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Five Close Friends


I’m stealing this exercise from a friend of mine named Jim Rieffenberger, which proves he’s a friend because he’s okay with it. It works best if you use it on a younger person.

Take a deck of playing cards and deal out five face down, a set of five for everyone who is playing the game.

“Aces are low and so are these friends. They gradually get better, the higher the value: a two is better than an ace, a three is better than a two and so on. A 10 is the most excellent of friends—helpful, supportive, fun, a real quality person that everyone looks up to.

“Far worse than the aces are the face cards. These are not really your friends; they are frenemies—people who are steering you down a path for their own personal agenda and not yours.

“The jack is a weak person always asking for help, never giving you any back. His value is a negative two. A jack is needy and complaining—the world is bad and they blame you for it, they need your help to do projects, they need to borrow

your car, your money, your free weekend. They never return the favor and make you feel guilty every time you are with them.

“The queen is the bad girlfriend or boyfriend. Her value is negative five. Queens are even worse than jacks because they are using the emotions of love or the passion of sex for their own selfish purposes. Your parents or family are most concerned about the queen and the queen knows it. For this reason the queen will try to put you in a spot where you must choose.

“The king is the worst of all. His value is negative seven. He has the power of charm and charisma. He is cunning and gets his way. Others follow him and he can stand up to the people who have persecuted you in a way that earns your loyalty. Sadly, he uses that loyalty to make you do bad or even illegal things. In your heart of hearts you wish you never knew him, but he is the king and he rules your life.

“Now flip your cards over and look at them. These are your friends for life. Add up the value of each and average out the numbers. This is now your value and it is the value you will have for the rest of your life.

“Of course, we know that life is not really like that. People grow up and move, friends come and go. So now, take your five cards and draw from the deck. Keep the best five cards you want and discard the ones you don’t want. Do this all the way through the deck. When the deck is finished, you are now an adult. Now average the cards. This is now who
you are.

“What has changed? Why has it changed? Friends are friends through loyalty. But loyalty is often used by harmful friends to hold you back or damage you. Always look for good friends among people you admire. Always be on the lookout for people who are using you under the guise of friendship.”

Play this game with a younger person and watch their perceptions change. Watch your perceptions change.

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