How to Make Friends and Keep Them With Bestselling Author Eric Barker

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Verywell / Julie Bang

Every Monday on The Verywell Mind Podcast, Editor-in-Chief Amy Morin, LCSW, interviews authors, experts, entrepreneurs, athletes, musicians, and other inspirational people about the strategies that help them think, feel, and do their best in life.

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Meet Eric Barker

Eric Barker is the creator of a blog called "Barking Up the Wrong Tree," which presents scientific answers about how to ‘be awesome at life.’ He’s also the author of two bestselling books. "Barking Up the Wrong Tree" addressed the science of success and his new book, "Plays Well With Others," addresses the science behind relationships

He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and has an MBA from Boston College and a Master of Fine Arts from UCLA.

Why Eric Is Mentally Strong

Eric doesn’t just reshare information that is readily available. Instead, he goes deep into the research studies to separate fact from fiction. He then shares why so many of the lessons we’ve grown up believing aren’t actually true.

He makes his newsletters, blog posts, and books easy to understand even though he is sharing complex research about human behavior. He’s also very willing to talk about his own experiences and the lessons he’s learning about success and relationships along the way.

What You’ll Hear on the Show

  • How to define a friend
  • How many friends it takes to improve your well-being
  • Why friends may matter more than family when it comes to life satisfaction
  • The link between friendship and happiness
  • How friends can improve your health and help you heal from illness faster
  • How spending time with friends might be worth $93,000
  • How to develop deeper friendships
  • How too much small talk actually hurts relationships and what to do about it
  • How work friends can make you 96% happier with your life
  • Why it can be extra beneficial to have a community of friends who know each other
  • How the modern world is creating more parasocial relationships and why this is a problem
  • The dangers of loneliness
  • Why you can feel lonely in a crowded room
  • The cure for loneliness
  • How to make friends as an adult
  • How to feel like you’re lifelong friends with someone in 45 minutes
  • The most important thing you can do to maintain the friendships you already have
  • The two things that show us that we’re being a real friend
  • Why we should focus more on connecting with people rather than impressing them

What You’ll Learn About Mental Health and Mental Strength

  • Many people pursue happiness as an individual goal. But, there’s a strong link between social relationships and happiness. 
  • Yet, friendship is a topic that is often neglected. We discuss the importance of strong family relationships, yet not everyone has a healthy family that bolsters good mental health.
  • Friends are the relationships you choose. And choosing to develop relationships with people who support you can go a long way toward helping you become the strongest and best version of yourself. 

Quotes From Eric

Eric Barker

The research consistently shows friends make us happier than any other relationship because it's voluntary. Because if we don't like somebody, we don't have to do it [be friends with them]. So it's fragile, but that keeps it [friendship] pure.

— Eric Barker
  • "Friendship is great. Communities are even better."
  • "A lot of social media ends up coming out of the buddy budget. It’s that the more time we're on Instagram talking to people, the less time we're usually doing it face to face."
  • "If you feel like you're not connected—like people aren't thinking of you or don’t care about you— then you can be surrounded by people and still feel lonely."
  • "If people don't know about your struggles, they can't help." 

More About the Podcast

The Verywell Mind Podcast is available across all streaming platforms. If you like the show, please leave us a review on Apple Podcasts.

Reviews and ratings are a great way to encourage other people to listen and help them prioritize their mental health too.

Editor’s Note: Please be mindful that this transcript does not go through our standard editorial process and may contain inaccuracies and grammatical errors. Thank you.

For media or public speaking inquiries, contact Amy here.

Links and Resources

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By Amy Morin, LCSW
Amy Morin, LCSW, is a psychotherapist and international bestselling author. Her books, including "13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do," have been translated into more than 40 languages. Her TEDx talk,  "The Secret of Becoming Mentally Strong," is one of the most viewed talks of all time.