How To Tuesday: 3 Easy Tips to Build Stronger Bonds with Friends

When we were little it was different story.

You throw a bunch of little kids together in a room with different backgrounds and from different places – the same result is gonna happen:

Playtime.

The one thing that made you popular was imagination. That’s all you needed.

I have a wild one. So life when I was little was easy and filled with friends.

I remember being in some McDonald’s playroom and playing with a stuffed giraffe that was laying there, and some other kid with a gorilla just came up to me without hesitation. And the giraffe and the gorilla became friends.

It’s like – hey – you’re alive, I’m alive. We obviously both think stuffed animals are cool. Let’s hang out.

Easy.

Now I’m on the road a bunch, out doing gigs a bunch and keeping in touch with my friends and people I love can sometimes be a bit more difficult.  I’ve learned a lot from friends about what helps us keep our connections when we are away from each other, and what helps us get even closer connections.  I’ve narrowed it down to my 3 favorites:

1. Evidence. Solid photographic evidence.  I’ve noticed that when someone tags me with cute photos of us together – sharing a moment, I will look at those photos, re-live that moment and feel a greater connection to that person.

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Photographs are their own forms of magic.

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They can be powerful mirrors in their own way – freeze framing moments in time forever.  I have a few photos of friends on my desktop that I will look at when I’m away from them to feel closer.
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2. Participation.   Give em’ something to remember you by - a regular thing that you do to get the group together.

I can’t even remember the night it started.

But I know how it ended.

In the gutter.
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From performing late nights at The Slipper Room or at Lucky 13 or at the old Palace of Wonders in DC, I would get everyone that was left in the bar at 4am to come out and lay down with me in the gutter and have someone take a picture.
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I was inspired by Oscar Wilde’s quote:

“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”

It had nothing to do with being messed up or wasted, and all to do with taking a chance, saying fuck it and throwing ourselves all together in a gutter.  A bunch of strangers for one moment in time finding camaraderie together.

It became a thing.  I would show up to gig and ten different people would come up to me and say – “We are going to wind up in the gutter together at the end of this night, aren’t we?”

And I will always say…. “Of course we are.”  Because we do. 

And it’s still my favorite part of the night…
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3.  Secret Names.  Names of Endearment.  Otherwise known as Nicknames.

Studies have shown that couples that use nicknames for each other create a stronger bond…it’s got that we’re-in-this-together vibe and we-insider-info-together.
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Well, I have a longtime pet name for Burke, but also for many of my close friends.  I’ve got my “Cuzzin”, I’ve got my “Raven Dice” crew, I’ve got my “Scout”….there’s a bunch of them.  And I love being called special names – some of my nicknames are: “VeVa”, “VeeVee”, “Double V”, “Black Diamond”, “Little Wolf”.  They all mean something to me, some have secret stories or moments attached to them, and if someone is calling me one of those names, I instinctively feel like we’re on some secret closer level than if they use just Veronica all the time.  The trick behind this is to let it happen organically – let it come from a moment that happens between the two of you – you’ll know when it’s the right name.
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Now, tell me…. what are some things that you do to help bond you closer with friends?  Let’s continue this conversation in the comments…..

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