Looking at someone’s Facebook wall on their birthday, it may seem like they have hundreds of friends – but is knowing people the same thing as having a true relationship? And how do you know how you truly feel about someone outside of politeness and people-pleasing?
It turns out there is a fast way to figure that out. Author Ross McCammon has a test regarding level of comfort he feels about someone, which he calls the “Two Beers and a Puppy Test.”
Friends or acquaintances?
A recent study by The New York Times revealed that while the average American may know around 600 people, that doesn’t mean they have 600 friends. And some of their social media connections may not even be people they actually know.
This ties into another study that concluded the average American adult has a much more manageable 16 friends in real life. This breaks down into: “Three friends for life, five people they really like and would hang out with one-on-one, and eight people they like but don’t spend time with one-on-one or seek out.”
Of course, it’s absolutely true that friendships do fall in various categories – while there’s people we may talk to daily or weekly, there’s others we may only check in with occasionally or chat with when we run into them.
Ultimately, the barometer of how close you are to someone isn’t even how often you see each other or talk, but how comfortable you feel around them when your paths do cross.
It boils down to two factors: How much time you spend together and whether the person can be trusted. And here’s where McCammon’s test comes into play.
Two beers and a puppy
According to this test, to find out how you actually feel about someone, ask yourself:
“Would I have two beers with this person?” And: “Would I allow this person to look after my puppy over a weekend?”
The people who are yes and yes are the ones you trust and cherish, and need to spend more time with in your life.
Ditch toxic friends and surround yourself with the right people
While this is a great way to evaluate people in your life, it’s also an important test to use to look inward. Are you the type of person to be trusted and cherished as a friend? If not, work on becoming a better friend.
As Oscar Wilde once said, “Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.” If they make you laugh and are a good time, that’s fantastic – but if they are always negative and complaining and bringing you down – you might not want to keep them in your life.
Ultimately it boils down to asking yourself whether the people in your life truly add to your happiness.
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