Welcome to the last chapter. This is totally terrific. We’ve been hanging around together for three chapters. I’ve had a great time. I hope you’ve had fun too.
I’ve saved some special stuff for you. I put it all into this chapter. Let’s start with a quiz. It’s longer because you’ve learned so much. A short quiz can’t hold everything you’ve learned.
Are the statements true or false?
! You’re the friend factory boss.
! To make a friend, you have to be a friend.
! Friends are consistent.
! Friends are positive.
! Friends always do their best.
! Friends make good choices.
! Friends know what’s really important.
! Friends are assertive.
! Friends don’t try to boss people around.
! Friends are in your commercial.
! Friends don’t make demands.
! Friends are dependable.
! Friends are interested in people.
! Friends are a good influence.
! You’re soooo smart.
Sure, you answered “true” to all fifteen statements. Did you know that you learned fifteen new ideas? Wow! That’s a bunch. You certainly know a lot about making friends. That’s why you’re the friend factory boss.
There are only five more new ideas about making friends. You know how this works. It won’t take long. You really are soooo smart.
1. Friends are good listeners. I don’t need to ask you if you’re a good listener. I already know that you are. You listen when your teacher is talking. You don’t interrupt people. You wait for your turn to talk.
Here’s a little secret. Most people think that being quiet is enough. “If I stay quiet, I’m listening.” That’s what they think but you know better.
You need to do more than stay quiet. You need to think too. You need to stay quiet so you can hear what the person says. You need to think about what they say so you can understand. Trying to understand is the secret part of listening.
You’re a good listener. You stay quiet and pay attention. You also think. You try to understand.
Think about the person you might want as a friend. Does that person stay quiet when someone is talking? Does that person pay attention? Here’s the most important question. Does that person try really hard to understand?
Watch people. Do they interrupt people who are talking or stay quiet? Do they pay attention? Do they try to understand?
Get ready. Take a gigantic breath. Blow it out really fast. This is extra complicated stuff. Listening has four parts. Get ready to count them.
! To listen, you have to stay quiet.
! To listen, you have to pay attention.
! To listen, you have to try to understand.
! To listen, you have to remember.
Did you get all four parts? What is the new part? Sure, it’s remembering. Good listeners remember what people say.
You listen to your friends. You want them to listen to you. You want them to understand what you tell them. You also want them to remember what you say.
People who don’t listen aren’t good friends. People who don’t stay quiet and pay attention aren’t good friends. People who don’t try to understand aren’t good friends. People who don’t remember aren’t good friends. Do you know some people like that? Your friend factory works best when you spend your time with people who are good listeners.
2. Friends are considerate. Considerate isn’t an easy word. It’s not just being polite. It’s not just having good manners. You know that those are important. That’s why you’re polite and watch your manners.
That’s funny. You watch your manners. What would you see if you watched your manners? Can they dance or do a jig? Some people say that you mind your manners. You’re the boss so why do you have to mind your manners?
Okay, I’m being silly. You’re right. I agree. Being polite and good manners are serious stuff.
Being considerate includes being polite and good manners. It also includes some other stuff we need to think about. I’ll be serious because being considerate is very serious.
Being considerate means that you care about how people feel. You care about what people need.
Think about how people feel. You don’t want them to feel sad. You try not to hurt their feelings. You also try to do things to help them feel better when they are sad.
Here’s another secret. Think about what people need. Do they need special help? Do they need extra time? Can you make things easier for them?
What if a friend couldn’t run fast? What if a friend had trouble talking? What if a friend couldn’t see or hear very well? What if a friend had trouble reading? What if a friend had a special problem?
You would try to help. You would do stuff they can do. You would include them in your activities. You would still be their friend because you’re considerate.
Do you know people who don’t care? Do you know people who aren’t considerate? Sure you do. You also know that those people aren’t good friends. Your friend factory works best when you spend your time with considerate people.
3. Friends are patient. Being patient is really hard sometimes. You don’t want to wait. You don’t want to slow down. You don’t want to take turns. You don’t want to listen. You don’t want things to take so long. You don’t want to do what you have to do right now.
If you don’t want to be patient, why do it? Okay, you might get into trouble and you don’t want to get into trouble. What if you won’t get into trouble? Is there any reason to be patient?
What do you think? Why be patient?
If you don’t want to be patient, you can get upset. You can be unhappy. You can get frustrated. You can yell or pout. You have a lot of choices. It’s your choice.
Sometimes you can’t make things happen any faster than they happen. You might as well be patient. It will happen when it happens. You don’t have to like it but you might as well be patient.
Sometimes being patient is a good way to be considerate. Did you know that? One way to be considerate is to be patient.
When someone needs a little extra time to do something, you’re patient. When something doesn’t happen when you expect it to happen, you’re patient. When you need to do something for someone that’s boring, you’re patient. You’re also being considerate. That’s very clever. You know how to be patient and considerate at the same time.
Do you know people who aren’t patient? They won’t wait a minute for someone. They won’t give people some extra time. They get upset and pout. They are also not considerate people. They aren’t good friends either. Your friend factory works best when you spend your time with patient people.
4. Friends are gentle. I hear you. So far, you get it. You get it about being a good listener. You get it about being considerate. You even get it about being patient. So what’s this being gentle stuff?
It’s pretty easy. You don’t push and shove. You don’t hit or kick. You don’t do things that hurt people. You’re gentle.
There’s a little more to it. You don’t yell and scream at people. You’re nice to pets and other animals. You’re careful with things that might break. You’re a gentle person.
Do you know people who aren’t gentle? They push and shove. They hit and kick. They yell and scream. They aren’t careful with people’s stuff. They don’t care if someone gets hurt. They aren’t good friends either. Your friend factory works best when you spend your time with gentle people.
5. Friends hang in there with people. This is not very complicated. A friend is someone who will stick with you. If you have an argument, they’ll get over it. If you don’t want to do what they want to do, doing something else is okay. They are your friend.
If you’re upset, they’ll talk with you about it. If you need help, they’ll try to help. If you’re busy today, they’ll see you tomorrow. They are your friend.
Do you know people who don’t hang in there with people? If you have an argument, they stop talking to you. If you have a problem, they don’t care. If you’re busy, they get upset with you. They won’t try to help.
This is a little secret just for the friend factory boss. Some people are fair weather friends. That means that they are only friends when they want to be friends. If someone else comes along, they’ll hang around with them. They’ll be nice to you if there’s no one else to hang around with. If you have a problem, they don’t care. They are friends when it is easy or they don’t have something more fun to do. They are just fair weather friends.
What do you think? Is it important to pick your friends from people who hang in there with people. Sure it is. Your friend factory works best when you hang in there with people who hang in there with people.
Well, you did it. You finished all of the new ideas about making friends. Congratulations! That makes you the champion friend picker. Go ahead Champ, give yourself a big pat on the back. You deserve it.
So far, you’ve been the one who has taken the quizzes. You’ve done a great job too. Go ahead. Say it. “I’m soooo smart.”
Now that you’re the champion friend picker, you get to give people quizzes. Do you like that idea? It’s spectacular, isn’t it? You’re the friend factory boss. You’re the Champion. You give the quiz.
Here’s how it works. Pick someone who you might want as a friend. Now ask these questions about that person. You can ask them or just imagine how you think they would answer them. What would their answers be if they were being very honest?
! Are you consistent?
! Are you positive?
! Do you always do your best?
! Do you make good choices?
! Do you know what’s really important?
! Are you assertive?
! Do you try to boss people around?
! Are you someone who I want in my commercial?
! Do you make demands?
! Are you dependable?
! Are you interested in people?
! Are you a good influence?
! Are you a good listener?
! Are you considerate?
! Are you patient?
! Are you gentle?
! Do you hang in there with people?
Did you catch it? Did you spot the questions on the friend picker quiz that should get “No” instead of “Yes” answers? Sure you did. A clever person like you would catch them. Bossing people around and making demands are both things friends don’t do. Those questions both should get “No” answers, shouldn’t they?
When you think someone might make a good friend, give them the friend picker quiz. You’re the champion friend picker. You pick your friends from people who do well on your friend picker quiz. They make the best friends. Your friend factory works best when you stick with people who do well on your friend picker quiz.
You did it! You finished all four chapters. You’re a terrific reader, aren’t you? Thank you for spending so much time with me. I hope you’ve enjoyed the book as much as I enjoyed writing it for you.
Have fun being the champion friend picker. Have fun being the friend factory boss. Most important, have fun being you. You really are spectacular. Go ahead, say it one more time. I’m….
Gary A. Crow, Ph.D. GAC@garygripes.com || and visit www.garygripes.com.