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Quick Friends

 

Communication

Exercise 45 min Group

According to the Theory of Self-Determination (TA), humans have a fundamental need to connect with other humans (Deci & Ryan, 2008). Our survival and well-being depend on it. However, most of us seek human connections for one simple reason – we are terrified of being vulnerable. To connect with others and develop a feeling of closeness we need to be willing to be open and vulnerable. Vulnerability is the key to authentic connections because it is the courage to be open to another human (Brown, 2013).

Being vulnerable with others is not always easy. Many of us are afraid of being rejected if others find out who we are. While we try to appear perfect, trustworthy, or smart to connect, paradoxically this has the opposite effect. In reality, people can detect inauthenticity in another, making connection difficult. If we allow ourselves to be completely open and vulnerable, we not only benefit personally, our relationships also improve and we can even become more attractive (Brown, 2013). According to Brown, “We are drawn to people who are real and down to earth … We love authenticity and we know that life is messy and imperfect.” We humans feel an intrinsic comfort in the presence of authenticity. Even someone who is real and vulnerable gives one space and permission to be the same.

Social psychologists Arthur and Elaine Aron developed the Quick Friends procedure to facilitate the formation of connections and closeness between people. The procedure follows the gradual process of meeting people that relationships normally follow, but at a faster pace. The procedure includes 36 questions, such as ‘Do you have a secret hunch how you will do it?’ and ‘If you could change anything about how you were raised, what would it be?’ The questions are designed to encourage people to be open with others at the same time and at a similar rate, reducing the likelihood that sharing will feel one-sided. It offers the space for the partner to respond positively to their self-disclosure – with understanding, validation and care – in such a way that closeness can also be improved.

The Quick Friends procedure has been empirically tested and proven effective. For example, Aron and colleagues (1997) found that previously unfamiliar people reported a greater increase in feelings of closeness compared to a control group of pairs of people who asked 36 superficial questions rather than following the procedure. This finding is true regardless of whether people shared basic values and attitudes or whether they expected the exercise to work initially. Another study found that the Quick Friends procedure promoted interracial relationships by breaking down barriers and reducing prejudice (Page-Gould, Mendoza-Denton, & Tropp, 2008). The researchers found that interracial peers experienced deep feelings of friendship and community (Page-Gould, Mendoza-Denton, & Tropp, 2008).

Author

  This tool was developed by Aron Arthur (Aron et al., 1997), who granted permission for it to be used in the Positive Psychology Toolkit.

objective

The objective of this tool is to facilitate the formation of connections and closeness between people.

advice

    • Clients can use this practice with multiple people with whom they want to develop a deeper connection – but if their responses start to feel routine, they should consider making their own list of questions that get more personal.

 

    • This exercise also works very well in groups. It can be used both to strengthen the bond between members of a group who already know each other well or as a starting point for building relationships between members of a new group.

 

    • This exercise can be used in couples therapy to increase the closeness and passionate love of a couple.

 

    • Keep in mind that a critical point of the exercise is that the questions progress from something that two people who have just met would ask to something more personal and intimate.

 

    • Before starting the exercise, it is essential to clarify that the client and his partner are comfortable sharing personal information.

 

    • He advises clients that the exercise works best when they are chatting with someone one-on-one and face-to-face. Depending on the clients’ presentation problems, they may choose to complete the exercise while sharing a cup of coffee, while traveling, or at a party. They can use this method with people they have known for a long time to strengthen their existing friendship. This exercise can also be used with business colleagues, old friends or even family with whom you want to be closer.

 

    • Questions can be presented in list form or in individual cards (see Appendix for card version).

 

    • A creative variation of the exercise would be to ask clients or members of a group to generate one or more questions to which they would like to know the answers. The questions in this tool can be introduced as an example before participants generate their own questions.

 

Quick Friends

 

Instructions

This exercise involves getting to know someone on a deeper level. You need a partner for this exercise, it can be someone you know well or someone you know. Before you begin, make sure that both you and your partner are comfortable with the idea of sharing personal thoughts and feelings. For 15 minutes, take turns asking each other the questions in Section I below. Each person must answer each question in alternating order (so that a different person answers each new question first). After 15 minutes, continue to Section II, following the same method. After 15 minutes, spend 15 minutes on Section III.

 

 

    1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, who would you choose as your dinner guest?
    1. Would you like to be famous? How?
    1. Before making a phone call, do you ever practice what you are going to say? Why?
    1. What would be a perfect day for you?
    1. When was the last time you sang for yourself? And for someone else?
    1. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you prefer?

 

    1. Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?
    1. Name three things that you and your partner seem to have in common.
    1. For which aspect of your life are you most grateful?
    1. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?
    1. Take four minutes to tell your partner your life story in as much detail as possible.
    1. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any quality or ability, what would it be?

 

 

    1. If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future, or whatever, what would you like to know?

 

    1. Is there something you have dreamed of doing for a long time? Why have not you done it?
    1. What is the most important achievement of your life?
    1. What do you value most in a friendship?
    1. What is your most treasured memory?
    1. What is your most terrible memory?
    1. If you knew that in a year you would die suddenly, would you change something about the way you currently live? Why?
    1. What does friendship mean to you?
    1. What roles do love and affection play in your life?
    1. You and your partner alternate in describing the characteristics of the other person that they consider positive. They both share five points.

 

    1. How close and warm is your family? Do you think your childhood was happier than most people’s?
    1. How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?

 

 

    1. With your partner, make three true “we” statements. For example, “We in this room feel …”.

 

    1. Complete this sentence: “I wish I had someone to share with …”.
    1. If you were to become a close friend of your partner, please share what information they should know about you.

 

    1. Tell your partner what you like about him or her; Be very honest this time, saying things that you wouldn’t say to someone you just met.

 

    1. Share an embarrassing moment in your life with your partner.
    1. When was the last time you cried in front of another person? And alone?
    1. Tell your partner something you like about him or her [currently].
    1. What, if anything, is it too serious to joke about it?
    1. If you were to die tonight with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not telling anyone? Why haven’t you told them yet?

 

    1. Your house, with all your belongings inside, is on fire. After saving loved ones and pets, you have time to quickly save one last item. It would? Why?

 

    1. Of all the people in your family, whose death do you find the most disturbing? Why?
    1. Share a personal problem and ask your partner for advice on how he or she would handle it. Additionally, ask your partner to reflect on how you feel about the problem you shared.

 

Appendix

 

Section I questions

 

1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, who would you choose as your dinner guest? 2. Would you like to be famous? How?
3. Before making a phone call, do you ever practice what you are going to say? Why? 4. What would be a perfect day for you?
5. When was the last time you sang for yourself? And for someone else? 6. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you prefer?
7. Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die? 8. Name three things that you and your partner seem to have in common.
9. For what aspect of your life are you most grateful? 10. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?
11. Take four minutes to tell your partner your life story in as much detail as possible. 12. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any quality or ability, what would it be?

 

 

Section II questions

 

13. If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or whatever, what would you like to know? 14. Is there something you have dreamed of doing for a long time? Why have not you done it?
15. What is the most important achievement of your life? 16. What do you value most in a friendship?
17. What is your most treasured memory? 18. What is your most terrible memory?
19. If you knew that in a year you would die suddenly, would you change something about the way you currently live? Why? 20. What does friendship mean to you?
21. What roles do love and affection play in your life? 22. You and your partner alternate in describing the characteristics of the other person that they consider positive. They both share five points.
23. How close and warm is your family? Do you think your childhood was happier than most people’s? 24. How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?

 

 

 

Set III questions

 

25. With your partner, make three true “we” statements. For example, “We in this room feel …”. 26. Complete this sentence: “I wish I had someone to share with …”.
27. If you were to become a close friend of your partner, please share what information he should know about you. 28. Tell your partner what you like about him or her; Be very honest this time, saying things that you wouldn’t say to someone you just met.
29. Share with your partner an embarrassing moment in your life. 30. When was the last time you cried in front of another person? And alone?
31. Tell your partner something you like about him or her [currently]. 32. What, if anything, is it too serious to joke about it?
33. If you were to die tonight without the opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not telling anyone? Why haven’t you told them yet? 34. Your house, with all your belongings inside, is on fire. After saving loved ones and pets, you have time to quickly save one last item. It would? Why?
34. Of all the people in your family, whose death do you find most disturbing? Why? 36. Share a personal problem and ask your partner for advice on how he or she would handle it. Additionally, ask your partner to reflect on how you feel about the problem you shared.