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70 Simple Rules for Making Meaningful
Roger Horchow and Sally Horchow
Americans are more socially isolated than they were twenty years ago, according to a recent study in the American Sociological Review. Nearly a quarter of the people surveyed said they had "zero" close friends, and more than 50% had two or fewer confidants, a significant drop from the 1980s.
Some possible causes: extended work hours, longer commutes, and the substitution of Internet connections for live ones. In this digital age of apparently endless opportunities to connect, we're feeling more disconnected than ever. And while having friends may still be important to people, we no longer know how to make them a priority.
Enter Roger Horchow, catalog entrepreneur, Tony Award-winning Broadway producer, and the "connector" featured in Malcolm Gladwell's bestseller The Tipping Point; and his daughter Sally Horchow, a journalist and lifestyle expert, who have spent their lives making authentic connections. In their new book, THE ART OF FRIENDSHIP: 70 Simple Rules for Making Meaningful Connections, with a Foreword by Malcolm Gladwell (St. Martin's Press: October 17, 2006; hardcover), the two generations of connectors demonstrate how making and maintaining friends is a skill that can be learned and improved upon.
The authors say, "We believe that anyone can be a 'connector.' It may be an instinctive skill for some, but it's one that certainly can be acquired by others. If you can learn to be a person who takes action in any of the ways we describe, if you make the nurturing of friendships a personal priority, and if you understand the importance of following up with people, you will enjoy vital and long-lasting relationships in your life."
With their 70 "rules," Sally and Roger offer simple but effective suggestions that range from how to meet friends and the care and maintenance of friendships, to navigating complex friendships and even knowing when to end one that's gone wrong. Their recommendations include:
Use a "pick-up line" (Rule #5)
This is a tool to getting the conversation started, and can be difficult for shy people when they know nothing about the other person. The best kind is requires more than a yes or no answer and paves the way for follow-up questions. Try a compliment: "That's a lovely necklace you're wearing. Where did you get it?"
Make Room for New Friends (Rule #11)
Contrary to popular belief, a person's "friend capacity" is not finite. It is quite possible to make room in your life for additional friendships without sacrificing existing ones. All you need is motivation. Being open to new friendships has no downside: it costs you nothing and can bring great rewards. Believe it or not, meeting new people will make you a better friend to the ones you already have!
Peel back the onion (Rule #27)
Once you've met a person and engaged in enough small talk to know you'd like to get to know him or her better, your conversation needs to develop beyond the superficial. Try revealing something about yourself in order to make that person feel comfortable about opening up to you.
Don't Keep Score (Rule #61)
Each of us has the potential to be a "scorekeeper." Avoid this by not letting the idea of payback come into play at all, whether you are on the giving or receiving end of an expression of friendship. Get out of the "who owes me" way of thinking. If you do something in order to get credit or receive something in return, you are doing it for the wrong reason. Stop measuring your relationships.
Accept the Ebb & Flow (Rule #63)
Some friends exit your life almost as quickly as they entered it; others who were once extremely close to you may slowly fade away. And some friends, after being absent for an extended period of time, may re-enter your life when you least expect it. This fluidity is what makes friendship so beautiful. Once you accept its flow, you will have the freedom to let it naturally run its course.
Woven throughout Roger and Sally's advice are personal anecdotes from both father and daughter, in which they describe the experiences that led them to develop the rules. Roger recounts how his long-time friendships began with such prominent figures as A. Scott Berg, Bob Massie, Larry McQuade, Richard and Dorothy Rodgers, and William F. Buckley, Jr., and Sally provides many illustrations of how to apply their collective ideas to real-life situations.
The friendship study notes that "Ties to a close network of friends create a social safety net that is good for society, and for the individual. Research has linked social support and civic participation to a long life." Whether the goal is to start a new relationship, cement a developing alliance or reinvest in a longstanding friendship, THE ART OF FRIENDSHIP is the essential guide and a perfect gift for any friend in the 2006 holiday season.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS:
Roger Horchow is the founder of the Horchow Collection, the first luxury mail order only retailer, and a Tony Award-winning Broadway producer. His talent for connecting earned him a chapter in Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point. He lives in Dallas, Texas.
Sally Horchow is a lifestyle and trend journalist whose work appears regularly in publications such as The New York Times, Town & Country and DailyCandy.com. She lives in Los Angeles, California.
Sally Horchow and Roger Horchow are available for interview by appointment and in New York (October 16-20), Los Angeles, and Dallas (October 25-31).
THE ART OF FRIENDSHIP:
70 Simple Rules for Making Meaningful Connections
By Roger Horchow & Sally Horchow
St. Martin's Press; Publication Date: October 17, 2006
ISBN 0-312-36039-8; Hardcover; $14.95