I have a lot of “friends”. But when I think about those in my life who will join me in the shallows – I only have a few. Maybe only two or three.

Our definition of “friend” has changed in our hyper-technological world. Our relationships are a mile wide and an inch deep. And a real friend is rare.

“If you have one true friend you have more than your share.”

Few are those who understand loyalty, respect, and empathy. To step into emotion with another person. To resist the need to fix the problem and focus on connection. The video below explains this perfectly.

How are you with empathy? Do you have the ability to step into the pain with others? Let me know where you're at in the comments below.

Share. Someone you know needs to hear this.

30 thoughts on “The #1 Secret to Making REAL Friends Who Love You

      • A. C. says:

        Maybe I’m weird but empathy when I feel sad and overwhelmed doesn’t make me feel any better. What makes me feel good it’s a friend that help me in a concrete way, by giving me his detached vision of my problems and maybe a good advice or an inspirational speech, always in a positive way to make me see the glass half full (instead of half empty as I see it already on my own when I’m sad. ) My best friends are the one that in a bad moment they know how to change my negative thoughts by show me the little light of hope that even in the darkest place. That’s change my vibe in good vibe, the only comment “I know how you feel and you are not alone” doesn’t make me feel any better if is not followed by an optimist better vision and a concrete help! I do the same for my friends, tiring to make them feel better with a positive attitude and a good plan to fix the problem.

  1. AM says:

    Dr Brown! She is amazing! I saw a TED talk from her on vulnerability two years ago. This video is just as excellent. Right on point. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Kathy says:

    What a great video! The best explanation of empathy and sympathy I’ve ever heard. Discovered I’m more sympathetic than empathetic. Vowing to change that this very minute! Thank you!!

  3. Karen says:

    Love, love, love Brene Brown. Such an insightful-yet real-lady. I am reading “The Gifts of Imperfection” right now. So AWESOME!

  4. Danielle Borer says:

    I’m with Kathy on this, realized the difference and what those even sound like. I am definitely going to work on being more empathetic than sympathetic. Great video!

  5. Brigetta says:

    So very good! Suffering teaches empathy more than anything else. Because my child was in Children’s Hospital at one point in his life, I now have the ability to truly empathize with parents who go through something similar. I know how important it is just to show up for them. I love Brene Brown- that voice of hers. I’ll be tweeting this.

    • Dale Partridge says:

      Wow Brigetta, thank you for sharing that. I totally agree – you can empathize on a whole new level now. Incredible how that works!

  6. Chay says:

    I really needed to see this!!! I’m am that fixer person so much of the time. I get frustrated with myself about this too! I know I can’t change it or fix it but I always felt like I was helping and really the connection was lost and they probably feel worse after opening up.. It totally sucks but I am excited that I know what I can say now and focus on, the simple phrase ” I’m so glad you told me”

  7. Mieckalah Rain Toikka says:

    To say that “Empathy is a choice”…. Coming from someone who is naturally empathetic, Its not a choice all the time..
    I cant even watch the news anymore because it triggers my empathy… Your either emphatic or your not. THere is not an in between. Not for me anyway….
    I love having it but I can also say that its the worst curse of all time.. My entire day can be ruined just by over hearing a story I didnt want to hear… There is time to turn on the empathy, but I can tell you its not something you want all the time. Makes it impossible to be selfish when need be.

    • Dale Partridge says:

      I know exactly what you mean, Mieckalah. Seems it can definitely be a blessing and a curse. Really appreciate your insight

    • S says:

      I think you’ve touched on the topic of personal power with what you’ve said. To me, personal power is having the ability to know what the appropriate logical response is while combining the emotional aspects as well…the balance of logic and emotion. Its a difficult balance to achieve but that is where you really have mastery over your own mind.

  8. Mieckalah Rain Toikka says:

    Nothing sucks worse then crying your day away over a situation thats not yours to worry about.

  9. Joe Pessimist says:

    Making friends is no secret. All you have to do is be authentic. Be honest. The worst thing you can do is make friends with people only because they give you a business advantage and then defraud or trick them into doing something by promising something you don’t intend to deliver on. It’s really bad if all your friends are only professional extensions. That be oh so lonely. Lonely indeed

  10. Lilly says:

    I love this! We talk about active listening and we talk about appropriate vs inappropriate responses, but rarely do we talk about the necessity of joining someone in the depths of their darkness to help build light together. That is true friendship.

    I knew that the video was Brene Brown’s voice instantly, but had to wait until the very end of the video to see her name. Maybe you could credit her in your article so people know whose voice/ideas they’re listening to? I know sometimes people stop videos before they see the credits at the end and I think it’s important for people to know who this amazing woman is!

  11. Krishna Patel says:

    To have empathy for someone I think its really important to really listen to them and support them rather than using their sadness to share your similar story as well!! Just be there for them in that moment 🙂 awesome post thank u

  12. Julie says:

    I personally just went through a very hard past 18 months. I was deep into depression and was asking over and over for empathy and support. I did not know where to turn and kept going into a downward spiral. Some of my friends offered empathy, Some just stern advice, while most were lost for words. I almost lost some friendships in the process. Through my time I learned the hard way, that, yes just because someone does not offer empathy, does not mean that they don’t care. This is a great statement. Especially after what I just went through with friendships. I am on a good path right now. Taking baby steps on my change and rebuilding my self and my friendships. Some will never be the same again, but for me, they will be better. Less stress. Connection and trust is hard to rebuild after it’s broken. I chose to stay and work, rather than walk away. Because it was not their actions, it was mine. I am surrounded by very intelligent women and men. Something I cherish everyday. My life could have been a lot different and I am very thankful. So, empathy, the nitty gritty, the dark side of a friend and everything in between. It is a blessing. Sometimes you have to tear down, before you rebuild. Empathy or none.

  13. Teri Hawk says:

    It has been written that the only way that you can help people is not to try and fix them, but work with them towards the solution,

  14. talia says:

    I think that’s why I have such awesome friends I’m a really empathetic person because I have been through a lot and I can connect with people on a empathetic level.

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