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What Really Makes You Happy? – “Mark,” 43, a usually successful man, had always identified himself as a “happy introvert.” Now, in an economic crisis, he has begun to re-think his need for others. He says he really needs a friend and that his wife is no help because she is too frightened about losing their lifestyle.

What about your golf buddies? I asked.

“They’re all great but there’s never any intimate conversation. That used to be just fine.”

Try This… Mark says his friendship skills have gotten stale. “The last time I made a friend was in college. I’ve forgotten how.” I offered him a “prescription.”

RX 1. Remind yourself about your successes in the past. (You’ve got to believe you are worthy of making new friends, in spite of your current crisis.)
RX 2. Think about what each of your golf buddies might need from you. (Which of them could benefit from a friendly “backboard?” Who would appreciate some problem solving suggestions?)
RX 3. Offer help without being asked.
RX 4. Ask for help. (Your pals will be flattered with your confidence.)
RX 5. Practice empathy. (When someone tells you about his problem, make believe it is your life he is talking about.)
RX 6. Catch your buddies doing something right. Compliment them whenever you can.
RX 7. Talk about your own short and long-term plans for the future with your buddies and encourage them to share their own goals. Stay away from what’s gone wrong.
And most important, I think:
RX 8. Create a shared memory. Think about how a shared history can bond people together for a lifetime.

Will this create friendship? You’ll never know unless you try.

I handed Mark this “RX.” He looked at it, looked at me and said, “You know, I’d really be happy to be alone forever, if it weren’t so damn lonely.”

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