of sophistication?

You're focusing too much on one small demonstrative aspect that I shouldn't have even bothered to include because it misses the point.

I have friends with unsophisticated tastes, but they have other aspects that are laudable and interesting. For example I have a friend that works as a stage actor in Toronto. He doesn't have sophisticated tastes, but he's passionate about art and we can discuss aspects of each others work and get mutual enjoyment.

Something I didn't mention in my original comment is that I grew up in a strange part of Canada: Georgetown, Ontario. Georgetown had the last KKK march in Canadian history, it still to this day has not implemented public transit because of fears of enabling people of Pakistani origin, it is the headquarters for Jehovah Witness for Canada, etc.

Why should I continue to befriend people that are mildly to moderately racist. That send me Mary Kay emails. That organize bachelor party cottage weekends knowing full well that I personally find prostitution and stripping disgusting (though I think it should be legal) and purposely hide the fact that they used some of my funds to hire escorts for the weekend. Funds they said would be used for beers and spirits that we recommended on the Facebook event only to buy bud light and Canada Club. "Friends" that waste my time by calling me and asking me if PayPal is a good way of taking money online (I say "no, use Stripe) only to find out that they're involved in some sort of $20 contest on the side of a cereal box and they don't really respect my opinion anyway, they just want to hear that what they want to be true. "Friends" that bitch about high taxes, immigrants, and haven't even done the basic work of thinking through how they would be without public healthcare or how they wouldn't be in the country if their parents didn't come here from Holland in the 50s. But that's ok right, because Dutch people are white. "Friends" that are against same-sex marriage. "Friends" I've never talked to about being Bi and what their supposedly Christian viewpoint would mean for me if I ever wanted to marry a man.

I have nothing in common with these people anymore.

You're right though, it is about class and I'm not so deluded or dishonest to say otherwise. But class isn't wealth, even if it is correlated with it. I demand more out of myself and others and I shouldn't be friends with people just out of loyalty. I should be friends with people because I love them and because I respect them. And history counts for something, but it isn't everything.

> I personally find prostitution and stripping disgusting (though I think it should be legal)

seems like they are one "kind of person" and you are a another.

>I don't want come over with an expensive scotch and have people mix it with Coca Cola.

I buy $100+ bottles of bourbon and mix it with cola because it takes good, because I like bourbon and cola. Shitty bourbon and cola still tastes like piss. When I'm with my friends that can only afford a bottle of BV and they bought then I suck it up and drink that and treat them with respect and I don't judge them.

You really sound like you should do some self-reflection because from your post you sound like a total asshole.

> I cut them because they stopped growing after or during highschool. When I talk about politics or society I don't want to feel constrained. I don't want to have to explain things like the catch up effect. I don't want come over with an expensive scotch and have people mix it with Coca Cola.

What you care about is class, not wealth. It's a learned set of knowledge, behaviors, and taste that's very hard to fake or change past childhood. Wealth matters mostly not for its own sake but because keeping up with some class behaviors takes money (or a patron). See also: the trope of the impoverished noble houseguest. Caring more about class than wealth is normal. Mistaking one for the other is itself a class marker.

>What you care about is class, not wealth. It's a learned set of knowledge, behaviors, and taste that's very hard to fake or change past childhood.

And it's also superficial. One can have "class" and be a class-A a-hole.

Sure. A lack of grace when navigating class differences (=differences in behavior and preferences) could also be seen as a class marker, among other things. Feels rather "middle" under Fussell's rankings of class, but then that's where he put most boorish behavior (maybe for a good reason) and his treatment was too broad to allow for much nuance or coverage of sub-classes, tending to treat the latter as mostly people whose wealth didn't match their socialized class (again, maybe for good reason). Though maybe this whole thing was just your average, everyday "growing apart" with a bit more self-awareness and honesty about the causes than is typical. Maybe the parting from friendship was handled tactfully. Difficult to judge someone just from a post on a web forum.

"Most of them are either PhD candidates or in a profession that they love that just generally doesn't pay well, like Singer Songwriter."

I don't think your definition of "poor" matches most other people's one.

So if you have to explain a make-believe theory to a friend, or if they don't want to offend you and mix your "special" ("special" enough that even supposed experts in the field have a hard time identifying whether it's expensive or not) alcohol water with sugar water to make it bearable, they're dead to you.

Because people deserve to be judged on the sensitivity of their taste buds.

Somehow, I believe they're better off.

"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power." - Abraham Lincoln

This is also why I think statements like "being rich is a choice" don't come near telling the whole story, if they are even partially true.

Our circumstances probably affect 90% of how we end up doing in life. What if you were born in Nigeria or Syria instead of the U.S.? What if your parents were very poor and without much education themselves, and therefore not only did they not afford to pay for a good education for you, but they also didn't give you the best education at home? And so on, and so on.

To an extent, but I think being rich also shields you from reality. Rich people don't realise how greedy they are because no one ever dares to tell them or even hint at it.

They get used to getting extra attention, extra laughs at their jokes, extra compliments about how generous they are, etc... Over time, their idea of normal becomes very abnormal.

When I see rich people being greedy, I find it hard to imagine how much worse they would be as human beings if they were poor.

They probably are poor, at least from their viewpoint, because humans like to compare themselves against their peers, not against the average person they have nothing to do with.

So rich people compare themselves against other rich people in their social circle and then decide they want to have a little more. It's not greed from their viewpoint, it's "not falling behind".

These are different effect imo.

You are talking about the motivation behind a story, which might give you more compassion for the motives an individual held.

That's quite different from saying that putting you in a room with said homeless man and sharing life stories for 45 minutes is going to build a significant connection between you two.

After a two year period of watching my boss interact with people, I can confirm that this method works extremely well.

He is a "natural", in the sense that he can form close bonds with people incredibly quickly. At first I thought he was using some sort of secret strategy, but after a while I noticed that he was simply sharing personal details about himself (which the article refers to as "self-disclosure") without being prompted, which encourages, and in fact compels, the other side to reciprocate.

Here is an example conference call conversation from two weeks ago, in fact, in which we were chatting with a potential client to schedule a meeting. Bob is my boss:


Bob: Okay. Let's have an in-person meeting next week. What day works best for you?

Client: How about Thursday at 2?

Bob: Sounds great. You know, I'm glad you didn't say Wednesday because I have to be with my two little girls that day, and I definitely could not miss that. They mean the world to me.

Client: Oh yeah, I understand. In fact I can relate... I have a daughter myself!


And then when we actually met in person this past Thursday, the topic of their daughters was a natural conversation point.

In contrast, I tend to be fairly reserved when it comes to sharing personal info. I like to stay on topic and dislike what I perceive as derails. The above conversation for me would have gone like this:


Me: Okay. Let's have an in-person meeting next week. What day works best for you?

Client: How about Thursday?

Me: Sounds great. See you on Thursday at 2 PM.


Similar, but also very different.

After having read about self-disclosure I started doing this and never looked back. Also I forgot that I had it from reading a psychology experiment.

I've learned that it mostly works. In some cases though people see you as someone who doesn't always say something relevant.

What also works (more specifically) is: you share a certain secret about you, and if that person has a similar secret you get to hear it as well. At one night, I was with a traveler and we were both in a country we both didn't live in. We self-disclosed quite a bit and then agreed to tell each other every juicy detail of our lives without ever seeing each other again. We poured our hearts out to each other and we told each other all kinds of secrets that we told no one else. I learned a lot about life that night :)

Self-disclosure is awesome. You give people the opportunity to relate back. And people, in general, are nice.

Don't want to question the value of your experience but I couldn't help noticing that your example and enraged_camel's examples all take place in the context of (mild) danger and risk. Employer-employee; employee-client; travel abroad.

Could it be that shared adversity is the key to bonding? Personal revealings would then follow gradually as a natural consequence. In this view the best way to make friends would be to go to high-school together, get stuck in an airport for 2 days, watch a horror movie, share a rock-climbing accident, etc. Mostly circumstances one doesn't have much control over, admittedly!

I think there's something to that. Most of my adult friendships with people that started in a professional setting were with people who I worked with on very stressful projects.

Lots of hours together, working very closely, gallows humor, and revealing personal details. There are about five or six people from a particularly stressful project that I talk to on no less than monthly basis, very personally catching up, and we're across 4 states and 5 cities.

There is definitely evidence for shared adversity being helpful for bonding, but I think it's a stretch to somehow say employment is adversity.

By that logic, pretty much every interaction we have is through shared adversity.

(It's true that I've had some amount of shared adversity with all my close friends though.)

The state of being can be considered shared adversity.

Yeah some of my best friends are the ones who I've focred to go with me to an airport for 2 days. Not sure if they can say the same though

Good luck doing that in Germany without being seeing as a weird egomaniac

Yeah I'm not German (except by ancestry) and I get really uncomfortable when conversations go like that. Why is this guy trying to convince me he's such a great dad? What's his angle with that? I would definitely not take something like that as a sincere "personal disclosure" from someone I'd never met. I'd take it as more like a greasy salesman tactic.

I don't know if you're familiar with the title (it's a classic on the subject), but my understanding is that, in China, Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friends and Influence People" is sold under the title: "The Weaknesses of Human Nature."

One more anecdote about that book. In his Playboy interview, Marlon Brando referred to it as "a book on hustling."

I bring this up because for some crazy reason, in the United States, this kind of "interpersonal communications" stuff is promoted as a great thing. And yet, like you say, it boils down to a person having an angle. I read that book when I was a freshman in college and thought it was fantastic. A little while later though I read the Marlon Brando interview, and after my initial shock I realized that he was basically right.

For every individual who develops a "genuine interest in other people" (as the book implores its readers to do), there have to be five or ten others who read that book and think only how it will help them make a buck.

At least the Chinese are unsentimental about it.

However Carnegie doesn't advocate self-disclosure. Quite the opposite - he advises shutting up about yourself (and your organization, product, etc.) and listening to the other person.

That's the way I understood his writings as well. The older I get the more I disagree on that. It is just as important to share and position one's own identity and actively communicate it.

In most East Asian cultures, there's no need for this type of small talk if you can find a personal connection with them.

For example, if you are a friend of a friend of a friend, then you're "in."

Since most East Asians will refer to their cousins as brothers or sisters directly, they also consider friends of friend's to be their direct friend.

Of course if you're a stranger, then you're a complete stranger. Whereas in American culture, we are much more polite to strangers.

Did not believe this until http://www.renxingruodian.com/

Do you have a link or other pointer to that Brando interview. Couldn't find it.

Most people are nowhere near interesting enough to develop a genuine interest in.

I would agree entirely because I recognized this sometime in my early 20s and never looked back. Now I have a very, very select handful of friends that are all incredible people, but can't get along easily with 4 out of 5 people... I think mostly because I'm suspicious of why they're being personable and talking to me right now. Hell, I think Dale Carnagie made me so jaded I can't function in society, but that's mostly on me.

Because it's too verbose. Better left as "Bob: Sounds great. Glad you didn't say Wednesday because I'm with my daughters that day."

Seems more incidental and less tactical. Leave it to the listener to comprehend that Bob has a regular day caring for children. It's also enough for the listener to share that they also have kids, etc.

Have you ever thought that maybe you may be the one with the personality problem? Why would anyone assume the worst of someone else trying to make a good impression on them?

I just try to be as much of myself as I can. No use trying to please people looking to find offense. It's exhausting worrying all of the time about what other people think. It's easier for me to just be myself and make no apologies for it. If they like me great. If they don't, that is fine too. Can't please everyone and don't have the time to focus on pleasing everyone.

Additionally, I am perfectly happy if someone thinks I'm important enough to them that they need to sell themselves to me or would even want to put in the effort to build a personal relationship with me.

FWIW there's a saying that goes: "Never trust someone who is too nice to you"

In fact, there's at least one study that has shown that "those who are highly nice to their peers are more likely to stab them in the back than their less polite counterparts"

ymmv and all that, but there's a fine line between being friendly and coming off as a slimy salesman. Many (most?) people's defenses go waaaay up if you cross that line.

I know people who cultivate the self-disclosure thing and it always comes off as kind of awkward and weird. A little bit forced, you know? Like, this feels very calculated, why are you doing this.

[1] http://vene.ro/betrayal/niculae15betrayal.pdf

This kind of "cultivated extroversion" is a very american quality.

I'm extroverted in this way, but it is very much who I am. I suppose I am just very American.

I guess if you're a cynical person you will look for an "angle" in everything people say or do. Living life like that must be miserable.

Or it's extremely soothing because you're never surprised by anyone's selfish intentions...

I don't see how second-guessing everyone's motivations and looking for hidden motives in every single thing they say or do can be "soothing", but to each his own.

It's the Scout's motto applied to interpersonal relationships. It can be soothing in the same way that keeping an emergency kit can be soothing.

As a cynic, yeah it sucks, but a lot of time it develops as a defense mechanism and feels like it can be defeated with a lot of soul-searching, self-improvement, and just trying.

I agree with you.

It works really well in Germany as well, if you do it right. Also Germans are human, after all.

Would love to know an example of an inoffensive way to do this in Germany. That's one culture gap I have trouble crossing.

It's pretty hard and depend on the context a lot. I'm not a native, but I'm European. I still have a lot to learn.

> Also Germans are human, after all.

Don't tell them that, though. You might offend them by insinuating they are feeble and inefficient.


What a rude way to make a point. Maybe you meant something like "Interestingly, the same approach would be perceived differently in Germany I think, and would perhaps come off as egotistical"

Maybe you would be better served by a less confrontational way of making your own point, perhaps something like "I think your otherwise valid point would be made more effectively if it were couched in less emotionally abrasive language, such as 'I think the same approach would be perceived differently in Germany, perhaps coming off as egotistical.'"

> What a rude way to make a point.

Let's all just savor that one.

Bob's statement seems troubling if you take it as meaningful rather than sales patter. There's an inherent conflict between the implications in "What day works best for you?" and "I definitely could not miss that. They meant the world to me."

From the client's perspective, if he reflects on that conversation at all, the question naturally arises: "What if I had said Wednesday?" Would Bob have skipped spending time with his girls, meaning that his actual statement was a lie? Would Bob have demurred and suggested another day, because the implicit offer of any day next week was false? What other things will Bob try to slide past the client? The chance for this sales process to be collaborative and mutually beneficial seems to have been weakened, given that the client has evidence that Bob will say whatever he has to say to make the sale...

If it's not obvious, I am not in sales. :/

I have to say, it only seems troubling because you're reading an offer that isn't actually there.

Your boss almost certainly learned that trick from something like Dale Carnegie/Carnegey and practiced it.

Oversharing with strangers (bragging about loving your children?!) is a classic manipulative tactic.

Is it bad to be manipulative if it results in closer bonds and thus a richer life?

Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality ( http://www.hpmor.com ), Chapter 7:

"""Draco giggled. "Yeah, right. Anyway... to answer what you asked..." Draco took a deep breath, and his face turned serious. "Father once missed a Wizengamot vote for me. I was on a broom and I fell off and broke a lot of ribs. It really hurt. I'd never hurt that much before and I thought I was going to die. So Father missed this really important vote, because he was there by my bed at St. Mungo's, holding my hands and promising me that I was going to be okay."

Harry glanced away uncomfortably, then, with an effort, forced himself to look back at Draco. "Why are you telling me that? It seems sort of... private..."

Draco gave Harry a serious look. "One of my tutors once said that people form close friendships by knowing private things about each other, and the reason most people don't make close friends is because they're too embarrassed to share anything really important about themselves." Draco turned his palms out invitingly. "Your turn?""""

First thing that came to my head! Got linked this fanfic on hackaday ~5 days ago and could not stop reading despite not being a Potter fan.

Word of warning: This is a social psychology study from 1997. There's been a lot of evidence lately that social psychology the way it's been done in the past is a huge mess and calling it pseudoscience isn't that far off. The field is only at the beginning of cleaning up that mess.

Any study that old that hasn't been replicated with rigorous scientific standards is about as valuable as a magazine horoscope.

Hi, can you point us to some up to date research ?

+1. Social Psychology is also completely different than 1997. Internet and Mobile have made people less social and hard to friend.

Does that mean that some close, naturally-forming relationships don't get nurtured as lovingly as was achieved in a 45-minute conversation?

As one more random data point: I am a chatty extravert. Sometimes people imagine they are close to me when they are not.

> Sometimes people imagine they are close to me when they are not.

Ah yes, my greatest fear interacting with people confirmed.

That's one of the attachment types referenced in the original article. "I am uncomfortable being without close relationships, but I sometimes worry that others don't value me as much as I value them."


Are these types widely acknowledged? To me it looks like the Barnum-effect is at work.

Attachment theory has a sound experimental basis, and is the dominant model used in the study of child behaviour. Its use with adults is less dominant, but is still very much mainstream psychological practice.

Thanks for the clarification. I might should look into some issues then ;)

You fear people will imagine you are close? Or you fear people won't feel close to you when you feel close?

Being unable to tell the difference between someone that likes you versus someone who is just being polite, and if you consider them a "friend" and act "accordingly" they would consider you a socially incompetent weirdo.

About 90% of the time, it is not a big deal. I do try to make sure we are on the same page about some things. Most of the time, it is only an issue if some guy imagines it is a budding romance because he almost never talks to anyone, so talking to me occasionally is a big deal to him and he is imagining this is heading to bed when it isn't remotely on track for that in my mind.

I have had genuine friendships and other close relationships with introverts. I know how that plays out and that can work. Problems arise when people get weird ideas like because they talk to me once in a while, they have some special claim on me and I am not supposed to have other friends.

Keep in mind that it takes two to tango, even platonically, and if you like dancing with this person but they like dancing a lot more than you do, it is not reasonable to expect them to sit on the sidelines waiting for you. Let them dance with other people in peace at times when you don't want to dance anyway. It isn't taking anything away from you if they are consistent about being available for you when you need a friend.

Interesting that you would say that. After a few painful and confusing months I finally decided to reduce contact with a female ex-flatmate of mine to a minimum. The conclusion I arrived at, is that she's pretty much exactly the type of person you described here. I simply can't handle that. It's confusing and I never know where I stand with her and that just adds too much unnecessary pressure in an area of my life where I just want to feel well (interpersonal relations / friendships). So, for my own well-being, I can't have her in my life anymore.

Just wanted to share that, since your comment summarized my impression of her so perfectly!

I've felt the same concern and still do from time to time. The truth is relationships are a mixed bag and people are all different. Some people really will think you're a socially incompetent weirdo. Other people will wonder if you're thinking that about them. And some people will just find you to be a likeable person.

Ultimately if/when some other people don't like you, well, that doesn't define who you are as a person or that you need to be fixed. It's just not the right fit between you, and that's nobody's fault. It's going to happen, and it only matters as much as you decide it matters. It really doesn't need to matter!

Be yourself, focus less on your perceived shortcomings/insecurities, and focus more on improving other people's day.

You can never know what's in another person's heart, heck, it's hard enough to know what's in your own heart sometimes.

> consider you ... weirdo

Unlikely. After all, they'd expect you to act the same way as them -- friendly despite not being a friend.

I think the idea is that you consider that friendly conversation as a start of a friendship whereas the other person doesn't, so it might be awkward when you call them up for a beer or something.

I would call this the "Schrodinger's Byzantine Friendship Problem".

You start with a case where the Yes or No are equally probable. Then you apply functions to this system that may or may not change the outcome to the "Yes" state. And then you make the measurement.

No matter how many times you have applied that function there's always a probability the person in question is lying, or otherwise - there's always a possibility a person is simply afraid of opening up and is hiding behind politeness.

Point being - you can't analyse it too much. You can't make progress in science without experimenting. Neither can you progress in relationships. Sometimes it backfires. Sometimes it may even backfire more often than not. But it still is working with experimental data.

There's no binary relationship status that suddenly switches people from "casual chat" to "going out for beers". What makes inviting someone out for a beer expected and normal is that your relationship is one where you often invite them out for beer. That means if you've never done it before, it's probably going to be a little bit awkward regardless. (Unless there's a culture of inviting random new people for beer, which is not uncommon.)

But unless you're absolute strangers, I don't think many people are going to think "weirdo", they'll just be slightly surprised.

Still, "awkward when you call them up for a beer" is hardly the stuff of nightmares -- or enough to label anyone "socially incompetent weirdo".

You don't need to be best buddies with someone to call them for a beer.

In fact calling a new acquaintance for a beer is how many friendships actually get build.

That somebody might feel close? Doesn't sound like a nightmare...

As an introvert, I used to get fooled by this in college, I would think that this person was somewhat close when they in fact had 100 other friends in my position... After a while though, you understand that their level of empathy just doesn't measure up to your expectations and you gradually part ways.

It's a mental model thing. Speaking freely (and probably self-disclosing along the way) is usually a sign of getting/being close. They see that behavior and think if they exhibited it, that's what it would mean. Which I think is a great example of how there are different "types" whether it be personality types, attachment types, what have you. Once you recognize there are types and that to a first approximation there are a finite, manageable amount of different types, you can learn how they differ and not get trapped by mistaking your mental model for everyone else's mental model. It seems obvious yet people seem to repeatedly make this same mistake as demonstrated by OPs experience.

Interesting how this psychology paper showed up in the context of "making a friend." I had only known of this study as a way of creating romantic relationship, through a NYT Modern Love piece "To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do this."

The method is hardly fast though - it requires two people to set aside a good chunk of time in a quiet setting to fully experience the gradual escalation of self-disclosure. When trying out this method in real life, what about the fact that you chose that one person to try this with? The reasons behind that choice would contribute much a successful result of this method but still left unexplained.

I went through all the questions with 3 other people in the same room all at once about 5-6 years ago. I did not know any of them well. We all became friends and are still friends to this day. It was like magic.

How did it come to pass?

One of the other three suggested it, not sure why, and then we did it.

For each question we would take turns answering it. We were allowed to say, "Pass," if the question made us too uncomfortable or, if we couldn't think of a good answer fast enough, we could pass and come back to it after everyone else had answered.

We were already at the level of acquaintances, close enough to be at the same location, hanging out, but I didn't trust any of them yet, and they barely knew me.

Did you hang out with other groups of people who you're no longer friends with?

I wonder also if it might be commitment to the experience as much as the experience itself that affirms the bond and establishes a platform for ongoing friendship.

Did you hang out with other groups of people who you're no longer friends with?

Yes? One person in particular, I became friends with them extremely quickly about 2 years ago. There was no contrived questionnaire involved, we just clicked, but after one falling out, the bridge was completely burned.

> The method is hardly fast though

A common misconception. The root of the phrase "fast friends" is actually steadfast friends. Meaning friends with a strong bond and sense of duty towards each other.

I too had only heard of this study in terms of the romantic partner thing... I guess it makes sense to apply to any friendship.

Edit: The above is all lies! Well, except the meaning. The phoney etymology is lies. See below.

I don’t think it was ever common for people to literally use the phrase “steadfast friends”. The word “fast” by itself meant (and still means sometimes) something like steady or firmly stuck. So “fast friends” per se was always a perfectly fine phrase. It hasn’t been shortened from some other form.

People trying to explain the origin of the phrase “fast friends” point to the word “steadfast” as an example of where this sense of fast persists. You might also notice the same meaning in our words fasten, colorfast, etc.

So, my argument was it was a root, not a commonly used word. I was wrong anyway so it's irrelevant.

Having actually looked in to this now with a bit more detail than "google it to check your understanding and look at the first result":

It appears you're right, and "fast" is derived from faest while steadfast is a combination of steade and... fast.

Fast friends is a perfectly cromulent phrase :)

BTW, the person you originally replied to used "fast" as in "quickly," as in the title of this submission.

The "fast friends" etymological discussion is a non sequitur.

That's true.

I'm still outraged that anyone would want to force a so-called friend to abstain from nutrition.

So, and this is honest curiosity re. understanding the HN mindset... why did you go on that tangent when the only thing it shared with the comment you replied to was words in common?

I really, really quickly skimmed the comments and title then mentally chose the wrong order of "friend/fast/fast/friend".

The flaw in this particular part of the HN mindset is looking at a set of information and thinking you can instantly identify the other person's problem (or that there is one!) and explain/solve it using what you already know.

I think other people might recognize this in their own thinking sometimes too!

I think that's fine, as long as you learn to back down and reconsider the moment someone presents competing information.

Quite simply, because its fun... and interesting. Its similar to why Gilfoyle hacked the smart fridge.

> it requires two people to set aside a good chunk of time in a quiet setting to fully experience the gradual escalation of self-disclosure. When trying out this method in real life, what about the fact that you chose that one person to try this with?

You start liberally. When an experience becomes dumb, you abort. TL; DR you meet fun people and make some friends.

I can't help but note that A. Aron was the lead writer. You done messed up!

Good one. Not many people are going to get this joke, Key and Peele fan. :)

All of us named Aaron will, though.

For those who aren't, or are and somehow haven't yet had this pointed out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dd7FixvoKBw

yes, and I suppose it should be mentioned I have no relation to the author. Thanks weeantsy!

I am for real. I am for real.

Insubordinate. And churlish.

You can see this played out every day in designated smoking areas. I've observed smokers tend to become friends quickly. As smoking is increasingly frowned upon, everybody who shows up in the smoking area is sort of opening up and sharing a weakness with the other smokers just by being there.

It existed before the non-smokers called it a weakness. It's called assuming you have something in common with your fellow man, and being willing to make small talk under only that pretense.

Source: two weeks into quitting.

My very first job I noticed a similar phenomenon with drinking coffee. I didn't smoke but also didn't drink coffee. I just didn't like the taste.

I started drinking coffee so I could make that type of small talk with a common interest that's mostly harmless and had broader appeal. It's crazy that if you weren't a smoker or coffee drinker you missed out on a lot of interesting rumors and tiny bits of institutional knowledge.

Even in consulting I make sure to hit up the (coffee) watering hole at the client just to see people I don't see often. Instead of just getting water I find the time it takes to do things like mix creamer and sugar give me time to strike up a decent conversation with someone.

I'm 78 days and 3 hours into it. There's not a day where I don't miss it, but there are no more cravings at this point. Just the good memories :P

Stay strong!

Almost 7 years. You won't think about it unless you smell it... then you miss it a bit, but just a bit.

You might put on a few pounds too as you start to actually taste food.

>You might put on a few pounds too as you start to actually taste food.

TL;DR How to Make a Friend Fast -- (1) smoke with them, so when they quit and need to drop a few pounds (2) they'll start fasting.

> unless you smell it... then you miss it a bit

I had the opposite response, a while after I quit I found the smell of smoking absolutely repellent.

So that one Friends episode with Rachel and her smoker boss (played by Joanna Gleason) was on point?

try working in Southern Europe. If you don't smoke, you miss out on hourly breaks where everything social happens.

I've noticed this as well, and as a non-smoker this makes me envious.

I think I might have permanently damaged my vision with that #FFF on #000 color scheme. I still see text floating in the air.

What, really? I'm relieved it's not the #EEE on #FFF combo that seems so popular these days.

Give me #CCC on #222 any day.

Try relaxing.

Still a poor colour combo

I use Materialistic HN reader for Android and I just turn on readability.

fuck that color scheme holy

Did you never use the internet in the 90s?

"Low ego-identity makes same-sex pairs closer, high ego-identity makes cross-sex pairs closer"

Perhaps this statement is true, but is the end goal for both parties the same?

For some reason, I find myself befriending mainly females (I am male). Yes, I have a high ego. However, I can never tell if the other person is interested in a friendship or something more. I always want to put them in the friend zone, but I have awkward situations in the recent past where these friends have either made subtle and not-so subtle advances. I am not interested in anything more than friendship. I do not want to lead anyone on. So yes, perhaps that pairing works well, but is friendship the goal?

In addition, males tend to bond during "experiences", so what I have been seeking as of late is more male friendships. Other males are more inclined to go on multi-day backpacking adventures. According to this study, males with low-ego are likely to become friends, but I seek high ego/high energy friends.

Don't bother. You aren't going to enjoy yourself as much long term by surrounding yourself with high-ego people; there'll be too much needless conflict and it won't be worth the emotional effort after the fact.

Instead, go for high energy but less ego. At the start deflate your own for their benefit, let your guard down; essentially "putting yourself out". Come down to their level for the first few outings.

Once you have their trust you can back off (slowly) so you don't seem fake or patronizing; if they say something or notice a change in their behavior be honest with them: explain how it's been difficult to make friends with shared interests. Hopefully they will trust you enough to look past any perceived slight and continue the friendship.

You may still need to be conscious of your ego or energy level if there's a big group disparity, you don't want to be singled out because they perceive you as difficult and them have the rest bond over that.

> being difficult and have the group bond over that.

or, the sociopath way, which is even faster: identify the group difficult subject and join the pileup on it without adding new opinions but just reflecting and circulating those of others in the group.

I wonder if this is the same across cultures?

I'm a guy and high ego myself, and all my close friends are guys. I also joined a frat in college. Most of the time, if I"m trying to "befriend" a woman it's for romantic reasons.

How much time (hours per week) are you spending with female friends, especially one-on-one? And do they have other strong friendships? And are they getting their romantic/sexual needs met elsewhere?

This is fascinating. I have for a long time been the introverted socially incompetent and weird (partially) one.

A lot of that has changed for me recently. Going to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for a year now and doing more yoga has really helped me to figure out a lot of traumatic issues from the past, especially with racism during childhood.

It's really reduced my fear of socializing with people. I'm now somewhere in between extrovert and introvert and I've noticed that self-disclosure happens a lot more and interactions have improved with strangers. Even small talk happens now and then. I've always hated small talk.

I don't like the extrovert/introvert/attachment type labelling though. Reading on them or discussing them with others has some kind of effect of boxing you in to self-limiting thought patterns. It can be a good starting point to figure things out, but I implore people to not think you're stuck in your ways.

i just want to point out the danger of associating introversion with social incompetence because the association is a poorly realized stereotype. it is entirely possible and not uncommon for an introvert to be highly socially competent.

introversion and extroversion are more descriptors of how one handles mental energy than ratings of social competence and degrees of shyness.

for example, i can be very social and outgoing at parties, but they completely exhaust me, and i don't like them. i am introverted because i prefer to direct my mental energy in a more inward, reflective way, and any process that impedes that (e.g., a party) can be very exhausting. it has little to do with how well i can handle myself socially.

A good example is Audrey Hepburn. Movie star, UNICEF Ambassador, yet she said,

“I have to be alone very often. I'd be quite happy if I spent from Saturday night until Monday morning alone in my apartment. That's how I refuel."

> I'm now somewhere in between extrovert and introvert

I was in a class a year or so ago and everyone had to align themselves to a side... introvert or extrovert.

I tend to zero out on those things because I have worked pretty hard at being social. But when the instructor said "extroverts are energized by social interaction", "introverts are drained" it was very clear to me where I stood. The bigger the crowd, the harder it is (for me).

I like people. I like going out and doing things. Until I don't. Then I need my space. It really is hard to grasp that people have entirely different ranges of physical and emotional responses to social interaction.

I'll tell you what though... the more people I have in my life regularly the happier on the whole that I am. That's why I've worked at being social. It's not always easy. Sometimes it's a drain. But it's important.

The current thinking among Jungian type professionals is that I/E labels can be misleading because everyone has access to, and opportunities to develop, both introverted and extraverted aspects. However this kind of change comes at the cost of some mental unrest, and because "home base" consists of two paired E&I attitudes each in one of four functions, we are advised to leverage those two first.

Introversion is my dominant attitude, but I can pair a strong extraverted thinking function (my #2) with that to overcome problems that may require an extensive, as opposed to intensive, approach. So Jung might call me an I, but I'm well-advised not to imbalance myself by resting all my weight on it. Also, extraverted thinking has relatively little association with sociality even though it is extraverted, but it can sure help me research ways to develop healthy relationships. HN is also in general a highly attractive source of information for those who naturally value extraverted thinking, or "facts concerning externalities". It makes sense that we'd eventually work around to blind spots like relationships here. :-)

Not sure I agree that "agreement on important issues" should be on the "things that don't matter" section.

I know that stuff in particular matters big time to me, even just for friends. My closest friends tend to see the world very similarly to me than people I am much less close with. In fact, more often than not I end up pruning out the people that think drastically differently than I do. Most of the time this just happens naturally because I tend to be more wary about what I say and talk about once I know someone is extremely different than me. My spidey sense puts me on high alert and I basically enter a super-PC, "what every word that comes out of your mouth" mode. Occasionally, I deliberately reduce interactions and they go from being a close friend to being just a casual friend or acquaintance.

It seems you didn't wait social networks to live in a bubble ;)

Or living a life with interpersonal conflicts over topics is not something that they enjoy?

Does anyone know what is meant by "high ego identities" and "low ego identities?"

I was wondering this too. I'm pretty sure I have both.

For instance, I fundamentally think I'm pretty great when compared to any "average person." And even most "high-functioning" people. However, I realize that talent is essentially meaningless in the grand scheme of things without tons of social proof you're always perceived as a nobody, so I still work my ass off and try not to let my own aptitude go to my head.

Is that high-ego or low-ego?

The important bit is the bit in between, in parentheses: "ego affects comfort level".

Are you feeling big and developed enough to talk to someone of the opposite sex? While ideally it would make no difference, it's certainly the truth that many of us are happier to engage socially with those of the same sex than those who aren't.

I think they mix up ego with confidence, Those aren't the same thing at all.

This question has bothered me for a long time! As far as I can tell there are a whole bunch of different things people mean by 'ego' and without an agreed upon way to measure it, it's hard to know whether any two people are really talking about the same thing.

Here's the paper cited in the lower left corner of the graphic (and in the text above, I now see):


which only caught my eye because of the "A. Aron" author. I'm almost certain this is the husband of Elaine Aron, who launched the identification, qualifier, and description of the "Highly Sensitive Person" (HSP).


Arthur's paper is dated 1997, while Elaine's first book on the HSP type was published in 1996. Which I find to be an interesting correlation in time.

More recently, Elaine has (in my limited knowledge) been focusing on the concept of "ranking and [or, versus] linking".


The OP topic here reminds me somewhat of her perspective on linking.

> http://hsperson.com/

So I went there, and read the 8 bullet points under "Is this you?" and then I thought, well yeah, that applies to everyone!

Here's one: "Do you get rattled when you have a lot to do in a short amount of time?"

That's a "Barnum Statement" [1]


"Low ego-identity makes same-sex pairs closer, high ego-identity makes cross-sex pairs closer"

Can confirm. Over the years I minimised the amount of same sex friends in my life dramatically.

Oh come on. It's not like anyone needs a lesson in these kinds of things.

<bookmarks page>

What were the gradually escalating intimate questions asked?

Personally, I find the recipe of kindness, honesty, laughter, generosity, loyalty, plus a bit of magic to be both practically effective and somewhat philosophically profound.

I read this as how to convince a friend to start intermittent fasting.

I clicked thinking this was about making a friend go without eating


Are there really 'high-ego'/'low-ego' individuals? Is it not a spectrum over time? Is it not controllable to some degree?

How is this different than toning down the ego a notch when trying to make platonic friends, while trying to be confident when looking to make romantic partners?

>Are there really 'high-ego'/'low-ego' individuals? Is it not a spectrum over time? Is it not controllable to some degree?

Obviously it's a kind of a spectrum, but at the same time, there definitely also are low ego and high ego individuals, whose ego, even if their fluctuates, it remains high or low relative to the average person.

That reads like the instructions on pick-up artist forums.

Really? Does it? "Find a person, learn about each other's personal lives, gradually escalate," sounds like some 'the red-pill' nonsense to you?

That phrase is easily modified to take on a darker tone: "find a person, learn about each other's personal lives, gradually escalate to sleeping with them" makes me cautious. The very notion that it's possible for one person to engineer closeness has echoes within the pickup artist community, so it's worth unpacking the differences.

If one person has zero interest in the other person past as a means to a very specific end (sex), and is wholly untruthful about that, then it veers away from scientific study of friendship and closeness.

Taking it a step further: "find a person, learn about their personal life, exploit their weaknesses, escalate to sleeping with them" is definitely red-pill territory, and while it might be unfair to judge the original phrase after being modified, the only difference is the knowledge and intentions of one party within an unchanged process.

"Learning about each other's personal lives" has a strong assumption that the stories themselves are truthful and without pretense past a socially-acceptable normal level as human beings.

Interest depends on context. Just because someone isn't interested in someone at first, doesn't mean they won't be after meeting them again.

Would you say the same thing about introducing people to food? I have a friend that hates steak because every time he had it, it was cooked well done.

It wasn't until I took to to a good steak place that he completely changed his mind. Did I manipulate him? Or just show him another way?

The parent comment said nothing about neither the red pill or nonsense.

Not all the stuff on those forums is as toxic as the red pill crap on reddit.

Is that surprising? Effective pickup is rooted in psychology.

Sales, romantic attraction, and friendship-building ultimately use the same skill set. Humans don't change huge amounts in different contexts, and the best tactics are often cross-applicable.

Yeah: "How to create the delusion of closeness to get her out of her panties. Step one..."

It sounds like you just have a thing against explicitly planning the process of making friends.

Well, going to a place where you feel you'll find like-minded folks is a totally different scenario than going to a bar with a script. At my coworking space we're next door to a total sales guy that asks, seemingly earnestly, the same damned questions about whomever's life on the other end on every call. I literally cannot believe he actually cares that much though he really puts on a show.

I won't lie, I wish I had that talent...

I tend to actually care about other people and to be genuinely interested. That doesn't mean that all chatty extraverts are like that, but someone being different from you is not proof they are just faking it either.

Though for me personally that does create questions of how to balance the fact that I genuinely care with things like time limits and the fact that other people typically care about my welfare vastly less than I care about theirs. The fact that I tend to genuinely care about other people has gotten me taken advantage of at times. I am more careful these days about trying to vet people and make sure they aren't all "Yay! Freebies! This dumb bitch is just giving it away and I am going to take all I can, as long as I can, then disappear if she expects something in return."

No. I just have had very strong, close relationships throughout my life. Talking to someone for a mere 45 minutes is not a big flipping deal.

See: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14732892

And I think this is exactly the problem.

People who are already socially confident don't think about these processes because they just happen naturally for them. You meet someone, chat with them, and then sometimes you become friends. So when someone comes along and outlines the process, it seems clinical and detached, and thus kinda creepy.

Certainly it was my reaction when I first started seeing things like this. "If you're thinking about it, you don't really care about the people. Real relationships just happen naturally!"

But of course, for some people they don't just happen, and these kinds of outlines can be very helpful.

Actually, I think and read about these processes a lot. I have taken intro to psychology, social psychology and a class on negotiation and conflict management. I find social stuff fascinating and I love to study it.

But it takes 15 to 20 hours a week to establish and maintain a genuinely close relationship. Forty five minutes is barely a down payment on that.

I have known "players" and how they operate. They are good at creating an illusion of closeness, often based on outright lies. Their goal is sex, and her welfare be damned.

Forty five minutes is also not enough time to verify if what they are telling you is something genuine. It can take weeks to learn that what he shared day one to make you feel all squishy is all made up BS.

So 45 minutes may be enough to create certain feelings, but if you think that is genuinely a close friend that you can trust, you have a lot to learn about how relationships work.

I think I misunderstood your comment. I read "talking for 45mins isn't a big deal" to mean it's not that hard so people should just do it rather than planning it, but it sounds like you meant it doesn't mean much in terms of friendship. (And based on other replies to you, it seems like a lot of people made a similar mistake.)

I don't disagree with that, and I do agree that some people seem way too interested in getting to sex rather than actually forming friendships. But my point is that some people really do struggle with the social interaction involved in forming relationships (even platonic) and we shouldn't write off articles like this as inherently about manipulation. (Especially since there are plenty of articles that are overtly about that.)

Someone said to me about me "Sounds like you have a thing..." I rebutted that by saying, no, I have a long history of close relationships. Forty five minutes is not a big flipping deal.

And now there are down votes and all kinds of assumptions about me and what I intended. I don't know why that is. Given the context of my remark, it should be obvious that my only intent was to rebut someone basically talking trash about me.

It isn't manipulative to spend 45 minutes talking to someone because you are lonely or you are genuinely interested in them or they happened to say "hi" and you happen to be a chatty sort. But the world would be a vastly better place if this were not routinely mistaken for being more than it is. People routinely act like "It engendered feelings in me, so this must be True Love (or you must be my new BFF)!" And that tends to go bad places because neither person knows the other well enough for it to actually be the basis for a serious relationship. Then folks get married or pregnant or start imposing expectations on the other party that the other party did not expect and does not want and the result is usually some kind of drama.

Healthy relationships take some time to feel out. Jumping into things tends to go bad places.

Pick up artists know that many people are not that socially and emotionally savvy and they take advantage of it. I know that many people are not that socially and emotionally savvy and I try to educate people in hopes of seeing a down tick of general drama in the world at large.

>And now there are down votes and all kinds of assumptions about me and what I intended. I don't know why that is.

FWIW, I'll try to explain my reading: I didn't read "I have a long history of close relationships" as a riposte to "Sounds like you have a problem with planning making friends", because it didn't seem to me like a direct contradiction. One can have relatively long close relationships without planning to have them. In fact in that context it kind of sounded to me more like "Well I have real friends, not planned ones".

So then I read "talking to someone for 45mins isn't a big deal" as reasoning for the objection to planning (i.e. "don't plan, just talk to people") rather than a contradiction ("45mins isn't long enough to form a friendship").

Let me respectfully suggest that when an individual says something personal about the person they are speaking to, you take into consideration that this is almost always a form of personal attack and people get defensive when attacked personally. I do not understand why everyone here seems to have no problem with someone saying something about me personally -- because the comment* was not downvoted to hell, flagged to death nor shot down by other people -- that is basically an ugly personal attack, but many people feel compelled to pile on and add additional attacks against me.

This is a major failing of reading context on the part of the people continuing to try to tell me I am somehow doing something wrong. Remarks here are supposed to be about the subject under discussion, not about individual members. Multiple people here cannot seem to get that right and it is all coming down on my head when I have done absolutely nothing to deserve so much flak.

* https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14733051

Sorry, my comment probably did come off a bit strong, I should have worded it as "This just sounds like a position against explicitly planning the process of making friends in general."


How do you propose starting a 20 hour a week relationship. Currently my interactions outside the family are limited to online or 5-10 minutes face to face. 45 minutes seems like a good first meeting to me - do you just jump in and spend a long weekend with someone you've never met ... can you see that might not work for everyone?

I am not proposing anything. I am just telling you that 5 minutes here and 10 minutes there won't create a close relationship. That's just a fact. It is not some kind of personal agenda on my end.

But it can _start_ [what quickly becomes] a close relationship, first time I met my partner of multiple decades was for 2 minutes, you have to start somewhere!?

Why are you busting my chops? You have a partner of multiple decades. You don't actually need any advice on how to start a close relationship.

Maybe not to you. That might be the longest some people have had a conversation all year..

Well, someone said something about me in specific that was unwarranted, so I was talking about me in specific, not other people.

> Talking to someone for a mere 45 minutes is not a big flipping deal.

It's a big flipping deal to a lot of people; don't presume everyone is you.

I didn't presume anything. Someone made a comment about me full of basically ugly assumption. I rebutted it with actual facts about me. Now I have down votes and a pile of ugly criticisms for correcting misinformation about me that should never have been put out there to begin with.

I think all of that is uncalled for, overly personal and essentially an ad hominem.

It takes more than a one time 45 minute conversation to create and maintain a close relationship. There is lots of research about that.

White letters on black background... my eyes are still seeing those letters. Is it just me?

the author fails to mention that certain many things need to be in place first before you even have the first interaction that leads to potential close friendship...first impression elements such as streotype, prejudice, culture, assumptions, expectations, attraction, etc are all split second decisions we make that can affect how the interaction will go or if there is ever going to be interaction to begin with...the article completely ignores these aspects which are important specially in diverse multi cultural envrionments

That would be absolutely unreadable if not for firefox "Reader View" feature. Picture is still unreadable, of course.

"These manipulative geniuses chose a handful of university-level psychology classes early in the semester, divided the student volunteers (who didn't know each other) in pairs, and asked them to engage in an exercise designed to increase their closeness."

Psychology is the study of the psychology of psychology undergraduates.

"Those with dismissive-avoidant personalities didn't get as close

"The dismissive-avoidant is one of the attachment types in the study of social attachment in adults. It pertains to people who feel more comfortable without close social relationships, highly value their independence, they suppress and hide their feelings, and deal with rejection by distancing themselves from its source. The other personality types in adult attachments include secure, and two other insecure types: anxious-preoccupied and fearful-avoidant. These three personality types all reported on a higher (and similar) level of closeness achieved than the dismissive-avoidants."

Well, that lets me out, then.

> The dismissive-avoidant is one of the attachment types in the study of social attachment in adults.

I've always wondered whether attachment style is not so much a function of the individual, but a function of the interaction between two individuals, where each party plays a role. I can think of many people that I am "secure" with, and others who I am "avoidant" with.

Let me hazard a guess, study done mostly with American subjects and majority of them being white.

I would love to see a qualifier like "How to make a friend fast in America?"

Go get butt hurt somewhere else. You have no idea whether that is true so why can't you leave your mouth shut and enjoy the potential implications of the study.

The implications of the study are useful only in certain contexts, it is not universal. You can't talk about your intimate feelings to a stranger of the opposite sex in Saudi Arabia, for example.

I have seen so much information on the benefits of intermittent fasting lately, I interpreted this headline as "How to stop a friend from eating" =)

The flowchart in the beginning is very heteronormative. :(

Yeah I'm not sure that's the best way to go about it. Gender plays little-to-no role in being friends with someone. I'm too old to let sexual whatever get in the way (and too committed to the one person that seems to love me just as I am).

Sex [noun] absolutely plays a role in friendship. The intimacy of sexual relationship is a pertinent difference to a relationship the possibility of which changes the way people interact across the sexes. It may not be (as) pertinent to those who're bisexual/asexual/whatever.

You appear to intimate that if you were younger and unattached sex would pay a role, but that at odds with your 2nd sentence. Perhaps you could expand on your reasoning?

I'd add one more question under Closeness-Generating Procedure: “What important truth do very few people agree with you on?”

Does this person write their n's and m's upside down? I can barely read their handwriting, it's really odd...

Does it say freud? I assume it's meant to say friend...

Does it say watters? I'm assuming it's trying to say matters?

It took me about a minute or two to deduce these meanings though...

lock them up and dont give them any food

What software was used to make this nice diagram?

Steal his lunch?

I know you're being humorous but it might work - creates a situation in which you can console them, then offer help. Maybe from the CIA playbook of "creating a quick connection"?

sic 'How to make a friend quickly'.

This reminds me of that scene in Silicon Valley where Bertram tells Dinesh he can make a friend just as good as his friend. Someone told me a while ago if you want to have a personal connection you have to be personable yourself and tell someone something honest and truthful. I've had much better luck since then. The middle box on this diagram is good advice.

Added to my daily flash cards

Interesting. How are you using flash cards in this sense, can you provide some more details please?

The main point is to not let myself be basically formed by (just) whatever I see on internet / tv / reddit / hackernews / etc. but also what I personally find valuable to increase / decrease myself on that.

Could you mention your flash card app/service?

I did have my own software that I wrote, but due to wanting to have time to do other things, rather than make a flashcard software, I've just been using anki

Things like this are why people laugh at Silicon Valley, this is a very aspie/robotic approach to this topic.

What's interesting to note is that no matter how you dress it up, human beings are indeed biological machines and respond in surprisingly predictable ways. The companies which specialize in data gathering and analysis are increasingly able to corroborate this observation with concrete examples and algorithms. It's of course a tautology, but "normal" social interactions are just that: a set of arbitrary norms. Normal people are just as robotic as aspies in the sense that they mechanically respond to stimulus, except that we've collectively agreed on a delineation between what is considered robotic and what isn't.

It sounds abstract but you can immediately understand the idea simply by describing human behavior in literal terms and focus on the feeling of unease you experience from doing so.

Besides, if people manage to build strong connections with the scientific method, is that really so bad?

The thing that freaks us out about statements like "Normal human behavior is surprisingly robotic" is that they carry with them the idea that human behavior can be hacked. But that's just a question of competence. I mean, are we talking Roomba-robotic, or HK-47 robotic(without the bloodlust)?

Practically, as soon as someone starts "hacking" social norms---most often with either sales or scams in mind---then the norms adjust. That's why city folk are more standoffish than country folk, why your inbox is full and mostly unread, and why women at bars are closed-off.

I mean, OK, we're robots. But we're pretty good robots.

The majority of people who read things like this and take them seriously are weird socially and don't read social cues well.

> What's interesting to note is that no matter how you dress it up, human beings are indeed biological machines and respond in surprisingly predictable ways.

Is that why people that use a process to try and explain what people will do are nearly always wrong? Economics, politics, etc. People do respond to basic triggers of biology, but we have very little understanding of these trigger and where they originate from.

It will certainly be interesting to see if data analysis can garner a greater understanding of these triggers over time.

Hmm, I guess 'extrovert' is an acceptable spelling nowadays, even though it's the wrong Latin root.

Both "extrovert" and "extravert" are correct. Contemporary language use does not always care about latin, however sorry I am for that.

But the author of this post goes even further, and uses both spellings in the same sentence!

In extravert-introvert pairs, extroverts report on greater closeness than introverts

That can't be right...

Okay I did some digging

Google n-grams isn't all that sympathetic to my account, in showing a long history for 'extrovert' and suggests 'extravert' is actively dying out.

But the history may not go back far enough: https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/beautiful-minds/the-dif...

'Folklore has it that when Carl Jung was once asked which was the correct spelling—ExtrAvert or ExtrOvert—Jung's secretary wrote back something like, "Dr. Jung says it's ExtrAverted, because ExtrOverted is just bad latin."'


'According to the Oxford English Dictionary, "The original spelling 'Extravert' is now rare in general use but is found in technical use in psychology." That's correct. If you look at scientific journal articles, virtually every paper uses the spelling ExtrAvert.'

I believe in this case spelling is mimicking pronunciation.

In my accent, at least, I pronounce the phrase 'extr_vert-introvert' with an open A, contrasting to the pursed O of introvert.

But if I say the word 'extr_verts', by itself, I pronounce it with an O, identical to 'introvert'.

It's difficult because for me, at least, in my accent, both are degrading to an unstressed vowel anyway, so it's a fine gradation.

Is intravert correct? I have to know if it's that symmetrical.

No, 'intravert' is not correct AFAIK

In English, spelling is so seemingly arbitrary at times that I just gave up and quit caring so much. Judgment? Judgement? Who cares?! I won't budge on my thoughts on the importance of proper grammar though.

Grammar pedants are the worst. It generally isn't very important if people understand what is being said. There are a few edge cases, but in general its pretty obvious.

In this case I (en-gb native) initially thought extravert was some tertiary alternative to extrovert and introvert; then assumed it was errant/en-us spelling.

I'd think of extro- and intro- as looking out and in respectively. Extra- and intra- would be externally additive and internally additive; like a connection outside a defined group and inside such a group respectively.

tl;dr this was an edge case for me.

Every linguistic anthropologist ever would like to have a word with you ;)


my point exactly

Dunno, when you make egregious errors like that we can't help understanding not only what you meant but also some things you likely didn't mean.

It's been pointed out to me lately that "prescriptive grammar" is apparently classist/racist, which is strange considering I grew up dirt poor in Appalachia but still bothered to learn the difference in "who" and "whom". In languages like French it's a crucial understanding but English got lazy and for whatever reason, direct object pronouns are a tripping point for many students of a foreign language. Astounding.

You must be new to this planet.

It surely is. Caring about language (caring about anything, really) is an honest signal of status, whether you like it or not. Inevitably, some people will try to slave-moralize it away. If some social/ethnic/sex/... minority with inferiority complexes jumps on this bandwagon, suddenly you may find yourself caring about a thing whose ignorance some social scientists somewhere have found to be correlated with holy cows.

Proposed solution: stop caring about everything besides making all people feel good about themselves.

What is the correct spelling?

Eventually the correct spelling is driven by usage, and 'extrovert' is currently listed in dictionaries so... it's correct.

Historically the term was 'extravert' in psych literature. I feel like more technical usage probably still leans that way.

The matching vowels make it a better spelling.

Do you mean matching each other or matching pronounciation?

Extravert. Extra- meaning out of; outside.

As compared to "introvert"?

Yes, intro- is a Latin prefix meaning "to the inside" while extra- means "to the outside". The "-vert" is from the Latin verb "vertere", meaning "to turn".

Adding Latin prefixes to "vertere" leads to such words as "to avert" (a- from Latin "ab-", meaning "from"), "to evert" (from "ex-" which means "out"; compare "extra-" above), "to invert" (from "in-" meaning "into"; compare "intro-" above); "reverse" (an adjective meaning 'opposite' from "re-" meaning "back"); "transverse" (an adjective meaning 'crosswise' from "trans-" meaning "across"); and so forth.

It's useful to compare "in-" vs "intro-" and "ex-" vs "extra-". The "-tra-" and "-tro-" infixes are essentially the same, but Latin writers and speakers inflected them historically. English inherited this in such words as "introduction", "extradition", "introspection", "extraordinary", and "extravagant".

Finally in modern biological and medicinal jargon it is common to use "intra-" (with an "a") as "within": "intracellular" (within cells; compare with "intercellular", "between cells"), "intradural" (within the dura mater in the spinal cord), "intramolecular" (e.g. internal forces holding together the shape of a molecule, or the atoms a molecule comprises), and so forth. Outside those technical settings, "intra-" is exceedingly rare. One example is "intramural" ("within the walls", usually used to describe a competition between different teams of students at a single school, however the word has use in medicine as well, the walls being those of a cell, blood vessel, or other hollow organ, and the medical use likely came first).

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