How to lose a friend

Landscape: Atlanta Idaho

On Monday night we have Family Home Evening. The 7 of us gather together and discuss the upcoming weekly schedule and Sam or I present a lesson about the gospel or any other timely topic. To finish off the meeting we have a treat. (rice crispy treat, cookie, brownie, ice cream, etc..) 

School just started so the timely topic was how to make friends and how to lose friends. It was my turn to teach so I taught three basic principles. 

1. No one likes a bragger

To get attention, to garner respect, to establish dominance in social situations children brag. 

“My room is painted blue with Star Wars wall paper on a wall. Plus, I have the entire Lego set you always wanted.” 

I told my kids this: “No one in the entire universe likes a bragger. That includes aliens.” Lily (6 years old) asked. “What’s a bragger?” 

2. Listen when your friends talk. Don’t interrupt

I asked Jack to tell me about his summer. He started to tell a story about his hike in Zions park. I interrupted him a couple of sentences into his story with my own story. 

Then I asked Lily to tell me about her new class. She started to tell me about her desk and I interrupted her with a story about my office and how cool it is. 

I told them this: “Being interrupted by someone is one of the most annoying things you can possibly do. It’s a quick way to lose friends.” 

When you listen, nod your head. Say things like “Uh huh, OK, yeah, etc..” So the person can detect your listening. And of course, actually listen. 

3. Don’t expect anyone to try to be your friend

This one was kind of hard for them to understand because it’s a hard pill to swallow. Everyone wants to have more friends. Everyone thinks that they deserve good quality friends. Everyone expects you to become their friend but people never take the initiative to make a friend. (Maybe not never, but almost never). If you want more friends you have to become their friend. It’s not easy, sometimes it is but it might take 1,2,3,5,10, or 20 tries to become someones friend.

No one will step up and become your friend. They’re waiting for you to do it. 

Children need to learn everything. They know nothing. I am always amazed by this. There are lots of adults who didn’t learn a basic social skill, or a basic skill as a child that they might never learn. 

That’s my observation.


  1. Thank you Jon for posting this, it came in very handy with Emma. First year of Kindergarten is tough, you learn about “mean” kids, and kids poking fun at you, and she’s so sensitive and befriends everyone! We will be using your 3 points a lot! Thank you!! We miss you guys and hopefully we can get up there or next time you drive through!! Love you guys!

  2. So, Jon, is it too much you to be my friend? Is that something I should expect? Or should I expect to not have you as a friend. This is all very concerning to me.

  3. You make an awesome point about kids not knowing stuff that a lot of reasonable people take for granted. Setting them up for a huge advantage in life. Well played.

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