Scientists at Stony Brook University, NY, have discovered a method to become close friends with almost anyone in less than 60 minutes. The technique will not just help you out with building deep relationships quickly but also lets you know what to always say next in a conversation. Today professionals such as police, interrogators, and psychologists have learned from these findings how to build trust and a relationship with a stranger rapidly.
This technique works best when you meet someone one on one. Therefore, it is perfect to use when meeting someone over a cup of coffee, while traveling or at a party. You can use it with anyone, such as a business colleague, an old friend, an acquaintance or even a relative you haven’t previously gotten to know well.
The Fast Friend Procedure
During a period that can be as brief as 45 minutes, you go through a series of questions that gradually become more and more personal. In a highly condensed timeframe, this simulates the same experience that otherwise takes months or years for friends to go through. In the lab, test persons read questions from a set of cards. In the real world, you have to interweave the questions throughout your ongoing conversation.
…it is important that you start off easy and proceed progressively. After about 30 minutes of talking, you can start asking about deeper matters…
First, ask something that is just slightly personal. Make sure that you relate the question to what you are currently talking about. For example, say that your friend is talking about an unpleasant phone call he or she recently had to make. You can ask, “When you make a telephone call, do you rehearse it beforehand?” After your conversation partner has answered, refer to yourself to reveal something slightly personal as well, maybe along the lines of, “I actually rehearse several times when I’m about to call someone I don’t know that well.”
If your questions become too personal too quickly they might be perceived as unpleasant, probing and scary. Therefore, it is important that you start off easy and proceed progressively. After about 30 minutes of talking, you can start asking about deeper matters
Deeper questions may be, “What is your most terrible memory?” Even more personal questions could follow the tack of, “When was the last time you cried in front of someone else?” If you have gradually learned to know each other through the easier but still personal questions, then it’s fine to ask such very deep questions and they will feel natural.
Remember to reveal as many personal things about yourself as your friend is disclosing. You can even switch the order of the questions and start off by revealing something personal about you, and then ask the person a related personal question. If you reveal personal things first, your friend will become more comfortable opening up to you.
To get a deeper understanding of how the method works, we asked one of the developers of this procedure, Dr. Elizabeth Page-Gould in the Psychology Department at the University of Toronto, two questions:
What is your advice or precaution to people who want to use the Fast Friend Procedure principles in their personal life to make friends?
When entering a new social group (i.e., meeting people for the first time), it’s always helpful to have some questions like the Fast Friends questions to get the conversation rolling. Generally, people like to talk about themselves, and they will appreciate that you want to know more about them. The two things to remember, though, is that not everyone is the same, and there is a big difference between interacting with a stranger than interacting with a friend.
In my research, some people become stressed during the first Fast Friends session, although pretty much everyone becomes comfortable by the second time they do the Fast Friends with another person. So, you always have to feel out a new interaction partner: back off if they seem like they don’t want to share and be sure that you reciprocate in kind by sharing equivalent levels of information with them. For the most part, people like to be asked about themselves, especially with questions that are somewhat unique and quirky!
In short, what do you think it is in the procedure that makes it so effective?
The Fast Friends procedure is effective because it mimics the way friendships develop naturally. When you first meet someone, you move beyond mere strangers by getting to know one another. The other person may tell you a little bit more about themselves, then you respond in kind by telling them a little more about you, and the process continues back-and-forth like that. The Fast Friends procedure just formalizes and accelerates this process!
Some of the Questions that the Researchers use:
• Would you like to be famous? In what way?
• Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you’re going to say? Why?
• When did you last sing to yourself or to someone else?
• Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?
• If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?
• If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?
Here is a link to the full list of instructions and questions that was used by the researchers.
You could also try this method on people that you have known for a long time already. If you haven’t previously had these kinds of conversations, this method will help your existing friendships grow stronger.