Four requirements for finding friends in a world of fans.

Do you have friends or fans?

No matter what your occupation, this is a question that has a huge impact on your quality of life.  In order to answer that question you need to know difference between a fan and a friend.  Here are some hints.

Fans see you as networking potential ————— Friends see your potential
Fans love you for your performance ————-  A friend loves you for you.
Fans are fickle ————— Friends are forever.
Fans want  to see only your good side  ————–  A friend will protect your backside.
Fans demand that you entertain them —————– Friends just want your company.

Several years ago I came to the sad realization that I had almost no friends. I had thousands of fans, I had a successful career,  I had lots of stuff, but I had no real friends. I was a nomad.  I didn’t herd goats and pitch tents in the desert, but I walked through a desert of countless audiences, herding a dog and a pony and I never pitched my tent anywhere.  I had people all around me and I was still alone.  I remember telling my wife, Diane, that I was afraid when I died she wouldn’t be able to find six people who were willing to carry the box I was buried in.  
I had nightmares of her pulling the casket down the church steps alone;  thump, thump, thump, then dragging it to where “the big black SUV” waited.

I have good news!  I now have friends!

A few good friends!

So how did I  find friends in a desert of fans?   I assessed what would be required to develop  friendships and I purposefully changed my lifestyle to make it happen. 

 Here’s what I came up with.


Making friends requires an investment of time.

Time sharing meals
Time helping with projects
Time sitting by a hospital bed
Time laughing until the early hours of morning
Time talking until you fall asleep

Making friends requires taking risks
Trust someone with who you really are
Reveal your heart
Be accountable
Hold someone accountable
Debate issues you feel strongly about

Making friends requires that you practice grace
Grace to forgive
Grace to overlook imperfection
Grace to realize you will never find a perfect friend and you will never be a perfect friend.

The best way to gain solid friends is to be a solid friend.

A team of friends

I don’t have hundreds of close friends, but I have made sure I have at least six that are capable of lifting a box!

Sooo…… do you have friends or fans?  How did you get them?  

I look forward to your comments.


Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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64 thoughts on “Four requirements for finding friends in a world of fans.

  1. Comeing from an alcoholic home and moving almost 20 times growing up, making friends was impossible. Entertaining people long enough to get them to like me, was my standard MO. Then we moved to Tulsa in 1993, we joined a church and I made friends rather awkwardly, but I did it nonetheless. I can remember having to burry 10 of them over a 12 month period in 2004 and I thought I’d never have the strength to make new ones. But you do. I did. God never leaves a void. He gave me amazing people to bless my life.

    I make mine through trial and error and by sometimes makeing a goober out of myself “will you be my friend?” kind of gooberishness. LOL – sometimes they say no, sometimes they have enough friends and don’t have room for more (yes that happens) sometimes I find a frenimy and sometimes I find a friend. Either way, I am blessed by trying. Great thoughts as always Mr Davis-

  2. Ken, good article. I find in my own life that I have trouble finding friends. Once a person gets to know me, they really like me, but I am missing that special something, that when someone meets me for the first time, they want to get to know me better. In other words, I guess I’m not personality plus, and when I try to be, I find myself over doing it, especially with those that I really care about, and want to get to know them myself. As far as what you are saying about friends or fans, I find that those in the spotlight, such as those that would have fans, don’t really want to be friends with me. They seem to have a group of friends that they have had for a long time, so therefore they really don’t look at me as friend potential. As a Christian I love everyone, and even some of those in the spotlight I find myself drawn to in a friend way, but a lot of artist don’t trust the fans. With good reason, but there are always non artist like me that would make great friends to those in the spotlight if they gave us a chance. I love your list about the differences between a fan and a friend. You are right…a real friend cares about the person, not the spotlight, they love someone for what’s inside, not what’s on the outside. Thanks for your insight! God Bless

    • Your comment would indicate that you make great friend potential. You would be surprised at how many of us in public life feel like we aren’t very suited to be a good friend. Thank you for your comment.

      • Thanks Ken! I guess I never thought about those that are in the public eye thinking they weren’t suited to be good friends. I can understand their hesitation. Sometimes I will get a friend request on my facebook page from someone I have no clue as to who they are. I then realize that they had seen post I had made on another page, a page that belonged to someone in the public eye. It made me question why they wanted to be linked to my page. Then I realized that God uses people in so many ways. That we never know when we, maybe, have made a difference in someone’s life. A smile, a wink, an email, a hello, a phone call. Such simple things that don’t take much time, but yet can mean so much to someone that is struggling. Now I accept all friend request, and I don’t question any in my heart, because I know that God might want to use me in their lives, or even still, he might want to use them in mine! Ken, thanks for your blog and your insights! Blessings!

        • I think your strategy is a good one. The only people I don’t accept as friends are spammers. Thank you for your comments and for your kind words.

  3. This is a very well written article and shows that God has granted you wisdom. I invest time in others and I value the time they invest in me. To me the two most important things a friend can do is invest time and genuinely care about me. I gladly invest my time in my friends and in potential friends and I care about each one of them. I hope God grants you with a few more really close friends that you know you can count on. God bless you.

  4. Thank you so much for sharing. You have been such a blessing to my life through the years. I have been blessed to hear you speak a number of times–at Praise Gathering in Indiana several times, and at JBU several times(my 2 daughters both went to JBU and your daughter was there also). Just recently I’ve gotten to read some things you have written on fb. We also have some of your videos and DVD’s which have blessed us greatly and I have used to show others who have also been blessed by them. Anyway, thanks for writing this. I sometimes feel like I don’t really have any close friends… I pray God help me to make some close friends… It helped me some you sharing that you had had similar thoughts even though you are so well known and funny and nice and I’m sure tons of people love you in the Lord… I guess I am just rambling here, but hope maybe you will pray for me. I pray God bless you and your family always.
    Blessings in Christ,
    Fran <

    • I prayed for you this morning and believe that God will answer those prayers. Look around you, those friends you seek may be closer than you think.

  5. I read your words of wisdom from your journey. And I agree. One of my battles is deciding who is an acquaintance (fan) and who is a friend. Sometimes getting rid of the acquaintances in life causes unpleasant ripples but there are times it needs to be done.

    I find that being patient, as incredibly difficult as it is, is key in gaining a true friend who knows your heart. It was my deepest desire from the time I was 5 to have a friend who understood me and would share, cry, laugh, love, and have my back the way I wanted to do all of that for her.

    I am now 25 and it was not until last year that I was blessed with this type of friend and now I have 2 (unfortunately 1 lives 14 hours away). Granted I have other women and men who I do consider friend but they are not on the very special level of Best Friend.

    I am also blessed with my Amazing Husband who has been my best friend and love of my life for the past 6 years.

    Thank you for sharing and confirming/encouraging many on their journeys of friendship. May the Lord Bless you and your friends with deeper knowledge of one another’s hearts and a tremendous Joy which can only be experienced when the Holy Spirit is close.
    Blessings
    Corie

  6. Thank you for these thoughts, Ken. I struggled to make friends throughout my childhood, my teens, and my early adult years. As a child, I moved alot and had very low self-esteem. I began to use humor as a coping mechanism when I was in second grade and quickly became an “entertainer.” Over the years, I have had quite a few people refer to me as “friend,” but I have always had different standards for true friendship. It’s nice to see that others out there see things the same way (and can put it so eloquently). True friendship is a rare gem and so are you, Ken.
    Thank you and God bless,
    Daryl

  7. Right now I can say, honestly, I have one. Friends were not high on my priority list, what with raising my children, working fulltime, trying to get a degree parttime and worrying about money, it just seemed one more thing to do when I finally found the time. Unfortunately, I will say, when it comes to me God has a sense of humor. I moved to Wisconsin after 35 years in Illinois, no friends, new job and become extremely ill. Aha….that will wake you up, no friends to help, comfort and guide you. It was a humbling moment, when I finally realized that the first thing God wanted me to learn was…. to stop talking….and learn to listen. Listen, when people speak to me, Listen when they tell me how bad their day is.. Open myself to caring about someone else other then myself. I am very blessed now. I can say, I have one friend, and hopefully, I can earn, with Gods grace another, because now I understand. There’s peace in having a friend. Thanks Ken..

    • You are on the right track. I hope you will develop a basket load of friends and I hope you will come back to my blog often. I enjoyed your comment.

  8. I’ve recently reached this same point, so this is timely and relevant. I told my one, and only, friend that I didn’t think 5 people would show up to my funeral. I didn’t think about needing 6 for the box. 🙂

    The hardest step is the 1st step: Start searching! I haven’t figured that one out yet, but at least now I have your checklist for what to do after that 1st step. The fact that you provide such wonderful advice in a comedic manner is a blessing!

  9. Thank you for sharing!

    I don’t think I have any fans, but I am blessed to have several friends. Not by anything I’ve done mind you, as I cannot fathom how they put up with me!

    Friends forgive you, even before you need it!

    Thank God!

  10. But by the grace of God, I have been blessed with many friends. Some of them live further away so we’re not able talk much. Some live close by, but because of work, and the “stuff in life’, we may not get together often. But I must say, with all of my friends, whenever we are able to get together-it’s like no time has passed. We still have a lot of laughs and fun catching up on each others lives. You are right though, it does take someone taking the initiative. And it does take all four requirements you listed; investment of time, taking risks, sometimes a lot of grace (on either party), and last-but not least being the friend that you want to have. Thanks Ken, for the great insight you have. I love your blog updates-and I love you just the way you are!!!

  11. Ken,
    I read this blog in total agreement. Last year I was talking with my oldest niece about friends while we drove in the car. I was hit with a dose of reality myself. I am a warm, relational and fun to be person and I had to realize that I could count on one hand how many really close BFF’s I had, less than 5. I was blown away because everyone who knows me figures I have tons of friends. Well, I know tons of people and have tons of acquaintances, but the real genuine stuff that you spoke of in your blog was down to 4. I have now added an additional friend in the last few months, so I now have 5, and this does not include the spouse! It is a joy to know that these BFF’s have my back, are great prayer warriors for me, love me for me and we have scads of fun together when we do make the time to be together. I return the same loving and kind things to them, listening ears, praying in diligence for their needs and finding time to get together for fun. Just had to comment. I enjoy getting your email and having a laugh for the day. I know this is 2 months late with comment, but that is my life sometimes. God is with you wherever you go!
    Gayle Madsen

  12. Dear Father-in-law,
    Wow. What a GREAT post! I was “RE-reminded” of THE VERY thing that most attracted me to your daughter, my wife, Taryn. I’d like to share it with your readers. Taryn and I met on a Charles Stanley cruise to Alaska. Ken was on board as a guest speaker and I was on board with the Cathedrals…the guest singers. Taryn and I hit it off and hung out all week long. After the cruise we talked every night, long distance on the phone. After about a week on the phone (not non-stop)she “popped the question.” The question was, “hey Scott, what’s the name of that group again that you sing with?” I LOVED it! I knew I had found THE ONE. See, all other past relationships seemed to be centered around their attractin to me for “what I did, not who I was.” They were enamored b y the fact that I was a member of the most popular and sucessful southern gospel group of all time. They had been FANS…not FRIENDS. For the first time ever, I had found someone whom I didn’t have to question the motive for why she was interested in me. Singing is what I do…it isn’t who I am. I hope your post encourages all who read it to get to know people for who they are. Here’s to friends!

  13. A couple years ago I came up with the saying, “I want to live without agenda and love without expectation”. True friendship takes time and it takes selflessness. Sandy (my awesome wife) recently said to me, “You have some REALLY wonderful friends”… Ken, among a handful of others, she meant you 🙂 Can I be your #7??

  14. ken you really struck me with this, I think you have running partners now and others. I became a christian and old friends don’t drop by to drink a beer, but new friends don’t drop by either it seems if we are christian we have to be with our family all the time, we talk at church but, I have been in small groups yet that is the only time to connect, can you feel my heart. I had a friend and when we connect on phone we will still talk long time, yet we both retired and live far apart. I crave that yet don’t have it. I look at myself and maybe I joke to much, I am serious when I write but, I joke with people other times, I try self examination but I hope it isn’t all me. God bless what you do. My wife had a worthless dog in Wabash ind you came down and talked to her, I know I was fan but, you are funny.

    • Rex, thank you for your comments. I hope you will continue to seek to be a good friend as that is the best way to find good friends. I think i remember you and your wife from Wabash. A dog is a man’s best friend, but it has to be a REAL dog. Blessings

  15. Ken, I heard your interview with Luke on 89.9 Light FM in Melbourne, Australia today. It seemed such a God moment for me. I have a fun loving side that just wants to come out but so often is quenched because the people around me don’t seem to appreciate my sense of humour. I’ve also been questioning who my friends are and why I have Facebook, you know. I have a modest 62 “friends” on my Facebook but even they are not people I could easily sit down and have a laugh with. It really helped to hear your interview and know that I am not alone in my quest to find true friends. Thanks for being honest and frank in your post. Having said that, I married my best friend and at least have one person as pall bearer albeit very lop-sided :).

    • Regarding my post on friends. You are one of my dear friends. I will however not require you to help carry the box!!!!! Love hearing from you!

  16. Back in the 1970’s, I had a lot of money, booze, drugs, and friends. Then the money, booze, and drugs ran out…and so did the “friends.” Only two stayed…true friends, and they are to this day.

  17. Ken,I found the list thought-provoking. There have been a few times when my husband has commented that he has no friends. According to the description, he does. How many? Not sure. Only he can answer that. I do know of one…. me. We are each other’s friend (best, really). My other friend is our youngest daughter (age 19). We share a close relationship and I’m thankful for that. Scary part is, she is so much like me! She too has friends. One of the things I always told our kids was to be themselves. That way, you know if someone likes you for who you are and you don’t have to pretend. They all have fans and some friends. BTW, I hope this doesn’t offend you, but we love your weird way of thinking and seeing things. Makes us feel normal. Like the Looney Toons jacket (do you still wear it?). My daughter just got a Hamster Kigurumi (japanese pj). I love the humor you fill our lives with. I even learned something about the bible from you, after many years of reading. I never realized that Moses actually ran when he saw his staff turn into a snake. I didn’t believe it so I looked it up. I was surprised to find it says he did. That just made him more human. I hope he had friends. Come to think of it. We all have the same best friend…. Jesus. Ain’t He great?!

  18. Hello Ken, I’m here from Randy Elrod’s blog…link to “Cyber Friends.” Great topic! And one that fits me to a T!

    Before moving to AZ from MN, I had a few real friends. Once meeting ppl in AZ I’ve lots of friends… however, moving back to MN to care for mom; I’ve discovered that I’ve not put much effort into ‘going out & about’.

    Have I become a nomad? In MN YES! My home SWEET home is & has been AZ since 1996–AZ is where I am the most comfortable, where I get out to socialize tons & have many REAL friends & so on.

    A REAL friend here once said – good thing you’ve got a computer or you’d be “lonely.” Well, that’s not ‘all’ true but he’s got a point. I love to socialize tho that happens ON-LINE or phone. Truthfully, I’m addicted to pc & rather be on it than out making friends when one day I’ll be moving back to AZ anyway.

    No matter, I really like your list – it’s very helpful.
    Thanks much,
    ~Joni

  19. One thing I’ve learned over the years is that not all friendships are meant to last forever. Friendships can change, or disappear altogether, through the different stages of life. Making new friends is a ongoing process.

    When I was a stay-home mom, my friends were other stay-home moms. When I returned to the workforce, those friendships vanished because we no longer had the same hours free.

    When I was divorced, my married friends disappeared overnight. It was as if I had a contagious disease. The loss of these friends, one in particular, was almost as painful as the divorce.

    I had work friendships that I valued. But when my job was suddenly gone, so were those friends.

    I’m now an empty-nester with many acquaintances; mostly from church. Many of us are at the stage where our aging parents need care. Just when we think our young adult children are safely launched in life, they suddenly resurface. Broken romances, lost jobs or no job at all, financial woes, can send them running to Mom and Dad again. Friendships that have stood the test of time can be very rich at this stage of life. I have one such friend, but we are both so busy that the most we can manage is an occasional lunch.

  20. I have always found friends rather easily. People say it is because I ask more questions about then and am interested in their lives more than sharing about myself. Actually, my biggest challenge is to remember to come along side them when there aren’t huge issues happening in their lives. Actually, I think most of our lives are spent in large blocks of time when life is not exciting. Don’t get me wrong, blessing are always showering down from our Father. But it is in the normal, everyday times, friends need support. That for me is the challenge.

    • Busy, busy, busy! I don’t think a person has to be in the spotlight to find developing and maintaining friendships challenging.
      Everyone is so busy! MY husband works 3rd shift and I substitute teach. We also have 5 children. One flew away to college recently. I realized the other two would be spreading their wings and would be flapping off to college too(freshmans flap,the soaring comes later). We will still be a raising kids for awhile. Our youngest youngsters are 4 and 2. Who will probably grow super fast too. Through tears I realized David and I will one day be alone and kidless. If I only talk to him, I will drive my very quiet husband bonkers. Friends! Do I have any? I have a bunch of people I know. A few that I can share my heart with, and no one we hang out with. Wow! Our big date is bubble gum at the football game, that I have share part of with naughty short people who keep calling me mom. With all our fancy technology we don’t really have face to face conversations anymore. Is is Satan’s way of getting us alone? Probably! So, time to invite someone over for some grub, or go bowling, or play the wii, or watch the leaves fall off the trees. Anything, is better than nothing.

      • What a thoughtful and honest comment. Thank you. Hope you will find time to un-busy your life. You reminded me of the importance of building time to nurture relationships. Thanks again.

  21. I keep coming back to this post. I think I have 6 box carriers but they’d have to travel internationally to do it. However, I’m afraid to ask if they’d they’d make the effort, in time and finance, if needed.

    I feel more than confident from my end. I know that I have tried my best to be the kind of friend I’d like to have too. I’m at the top of everyone’s list when they need help but as soon as I mention Jesus, well … the phone stops ringing.

    My emergency contact person is my doctor. She considers me her adopted daughter and that’s good enough for me. (She says if we went to high school together we would have hung out together. I assure her that if we went to high school together she never would have become a doctor! 😉

    I think I can count on one that is within arm’s reach. He also happens to be the town funeral director. Maybe he knows sme people. Or maybe I should just check the cremation box?

    Fear not! My God knows my heart … and my needs. So I shall wait on Him. Faithfully. Expectantly. Triumphantly!

    • Terry, Interesting that I feel we have become friends through the internet. I look forward to meeting you in person. If you come to a show and don’t say hello, there will be trouble in river city!!! (-;

      • I promise you, if I’m in the audience you’ll know it! EVERYBODY will know it ’cause I’ll be shouting it from the mountaintop! Oh, who are we kidding here? I’ll be front row centre! (Michigan in May)

  22. I’m with Terry. I’d like to think there are 6 people that would carry my body to its resting place, but then again, I’m a big guy and might need 8….which makes this problem even larger….pardon the pun.

    I’m not even sure I have what you would call fans, but there are a few folks around the ‘nets’ that I call friends. Some of which, Terry included, whom I wouldn’t waste a minute of stress on the fact that they would travel to carry me.
    I’m part of a military family, but I make no excuses….I keep my distance and I know I’m wrong in doing that. This post is just what I needed today. Like I said, not necessarily because I’m concerned with who will “carry me”, but I would be more concerned with the thought, “does anyone believe I would carry them?” My distance has probably brought more No’s to that question than there should be.

    Thanks for the thoughts! Terry, you’ll likely out live me, but if not, I’m there! 🙂

  23. Met you & Diane many years ago in Eugene, OR with Maxwells. I am a life time friend (80 yrs.)of Carrols and Alan just short of 80 years.
    Carrol in nursing home with broken hip and Parkinsons. Alan needs a friend!!!!
    Bill, husband, and I drove down to see them a few weeks ago to “cheer” them up. Took “Under the Influence” with me……they loved it.
    We had members of our Bible Study over yesterday(brunch included!!!) to watch “Under the Influence” and they loved it too. Bill and I have shown it about 6 times to various people. Good work, Ken, keep it up.
    Please remember, Alan needs encouragement and love at this time.
    Thank you
    Sincerely,
    Madeline Vorwerk

      • No worries. Madeline, I am grateful for the reminder of our meeting and your kind comments. I am also glad to be updated on my friends in Eugene. I must reconnect with them. Thank you for you kind words. Your comments are always welcome here.

  24. Ken, thank you, thank you, thank you! This blog post will officially be one of my all time favorites. What an amazing script of truth, perspective, and honesty. I am so thankful for you.

  25. I don’t remember where I heard this, but someone pointed out that Jesus had many followers, twelve disciples, three close friends (Peter, James and John) and one best friend (John). I could see where it would be difficult to establish friendships when it seems like you are always flying off somewhere. I’m glad to see that you found some friends! I hope you have enough to carry your box, now! (That analogy was sooo funny). Here’s a thought, though. Last year, my great-aunt was going to be 100 years old. When I mentioned that her friends would want to come to her birthday party, she said, “I don’t have any friends. They’ve all died.” I’m sure she was thinking of past friends that were more her age, but she goes to 2 or 3 Bible study classes and attends church (she lives in an apartment – not a nursing home) and I was thinking that she must have many friends at church. So, I got to thinking that when we look for friends, we need to look for people who are much younger than we are. Can you imagine six 80-year-old men trying to carry you out? Who will be left after you’re gone? Those are the people that you want as friends. 🙂 (Actually, it will probably be young relatives that will carry you out and most people have plenty of them. So, you better be nice to those young guys in your family or they might drop you on the way out the door.) :0

  26. Lately, I’ve been hearing about “the life of a star from their point of view.” It sounds like it would be very frustrating to be famous. Do you experience this?: Always someone coming up to you using up your time telling you things like, “I have all your DVDs.” Really, that’s probably why you sold them, so people would buy them. (Sorry, but I just couldn’t hold back the sarcasm); or people stopping you to take your picture or having someone take a picture of them with you. (I read about non-famous spouses being asked to take a picture of a fan with their spouse who is famous or the spouse was asked to move out of the picture. Not cool. Famous people have real lives with real spouses who have real feelings). I believe that we all need to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes and think about how the other guy feels. For example: How would you feel if you were out in public just trying to shop for groceries and someone stepped up to interrupt your life just so they could take your picture or talk about themselves. If any famous person took the time to pay attention to EVERY person that approached them in public, those people would never have a life. I feel sorry for famouse people because I think the general public feels that famous people owe it to them to give them attention just because they happened to run into this famous person. I believe it’s true that “fans love you for your performance.” Many famous people are seen as portraying a character. For instance, people might think that Diane is just rolling on the floor with laughter all day long, when in reality, she might be rolling her eyes at your jokes. I have a friend whose husband is always spouting interesting trivia. I find it fascinating, but his wife just rolls her eyes because she hears it all the time. (She loves her husband, but I guess after awhile it gets old). I’m sure Diane finds many things that you say are funny, but NO ONE would laugh at EVERY funny thing a person says because everyone has a different idea of what’s funny. “Fans want to see only your good side” and “fans demand that you entertain them” remind me of actors on TV. People see the character that they are portraying and think that the famouse person is like that in real life, when that may not be true. Do you ever find that sometimes people don’t take you seriously because they know that you are a comedian and they expect you to be funny ALL the time? Well, maybe you don’t experience any of the downside to being famous. You may not want to respond to this post, but I would love to hear what you have to say. If you don’t want to respond here, could you please email me? Just wanted to give people something to chew on.

    • Oh, I hate it when I post and then I find a typo in my post. argh! Oh, well. I guess that just makes me human. 🙂

    • Marilee, Important to know…. I am not famous. My grandchildren recognize me and my wife often asks me to sign checks. Occasionally I am recognized in airports or someone asks for an autograph or comments on having all my cds. I always welcome those encounters though I cant imagine what it would be like to be truly famous and recognized everywhere. Thank you for your comment.

  27. Frasier is my favorite Tv display of all time. Now I can see reruns anytime I want to thanks towards the Online. I Watch FlashForward Online. on the way to work, for the way dwelling, even though eating dinner and even even though working. My family thinks I am crazy and actually wants me to see an individual. They believe I am addicted towards the World wide web and particularly this display. I don’t imagine it is that a lot of a difficulty, but my wife certainly does. She got so mad the other night she threw some thing at my laptop. Maybe I do want help as I do not prefer to lose my wife and kids. Tonight I’m planning to ask her to make an appointment with someone for the two of us.

  28. This is so good that I’ve added a link to my blog, “It’s a Package Deal” post on friendships. Thank you for the input.