“FHE Object Lesson: Making Friends That Stick,” New Era, March 2016, 6–7
They say you catch more flies with honey, but when you’re trying to make new friends, you definitely want to use pepper.
Or at least when you’re trying to teach your family about making friends.
Everyone wants friends—the kind of friends you can talk to, have a good time with, and trust to be there for you. They definitely add spice to life! (Get it? Because pepper is a spice.) But sometimes making good friends is a bit harder than making bad jokes about pepper. Don’t worry. With a balloon and a dash of pepper, you and your family will see how making friends can be easier.
Start by talking to your family about the importance of good friends. How can friends help us? Why is it important to have friends? What kind of people do you want to have as your friends?
Pour some pepper onto the plate. Explain that the pepper represents people around us at church, at work, and at school—our potential friends.
Blow up the balloon and tie it closed. Explain that the balloon represents each of us as we choose our friends.
Ask your family what they can do to attract the kinds of friends they want. The For the Strength of Youth pamphlet has some great ideas!
“To have good friends, be a good friend. Show genuine interest in others; smile and let them know you care about them. Treat everyone with kindness and respect, and refrain from judging and criticizing those around you. Do not participate in any form of bullying. Make a special effort to be a friend to those who are shy or lonely, have special needs, or do not feel included.”1
As your family members make suggestions on how to make good friends, rub the balloon against your dry hair. Rubbing the balloon against your hair represents all the things you do to be a good friend and to make good friends. The more suggestions your family makes, the more you can rub the balloon against your hair. (You’re going to give yourself a great hairdo, too.)
Now it’s time to make friends! Slowly bring the balloon close to the pepper on the plate. The pepper will leap up and stick to the balloon. Slowly pull the balloon away to show that the pepper is still sticking. You may notice that not all the pepper sticks to the balloon right away. You can bring the balloon close to the pepper again to see more pepper fly up to the balloon. It’s the same with friends. Making friends can take time and sometimes you need to try reaching out to others a few times.
Just like the static attracts the pepper to the balloon, your kindness, thoughtfulness, and trustworthiness will attract good friends to you. When making friends takes time, remember that you don’t need everyone to like you, and sometimes people just don’t click. So don’t give up when you feel like you don’t have a lot of friends right away.
But remember: friendship means thinking about and serving others. Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has said, “Friendship should never be offered as a means to an end; it can and should be an end unto itself.”2
Get to know people. Learn about what they love and are good at. Help them feel at ease. Finally, don’t forget: to have a good friend, you need to be a good friend, too.