Did you know that some people are better at having friends than others? 

A recent study highlighted an approach I have often found helpful in my coaching work. Let’s look at the background then the practice we suggest.

Assuming the Best in Others
Psychologist Fred H. Goldner coined the term: Pronoia, which is described as the optimistic counterpart to paranoia. “People with pronoia possess the delusion that, despite any evidence to the contrary, others want the best for them.” The article goes on to explain that these individuals are better at having and making friends than others, also known as a ‘super friend’ They generally believe people are likely to like them and it turns out they are more likely to make better friends as a result. It is called secure attachment versus nervous attachment.

So, how do you tap into your pronoic side? 

You Are Likable
This study found–as have I–that when people write down how others like them, they become more pronoic. More of a ‘super friend’, as they call it. We have used this practice many times in our coaching work and it is effective.  For example, I have three happily married clients who were single or recently separated, seeking a romantic relationship, when we began with the coaching. In our onboarding sessions, when we clarify what the client wants to have happen, they each outlined the growth they wanted as leaders and as people. Then jokingly added, “And a life partner would be nice too!” 

I don’t offer a dating service. I can, however, see and release the shadows that may be inhibiting a person from recognizing and fully owning how amazing they are. Including as a friend, lover, or partner.  

Write about Your Great Loves
It is so helpful when people write about the great loves in their lives. Yes, there may be some pain to acknowledge and let go, but we are looking to help the person get in touch with how capable they are of real connection and love. You want to remind yourself of the depth of giving and receiving you have already experienced. Not just romantic… parental, collegial, with pets even. All kinds of great connections. Even the pain is evidence of how deeply you love. 

So write about the great friendships in your life. As you dig deeper, you will find there are all kinds of amazing connections you’ve had. Write in detail about what made those friendships (or romantic or working relationships) great. 

Mutual Empowerment
We have been noticing the power of friendship more often in our coaching. The quickest way to empower someone to grow is to get them genuine support. To quote Freud, “how much we achieve when we finally admit we are loved”. If you let yourself like people, you access your capacity for secure attachment. You are more likely to be a super friend. As we realize through writing about these experiences how capable we are of deep connection, we finally admit we are 100% qualified to be and to have great friendships.

I would love to hear how this works for you. 

David Lesser
Founder & CEO