Build Better Friendships with These 6 Rules All Amazing Friends Use

E.B. Johnson | NLPMP

How are your friendships faring these days? Do you feel you’re surrounded by the right people? Or are you someone who wishes they had a few more genuine connections to enjoy? Our friends can be an important part of our happiness. More than just social connections, they provide us with a sense of safety and a sense of family in a crazy world.

Making friends can be hard, though. Not only do we have to find the right people to connect with, we have to take a long look at our own understanding and behavior in these friendly relationships.

If you’re ready to build better friendships, then you should begin by recognizing The 6 Rules of Friendship. From there, you can consider your own likability quotient and what you’re bringing to the table as a friend, too.

What are the 6 rules of amazing friendship?

In building friendships, there are 6 fundamental "rules" that go into the mix. Every friendship is different, meaning that every connection shares some mix of these core traits. What’s even more important to remember, however, is that these 6 rules of friendship come together to create our own likability quotient.

The Rule of Humor

How funny are you? Turns out this could be a key part of building a lasting friendship with someone. Look at the Rule of Humor. In short, this principle points out that funny people are perceived as more likable. It makes sense. Humor reduces anxiety and increases trust. It releases endorphins. And what does the golden rule of friendship say? If you can make people laugh, make people feel good about themselves, they’ll like you.

The Rule of Similarity

The Rule of Similarity is the friendship law that we are most familiar with. It’s the basics. People like being around others who have the same attitudes, beliefs, and perspectives. It prevents us from challenging ourselves and provides us with a sense of comfort. It can be a benefit but also a double-edged sword as well. Too much similarity and you can get lost in an echo chamber.

The Rule of Curiosity

How curious do you make other people? When you meet someone new, do they ask you a lot of questions? Or do you just quickly fade into the background? The curiosity you produce in others feeds into your friendship factor. The more people want to know about you, the more interested in friendship they’ll be. Do you have to produce some grand life to get this? Nope. You simply have to create a life that’s bursting with things you love.

The Rule of Scarcity

When we meet people we like, we think that we have to be with them as much as possible. We want to hang out all the time with new friends, but that constant availability isn’t a good thing. According to the Rule of Scarcity, people like when something feels safely out of reach. People prefer connections they have to work for over desperation. Desperate people who are always available appear as though they want something, and that’s intimidating.

The Rule of Misattribution

The Rule of Misattribution is interesting. Essentially, when you’re around people who are having a wonderful experience, they are more likely to associate you with that experience. Being in the right place at the right time literally makes you more likable to the right people. Think about it. Some people make their best friendships at the gym or on a holiday trip. The law of misattribution is always at play when in a high-endorphin experience.

The Rule of Disclosure

How are you at being vulnerable with others? Once you trust someone, is it pretty easy to let them in? Do you let down the walls and let them see you in moments of good and of bad? We need this kind of vulnerability to build deep trust with others. That “forever friendship” type of connection isn’t one that’s only smiles and rainbows. You disclose the shadows to one another, too.

How your likability quotient may be affected.

The 6 rules of amazing friendships are always at play in the connections we’re making, even if we don’t realize it. Fundamentally, each one of these rules feeds into a facet of who are as a person. How we engage with these laws creates our likability quotient. Want to improve yours? Take a deeper look at it.

Your likability quotient is essentially the measurable effect of your ability to connect with others. Coined by Dr. Hendrie Weisinger (an emotional intelligence expert) in 2015, this quotient has been shown to affect personal success in every area of life. Want better friends? Improve your likability quotient.

How can we do this? It’s not rocket science. Look back to the 6 core laws above. If you want to form more solid friendships, then you need to:

  • Stop taking yourself seriously
  • Find those with similar interests
  • Create your own interesting life
  • Stop making yourself too available
  • Look for friends in better places
  • Tap into your vulnerability

Find your sense of humor and enjoy shared humor in others. Stop taking yourself so seriously. Look for places where you can connect over shared interests. That is where you will find others with similar perspectives and beliefs in life.

Don’t make the hunt for this human connection the center of your life. Rather, build an interesting and fulfilling life for yourself, then find people who complement that life in friendship. Never make yourself too available, however. No one trusts desperation. Remember to always hold space for yourself.

Seek friends in better places, where people are happy and being productive. Outdoor experiences, travel experiences, and special interest groups are a great place to take advantage of friendly misattribution. Avoid projecting someone you aren’t, though. Be authentic and vulnerable with the people you want to connect with.


Where do you think you sit on the likability scale? Are you forming genuine connections? Or is there more work to do? The good news is that our friendships skills are just another program. Like any program, we can upgrade and download entirely new behaviors, beliefs, and skills. Even about our own friendships and our ability to create new ones.

If you don’t have the friendships you want, don’t despair. The right people are out there, waiting for someone as genuine and as ready as they are. To get to them, though, you’re going to have to look up and look forward. Become the friend you want to attract and mindfully raise your likability quotient.

Goodrich, P. (2003). Laws of Friendship. Law and Literature, 15(1), 23–52.

Tornquist, M., & Chiappe, D. (2015). Effects of humor production, humor receptivity, and physical attractiveness on partner desirability. Evolutionary Psychology, 13(4), 147470491560874. doi:10.1177/1474704915608744

E.B. Johnson is a writer, NLP coach, and podcaster who helps women rebuild their futures after a lifetime of narcissistic abuse and trauma.

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