100 Ways to Make Friends (in real life)

  1. Say ‘Good Morning’ with a big smile
  2. Make them a cup of tea
  3. Ask their advice
  4. Lend them something
  5. Ask them the time/directions/where they bought that nice thing
  6. Share food with them
  7. Ask them about their family
  8. Buy them a drink
  9. Talk about TV you both like
  10. Tell them about something goofy you did
  11. Ask them on what would they spend a lottery win
  12. Gossip together
  13. Comment positively on their décor/car/bicycle/taste in desktop stationery
  14. Ask what they did/will do at the weekend
  15. Choose to sit next to them
  16. Ask if they can recommend a tradesperson/hairdresser/yogic guru
  17. Tell them about a crush you have
  18. Ask for help with a crossword clue
  19. Invite them for coffee
  20. Buy one, get one free, and give them the spare
  21. Show them a funny cartoon
  22. Ask their opinion on world events
  23. Go shopping together
  24. Catch their eye and smile
  25. Encourage their creativity
  26. Compliment their jewellery/hat/shoes/bag
  27. Ask for their support
  28. Tell them about something you love doing
  29. Ask where they’re going on holiday
  30. Do something naughty together
  31. See their point of view
  32. Ask them about their childhood/college years/first job
  33. Discuss favourite writers with them
  34. Ask what groups/clubs/organisations they belong to
  35. Ask to borrow something (and give it back soon)
  36. Let them talk
  37. Tell them about your love life
  38. Invite them to your birthday do
  39. Ask what art/music/film they like
  40. Share stories of injuries
  41. Talk about travel
  42. Talk about food
  43. Create a running in-joke with them
  44. Do karaoke together
  45. Treat them well
  46. Remember stuff they tell you
  47. Tell them they smell nice
  48. Have welcoming body language with them
  49. Talk conspiratorially with them
  50. Use their name
  51. Buy them a cake
  52. Doodle a cartoon of them and gift it to them
  53. Think about their comfort, not yours
  54. Ask if they collect anything
  55. Go swimming together
  56. Ask them to scratch a place you can’t reach
  57. Take their turn at the washing up
  58. Sing a song together
  59. Touch their arm
  60. Let them go first
  61. Help them
  62. Look pleased to see them
  63. Enquire after their health then listen to the answer
  64. Laugh together
  65. Play a silly game together
  66. .…or a clever game
  67. Teach them a useful skill
  68. Share an umbrella
  69. Assume they are a good person
  70. Empathise with them
  71. Find something esoteric you have in common
  72. Tell them a secret
  73. Tell them when they have a cappuccino moustache
  74. Show them your weird birthmark/tattoo/hairy mole
  75. Swap childhood tales
  76. Jog together
  77. Give them a lift
  78. Notice the colour of their eyes
  79. Compliment them on an unusual quality or skill
  80. Be genuine with them
  81. Make them feel useful
  82. Remember their tea, milk and sugar needs
  83. Recommend a good show to them
  84. Compare feet/hands/ears
  85. Let them be nice to you
  86. Bring them back a free or silly gift from your holiday (a shell, seaside rock, a beermat)
  87. Offer them your warm jumper/hat/scarf
  88. Compromise on something together
  89. Write something personal on their birthday card
  90. Thank them
  91. Ask them if they need a hug
  92. Confide in them
  93. Look out of the window together
  94. Ask them to join your team
  95. Work together in companionable silence
  96. Defend them publicly
  97. Be compassionate to them
  98. Gently tease them
  99. Give them the best chair
  100. Go somewhere beautiful together


Further tips on making friends: http://www.towerofpower.com.au/11-tips-from-benjamin-franklin-to-make-friends


How to Enjoy Middle-Age

With middle-age comes the shock knowledge that you will not live forever. Whilst we can know this intellectually when young, with the advent of aches and pains, diminished energy, and a sudden need for comfy shoes and innumerable pairs of glasses, we can glimpse The Grim Reaper on the horizon and feel the chill dread of mortality. On our bad days it can seem like a good option to give up now, and start packing the bags for the journey to oblivion. But our middle years have some wonderful compensations for loss of youth. For a start, we don’t have to listen to heavy metal music anymore (tolerance of which decreases with age) and can fill our music collections with gorgeous ballads and soothing instrumentals. More seriously, we can develop a greater understanding of who we are, and prioritise self-care and gentleness towards ourselves over the short-term gratifications of our youth.

Here are some ways to make the best of your middle-age:

  • Enjoy slowing down and take time to relax. Your body is telling you what you need. When possible, surrender to the call of an afternoon nap. If you are at work and can’t have a snooze, take a break to shut your eyes and just be still for 15 minutes. 
  • Watch the alcohol and coffee intake. These things are volatile medicines, to be used carefully for perking you up or calming you down. Be aware of their power! There are innumerable safe, delicious alternatives to caffeine, and the upside of less alcohol is more clarity and energy. And less gout.
  • Don’t bang on about being ‘old’ to all and sundry. Sure, you can share with your ageing friends some of your gripes, but the workplace, a social occasion or romantic dinner are not occasions to draw attention to your decrepitude. It’s your spirit people will really relate to, and a cheerful, positive spirit gives other people a better time than a complaining, negative one. Do you want to be that stereotype of the grouchy old person at the bus stop? Didn’t think so. 
  • Reconnect with old friends and long-lost family. They are probably missing you too. And make new friends with your wider peer group through activities and organisations which cater to you and your values and interests. Give service by volunteering or caring for others (but avoid running yourself ragged – you’re no good to anyone if you’re not well).
  • If you take pride in your appearance but don’t want to look like mutton dressed as lamb, ditch clothes that show lots of flesh or are skin-tight and think of your grown-up style as ‘elegant’, ‘artistic’ or ‘witty’ – this way you can still turn heads without looking inappropriate. You can wear a wider range of clothes than you might think – well-cut jeans are ageless, a good hat is always fetching, sunglasses are endlessly glamorous. Change your relationship with the mirror – don’t pore over new wrinkles and broken blood vessels (that way madness lies). Instead, smile cheerfully and briefly at your characterful new face – then get on with your life… 

Middle age is not about galloping through life, hungry for the next thrill – it’s about noticing the good stuff you already have, going deeper with it and nurturing it. Let the young have Youth, and claim the time of life that’s your territory, with all its potential pleasures and sense of achievement. And if you want to climb into a onesie and watch lashings of TV now and again, that too is absolutely fine….

This article was first published in the Life Coach Directory http://www.lifecoach-directory.org.uk/





An extract from The Improv Book: Improvisation for Theatre, Comedy, Education and Life by Alison Goldie

The following is the first part of a chapter in the book called Improvisation’s Life-Lessons:

Not long after I started learning improvisation, it became clear to me that it wasn’t merely training for performance, but also, training for life. At the core of its ethos is freedom – freedom to say what’s on your mind, to reinvent yourself, to act like a lunatic, to play like a child yet create material which moves adults, to step outside of rules and regulations and see possibility instead of restriction, to see the upsides of all the downsides and vice versa, and to laugh at yourself and all human folly. When I teach improv, I see people in a state of release, learning to trust their instincts and relate to others without the censorship that bedevils so much interaction in daily life.

Role-play has long been a practise for discovering different ways to behave. In the safe, held environment of a classroom or rehearsal space, students experience a kind of therapy, which, in not being named as such, encourages revelation that in a clinical setting might be pathologised. Improvisation is therapy-by-stealth, giving its participants an enjoyable way to learn practical tools for life, all of which emphasise the benefits of collaboration, acting in the moment, revealing your inner workings and relishing the journey. Though I’d strongly recommend doing improv to learn these lessons, this list of instructions or maxims will give you an idea of the side-benefits of the craft of extemporisation that may prove to be even more significant to you than just honing your performance skills.


In an improvised scene, if you don’t say ‘Yes’, nothing happens. The same is true of life. Saying yes leads to possibility, exploration, surprises, progress; to relationships, learning, excitement and satisfaction. A compliment I have always remembered came from a boyfriend who said ‘One thing I really appreciate about you is that you say ‘Yes’’. Even if I didn’t have a strong attachment to something he wanted to do, like going to a concert of a band I didn’t love, I would go with him anyway, often having a significantly better time than I anticipated, and earning much gratitude – and reciprocal generosity – from my beau.

The more you say ‘Yes’, the more you will receive. The more you say ‘No’ or block, the more critical you appear. Blocking implies that you don’t like what someone else is offering, and that you think you have a better idea – it’s a way to lose friends.

“Do not be critics, you people, I beg you. I was a critic and I wish I could take it all back because it came from a smelly and ignorant place in me, and spoke with a voice that was all rage and envy…..It is a f@*$%load of work to be open-minded and generous and understanding and forgiving and accepting, but Christ, that is what matters. What matters is saying yes.”

Dave Eggers, writer and publisher.

As Dave Eggers says, it can be hard work being open and accepting; it can be easier to be closed and unpleasant, especially when you find others to collude with you in a stew of negativity. There’s no shortage of mean-spirited, grudging people in the world, but do you really want to be one of them? Next time you hear yourself saying a knee-jerk ‘No’, take a look at what you’re turning down. Is it really a threat to you? Does it compromise your safety? Sometimes, of course, the answer is that it might: I’m not advocating sticking your head in a lion’s mouth or betting all your money on one spin of a roulette wheel. But far more often than you think, you’re saying ‘no’ (or ‘maybe’ when you mean ‘no’) when to say ‘yes’ would make your world a happier and more interesting place.


Improvisers are taught to go with the first thought. When you’re starting a scene, it would be contrary to the rules of improv to stand there, sifting through possible first lines before beginning. The audience want to see you dive in, (apparently) fearlessly and spin your material from whatever substance is to hand.

Professional artists don’t sit about, hoping inspiration will strike. Polly Morgan, a brilliant artist who specialises in taxidermy says, ‘Don’t wait for a good idea to come to you. Start by realising an average idea – no one has to see it. If I hadn’t made the works I’m ashamed of, the ones I’m proud of wouldn’t exist.’ Indecisiveness gets us nowhere. Often it’s more important to make a decision – any decision – than wimp and dither about which one to choose. As Polly Morgan says, if that first idea doesn’t lead to your finest work, it will be a crucial step on the way to your finest work. One thing leads to another: if you don’t start a process, you will feel frustrated and stuck; if you do, you will discover what you need to finish it, and have an interesting experience getting there.

Hugh Laurie, the actor and musician says this:

“It’s a terrible thing, I think, in life to wait until you’re ready. I have this feeling now that actually no one is ever ready to do anything. There’s almost no such thing as ready. There’s only now. And you may as well do it now. I mean, I say that confidently as if I’m about to go bungee jumping or something – I’m not. I’m not a crazed risk taker. But I do think that, generally speaking, now is as good a time as any.”


Improvisation is about leaping into the unknown, again and again. This can seem terrifying to a person who hasn’t trained in improv, but the seasoned improviser knows the risk they’re taking is not as crazy as it seems: they have techniques to fall back on and trusted team-mates, and, perhaps more important than anything, they are not afraid to fail. In Chapter 4, I talked about self-sabotage and why we hold ourselves back. All the excuses you make for not doing something that seems difficult could be countered by the question ‘What’s the worst that could happen?’ If you’re planning on making a motorcycle leap over twenty buses, the answer to that is admittedly not very comforting. But if you’re stopping yourself making a phone call to a prospective employer? They might say, ‘We have no vacancies’ but that’s not going to kill you. At worst you feel slightly embarrassed, at best you get the job. The more you take risks, the easier it becomes to face up to what seems difficult, and the more confident you become.

If you don’t risk, you don’t learn. Picasso said, ‘I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it’. He didn’t just paint traditional pictures, he experimented with form, colour, technique, materials. He was not just a painter but an illustrator, a sculptor, a ceramicist, printmaker and stage designer who lived to be 92, was extraordinarily prolific and loved his work. When did you step out of your comfort zone and try doing a new thing? The sense of mastery when you learn how to do something well enough to practise it to a satisfactory level is one of the things that life is for!

If you don’t risk, you don’t have adventures. There’s plenty of evidence that old people who think their lives were well-spent are the ones who went out and about and did stuff, not the ones that sat at home on the sofa, scared to move.  You don’t have to travel to Outer Mongolia, but travelling away from home and familiarity to just about anywhere will wake you up and give you memorable experiences. ‘The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page’ wrote St. Augustine. The more experience you have, the more you understand humanity, and the wider your capacity for compassion towards yourself and others. As you explore outside, you enrich inside.

If you don’t risk, you avoid intimacy. Getting close to another person can seem a hellishly difficult task, especially if we feel we’ve been let down before, but building up a thick, leathery protective skin against the world is not the answer to your fears. It’s a fundamental human need to have close personal interaction, whether that be through sharing our thoughts and feelings, working in tandem, having adventures together, or making love. If we’re low in confidence or living in alienating urban environments we run the risk of loneliness and depression; the occasional chat in cyberspace doesn’t really cut it. We fear real human link-ups because we think we’ll lose our independence, but the truth is that we move back and forth between the need for others and the need for our own time and space on a daily basis, and that’s completely normal. If you want to avoid feeling suffocated by another, set some boundaries – like being clear about when you need your own company – but don’t stay in your cave when what you really need is to speak the truth to another human being whilst touching knees and being close enough to appreciate the colour of their eyes.

When it comes to dating, we often make the stakes too high, desperately wanting to feel an immediate ‘spark’ and for the other to be life-partner material. After a few encounters where the date doesn’t match up to our high standards or vice versa, we retire wounded and disillusioned. Try not being so attached to the outcome – see the date as just two people having dinner, with the possibility of learning a little something, or having a laugh. When we take the pressure off, it’s much easier to take risks – because the risk seems so much smaller.


Available from http://oberonbooks.com/improv-book