Thinking Magically™ | Friends with Benefits

A friend in need is a friend indeed.

Today we’re going to do a little experiment. I believe you’ll really like it. There’s only one rule . . . you’ve got to promise that you won’t speed read through these instructions in order to skip ahead to the end without actually doing the work! Give me your word? Okay, here we go:

Step 1: Take a piece of paper and a pen, and quickly write out the names of 5 of your friends or family members (you can always print out this page and use that).

1.  ________________________________________________

2.  ________________________________________________

3.  ________________________________________________

4.  ________________________________________________

5.  ________________________________________________

Step 2: Below each name that you have written, write out one thing you would say to them that, if they followed your advice, would change their life for the better.


What you would say:  ___________________________________________________________


What you would say:  ___________________________________________________________


What you would say:  ___________________________________________________________


What you would say:  ___________________________________________________________


What you would say:  ___________________________________________________________

Step 3: Take each of the statements you wrote out in Step 2, and now reflect on how each of those critiques/suggestions actually applies to you! Rewrite each of your Step 2 friend recommendations for your use! Write these out, by the way, in the  present tense. For example, if you put forward the advice that a friend needs to lose weight, you would rewrite this for yourself as, I am now losing the weight I need to be healthy.

1.  I am now ___________________________________________________________________________


2.  I am now ___________________________________________________________________________


3.  I am now ___________________________________________________________________________


4.  I am now ___________________________________________________________________________


5.  I am now ___________________________________________________________________________


Step 4: Rinse and repeat periodically to gain some new insights.


There will be times when you write out a recommendation for a friend that, on first blush, does not seem to apply to you. For example, in using this technique myself, I used the statement for a friend, stop smoking! Now, I don’t smoke so I certainly can’t rewrite this as I am now a non-smoker and healthier than ever. However, I examined what I wrote and started perceiving that what I really wanted my friend to do was to stop smoking so they would be healthier. I wanted them to stop putting bad things into their body. That awareness then allowed me to recast my statement (for me) into I am now putting healthier and healthier things into my body so that I can be powerful and fit.

Also, you might simply have some comments for your friends that sound like this: keep up the good work! That’s great, too. You can turn those around into self-serving pledges like:  I just keep getting better and better because I know what works!

Oh, and one more thing – this technique makes an insanely great party game. When used in a group setting, you can actually go around the room and people share their wisdom for others and then are told that the advice is actually for them. Now, I don’t suggest that you have the participants share which friend they are talking about – that could be prove to be hurtful. So, as a reminder, you are just letting guests share their advise, and then use it on themselves.

As you can see, the way I am using the phrase friends with benefits is not about relationships that lack emotional involvement. Rather, this technique is built around two concepts; namely, we sometimes know our friends better than we know ourselves, and (as Richard Bach said) we teach best what we need most to learn. Your friends (at least your notions about your friends) bring with them a lifelong instruction manual for providing you with well-being, rewards, and comfort!

Use your musings about your friends well.

Just some thoughts. If you enjoyed this, please click below to share this with others.

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© 2011 by Scott Grossberg. All Rights Reserved.

11 thoughts on “Thinking Magically™ | Friends with Benefits

  1. Thanks for this. I’m a life coach and do give people advice, sometimes friends. So I did this exercise as you directed and came away a bit more empowered, and grateful. Thanks! I’d love to use this in my work. OK, if I give credit to you and a link?

  2. Pingback: Tarot and Affirmations « Cathy Lynn Tarot

  3. Pingback: Advice for Friends « 3 Shared Paths' Blog

  4. Well done Scott. This is a great exercise in recognizing projection and improving yourself through it. Kudos!! As what Bruce said, I would like to use this form with my clients (as it fits and with credit). Email me?

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