How to Find Good Friends in a World of Fans

creation2As a public speaker and entertainer I love the fans that have followed me faithfully throughout the years. But off the stage, I find my heart longs for more than just fans.

Every man and woman on earth desperately needs a few good friends. And even people who never step on stage often have lots of fans but few friends.

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. I never pitched my tent anywhere.

I had people all around me and I was still alone. When I died, I was afraid Diane 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 am learning to make friends!

So how did I find friends in a desert of fans? I am purposefully changing my lifestyle to make it happen.

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

I can’t make good friends on Delta airlines, in a lonely hotel room or performing in front of 1,000 fans.  I need to make room in my schedule to be a good friend.

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

I will never know if someone loves the real me until I let someone know the real me.

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.

One must find the faith to accept God’s forgiveness and then extend that forgiveness to others.

The best way to make good friends is to be a good friend.

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.[reminder]


  1. Even without having a speaking ministry such as yours, I completely understand what you’re saying. I am what I call a “pseudo-celebrity”. I am a grocery cashier. Just about everyone in my community sees me at some time during the week. I have people who call me by name on the street … I have no idea who they are, but I smile and say hello in return. You could say I have many many fans. But by Jesus’ love, I can honestly say I am blessed with many friends. More than enough to carry a box some day. God also blessed me with my dearest closest friend, my helpmate and wife, Beth.

    I’m also an aspiring writer. Beth likes my writing. Guess that makes her a fan too.

    Be well and be blessed!

  2. I solved the pal bearer problem. I’m getting cremated and then having my ashes loaded into shotgun shells so that fans and friends can give me a 21 shotgun salute. I know that I have friends here in Wisconsin, who will be fighting to carry my casket/urn. However, my grave is in Minnesota (next to my first wife) and I have lost most of my family because I cut off their “emergency” financial support. I’m making new friends and losing fans all the time I’m also converting fans to friends.

  3. Ken…I would b happy to tote ur box when that time comes…lol On a more serious note Ive found that friends are action people, not just people with words. We’ve never met physically however; one of my most pleasurable memories is when I had the priveledge of doing your Profile by way of telephone..Thanks for making me feel special that day with your comments to me..

  4. I have been in full time ministry for thirty years. No one ever asks the ministers if they would like some fellowship. Sometimes the loneliness is stifling.

  5. I have always felt exactly the same way without the “no one to carry the box when I die” visual! Lots of people know me and like me but no one calls to catch a movie or share a story and when I’m in need, I have no one to call.

    Pathetic! And when I thought I had some friends, when I moved out of that circle or location, the “friendship” died.

    I now have friendship on my prayer wall and I’m looking for someone to serve and laugh with. And gratitude to God for my best friend/lover who shares my life – my husband Brett. I will have 6 by the time I die!!!

  6. I know my good friends. They are the ones that stay by me when my depression is at its worst and unexplainable even if there is nothing to say.

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  8. An excellent blog post and so relevant in today’s world where so many people isolate themselves by thinking texting is adequate for creating friendships. I once told a friend I was tired of working so hard for her friendship. She was shocked. I explained that if anything ever happened to her family or to her, no one ever knew till after the fact or through much prodding because she never really shared herself. She kept her life so private that no one could penetrate the walls she put up. I rarely have patience with the person who says, “I quit going to that church because they were so unfriendly. No one ever spoke to me!” You can bet that the person who says that has isolated themselves by never reaching out to others. I take relationship very seriously. I count you and Diane as very dear friends and Dan and I would certainly be there to help Diane…..but let’s put that off a few more decades! Love to you both!

  9. This strikes home, Ken. Although I’m certainly not famous like you, I feel like you did those years ago when you had no real friends. I have “proximity” friends and virtual “friends,” but few (if any) who would be friends outside of that location. My husband and I feel we have to work harder at this friendship thing because he’s in a law enforcement field (scares people from revealing too much), we live in a state park without much for neighbors, and we have a daughter with disabilities. That combination breeds loneliness.

    As those our age are entering a stage where they have increased freedom to cultivate deeper friendships, we feel more isolated because of our teenage daughter’s ongoing needs. However, I am not unaware that our circumstances can also be a ready excuse for avoiding the hard work of friendship. Thanks for the reminder of its importance.

  10. Isn’t it amazing that we struggle with this; when life is really about relationships. My grandpa noticed that when people started driving the Model T instead of the horse and buggy, fewer people stopped in to visit. I was a youth pastor for 17 years. Now that my kids are leaving the nest, I feel more free to build a speaking career. I think loneliness is epidemic. We are program, self help, and entertainment satiated and relationship starved. Thanks Ken for your open candor, insight, and practical suggestions. May your friendship basket be perfectly filled!

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