3 Friendship Keys

This book really showed me how I can increase the probability of someone liking me before I even say a word to them. Schafer has identified three “Friendship Signs” that are important non-verbal signals you can send to someone to lay a positive foundation to build a relationship upon. These are:

1) Eyebrow flash – lasting only 1/6th of a second, this simple nonverbal signal is received as confirmation that we don’t pose a threat. We usually don’t even realize we do this with our eyebrows, which shows just how engrained this behavior is. Although difficult to intentionally produce, be aware of other people sending you a quick eyebrow flash, as this suggests you should approach the other person.

2) Head tilt – a slight left or right head tilt is a nonthreatening position that subconsciously indicates you are comfortable with the other person. By tilting our head, we are exposing one of our carotid arteries which send oxygenated blood to the brain. When we feel threatened, we naturally tuck our neck into our shoulders to protect this vital artery. This non-verbal signal is easily used during a conversation and subconsciously let’s the other person know you feel relaxed and comfortable.

3) Smile – We all know that smiling is important, however Schafer explains the key differences between a fake and genuine smile. Fake smiles tend to be lopsided and the cheeks are not raised to allow wrinkling around the eyes. A genuine smile involves upturned corners of the mouth, wrinkling around the eyes and a more natural synchrony while smiling.

Understanding and being able to implement these three simple nonverbal signals into your pre-conversation repertoire can make or break a potential relationship. When you become aware of these three signals, it can give you control over the underlying messages you are sending and other’s perception of you.

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empathic statements

Two key terms to understand:

1) The Golden Rule

2) Empathic Statements

The golden rule is:

“If you want people to like you, you have to make them feel good about themselves.”

Now, in order to make people feel good about themselves we can utilize empathic statements. These are statements that place the focus of the conversation on the person you’re talking to. Schafer explains that in order to start implementing empathic statements, consider starting sentences with “so you…” as this immediately places the focus on the other person.

For example, if I notice someone seems to be in a good mood, I could say “so you seem to be having a good start to your day”. By doing this, I‘m not only showing that I’m interested in them and how they’re feeling, but I’m also showing that I’m aware and picking up on the signals they’re sending me.

Friends are those rare people that ask how you’re doing, and then wait to listen to the answer. 


Example Dialogue

I really appreciate the example dialogues Schafer uses to further explain the various verbal techniques he discusses in the book. Through this, he combines theoretical ideas with practical examples, and this helped me gain a better understanding of the various topics.


The images comparing different non-verbal signals that are discussed in the book are very useful. For example, when Schafer explained the eyebrow flash, head tilt, and smile, he had accompanying images that highlighted the differences. Imagining what a genuine smile looks like and actually seeing the characteristics of one, are two completely different things.

This book is for you if…

  • You are a millenial – Our tech-savy generation have weaker face-to-face social skills. This book can teach you simple techniques that will help you improve your ability to read a situation and give you a tool box that will allow you to form stronger relationships with people.
  • You want to improve your social skills – Whether you are struggling personally or professionally, the techniques apply to all parts of your life