Plays Well With Others: The Surprising Science Behind Why Everything You Know About Relationships Is (Mostly) Wrong by Eric Barker

  • 4. We all lie and we are not very good at detecting lies. Even polygraphs are easy to beat. Traditional techniques are designed to induce stress. Unfortunately, they can work too well when they get innocent people to confess to something they didn’t do.
  • New techniques use The Friendly Journalist MethodTM approach also known as the good cop. Be nice, do your homework so you know as much as you can, ask open-ended questions to keep them talking, and look for times when they appear to be thinking hard. A lag in answering could mean they are thinking up a lie. Ask unanticipated questions. Ask what is your birthday rather than how old are you? The first makes them think. If you have hard evidence that counters their statements, use it.
  • 5. Being bad at reading others is probably a good thing. You do not want to notice every negative thought anyone has about you. “It would give your anxieties anxieties.” We are pretty good at reading others when sufficiently motivated and engaged, but not too good. What we do need to do is put more effort into revisiting our first impressions and other judgments we make.
  • Part 2: Is “A Freind in Need a Friend Indeed”?

  • 6. A study of National Medal of Honor winners, the highest US award, shows that in all cases the winner was risking his life for his friends. Friendship is universal and one of the most important things in one’s life. Mutual aid is part of the deal, but not strict reciprocity. At the moment, people tend to be happiest when with friends. If your boss is a friend, you are more likely to enjoy your job. Work also goes better if you have multiple friends at work. When it comes to happiness, friends are better than money. They are a choice, however, and never an obligation.
  • 7. Transactional relationships based on benefits are not real friendships. As Aristotle said, “friends are disposed toward each other as they are disposed to themselves: a friend is another self. This idea shows up in the Bible, in almost countless pieces of classic literature, and in MRI studies. Empathy, therefore, is when the line between you and another blurs. People you care about become a part of you. “We can and do make great altruistic sacrifices for friends.”
  • 8. Eric takes issue with one of Dale Carnegie’s pieces of advice, which is to speak to people from their point of view. The problem is that we are very poor when it comes to understanding the perspective of others. If you want to develop stronger friendships, you need to attend to two things. The first is time. It takes about 60 hours to form a “light friendship” and 100 for a full-fledged friend. The second thing is vulnerability. Self-disclosure directly aids in producing “another self.” Not opening up in an appropriate manner can cause or worsen several diseases, including heart attack. We send signals constantly in relationships. What signals should we send to make us look trustworthy?
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