Best man cave: 80 Man Cave Ideas that Will Blow Your Mind (Photos)

80 Man Cave Ideas that Will Blow Your Mind (Photos)


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Welcome to our epic man cave design gallery where you can check out 100’s of different man cave ideas and features including sports themes, bars, game rooms, amazing TV areas, billiards tables and more.

Browse all designs below or filter your search with the checkboxes to the right. We add new man caves all the time so be sure to come back for more inspiration.

Related: Man Cave Essentials

Man Cave Ideas (Photos)

Source: Zillow DigsTM

Modern man cave with bright red walls, neon art work, u-shaped bar with dark brown leather upholstered bar stools. The main feature is a large blue-surface billiards table. In the corner you’ll find a tufted sofa facing two elegant accent chairs. The ceiling is interesting with the tray effect bordered with recessed lighting.

Source: Zillow DigsTM

Large sports themed man cave with sports jerseys on the wall and displayed throughout the space. Huge u-shaped black sectional takes up most of the space but is flanced by elegant contemporary gray wingback chairs. The beige walls work well with the brown area rug that sits on dark wood flooring. This is a fun man cave dedicated to the owner’s favorite football team.


The quintessential man cave design with small bar, large wall-mounted flat screen TV, bar stools, neon bar sign and lounge area all darkly lit.

Large modern man cave where the neon base lit bar is the highlight. The long black-top neon base lit bar faces toward a curved beige sectional sofa and comfortable chaise lounge in the lounge ear.

Large glamorous man cave with coffered ceiling design with built-in neon lighting. There’s a sitting area, billiards table and glamorous bar decked out in silver and gold metallic color scheme. In fact, much of this man cave showcases metallic colors including chrome but tempered with polished hardwood flooring.

Chalet rustic style man cave with small stone faced fireplace, billiards table, small wooden round pub-style table and stools plus sofa with coffee table. This room oozes warmth with the fireplace and light beige carpeting. The centerpiece is the dark wood, blue-surface billiards table.

Spacious basement man cave with long dark brown leather sofa facing large screen TV set in built-in cabinetry. Behind the TV area is a small billiards table. Extending beyond that is the bar area lined with iron stools. Pendant and recessed lights illuminate the space.

Vegas style man cave with elegant card table illuminated by a chandelier. The adjacent space features the tiniest home library ever – a nook with built-in cushioned seating flanked by small book shelves. This man cave is an example that has wallpaper instead of the usual paint or wood paneling.

Quintessential sports themed man cave with rotating stadium seating plush chairs facing huge projector style TV screen. In fact, there are multiple TVs throughout the space along with all kinds sports memorabilia on the walls. This is a sports lovers man cave.

If you like watching multiple games at the same time, this man cave is for you which features a TV wall containing a whopping 9 wall mounted TVs. Recliner seats face the TV wall in the basement sports-nut man cave.

This gambler’s man cave features multiple gaming tables (which are beautiful) all nicely illuminated with custom pendant lights. The space also features a large TV viewing area with sectional sofa and extensive custom built-in cabinets. The center of this basement man cave showcases a stone base custom bar.

This man cave has it all – rustic stone and wood bar, wine cellar, theater room and billiards table. The space interior is well designed with earth tones throughout giving it a cave-like feel.

Source: Zillow Digs TM

I just had to include this example in our man cave design collection because it’s literally designed as a cave with a bar and seating. Somebody interpreted the concept of man cave literally and created a cave. It’s kinda cool… but wouldn’t be my first pick.

Source: Zillow Digs TM

Space age monster man cave in the basement with huge modern bar, curved orange walls, multiple TVs, billiards table and custom sectional sofa with purple, yellow and red color scheme.

Source: Zillow Digs TM

This is a fancy man cave with a huge custom built bar, arcade games, full size red-surface pool table and large oval card table. The room is decked out in extensive custom wood work including gorgeous coffered ceiling with recessed lights built in which illuminate the rich medium dark wood flooring. Wood paneled walls include wall-mounted lights for additional lighting.

Source: Zillow Digs TM

Here’s a huge basement man cave with a bowling alley. That’s pretty cool, but that’s not all. There’s a card table, several old school arcade games and billiards table. This is one decked out man cave.

Source: Zillow Digs TM

Rustic man cave with stone accent walls flanking the custom western-style bar (saloon style) and face the media area with 4 TVs behind which sites a large gaming table.

Comfortable man cave with sectional sofa, armchair and loveseat surrounding a fireplace with TV mounted above. I love that taller than average coffee table that could double as a huge ottoman. Loads of sports memorabilia adorn the walls.

Source: Wayfair “Shop the Look”

Smallish man cave with custom built dark wood bar area with hotel lobby like lounge area to enjoy a cold one. The stone accent wall creates a textured and thematic design along with the dark wood beamed ceiling.

Source: Hayneedle

Here’s a mock-up of a really cool garage man cave that showcases features you could include such as cinder block wall, loads of tools and tool storage, sports and athletic gear storage and of course the requisite dart board.

Small man cave with mini bar, stools, fridge and plush brown leather sofa. The main lounge and bar room leads to an enclosed billiards room with red-surface pool table. I love all the wall-mounted lights thorughout the space. The earth tone color scheme works great with brick pattern floor and mustard yellow walls.

Designed By: Closet Factory

Super cool custom garage man cave which is pretty much not a garage anymore but a dedicated space for watching TV, drinking, playing pool and banging out tunes on the upright piano. I guess you could squeeze in a car, but this room is more about hanging out and unwinding than storing vehicles.

Large open concept man cave in walk-out basement with round card/dining table, billiards table, huge leather sectional and large custom bar. I love the worn-looking wood flooring which matches the wood of the billiards table and goes well with the leather sectional.

Large man cave featuring wooden ceiling and carpet flooring. The brown leather sofa seats look very classy. There’s a stylish billiards pool as well, lighted by a stunning pendant lighting.

This man cave features a wooden bar matching the dining nook sets and the beams on the ceiling.

This home features a man cave boasting a cozy sofa set surrounded by brown walls and a stunning ceiling.

A close up look at this man cave’s billiards pool set lighted by an elegant set of ceiling lights.

This home features a man cave with an elegant sofa set with a fireplace along with a dining nook on the side lighted by a beautiful small chandelier.

This man cave features a large long bar area with class countertop and bar stools lighted by glamorous pendant lights set on the stunning groin vault ceiling.

Large man cave featuring a rustic bar set up with classy bar stools set on the carpet flooring.

Large man cave boasting an elegant bar set up and a cozy sofa set on top of the gorgeous hardwood flooring topped by a stylish rug.

This home features a man cave with hardwood flooring and beige walls. The room also features a small bar area and a billiards pool lighted by a charming pendant lighting.

This man cave boasts stylish walls and billiards pool set on top of the hardwood flooring topped by classy rugs. The sofa set looks beautiful as well.

This modern home features a man cave with a very stylish billiards pool set on the hardwood flooring, along with a bar area with a smooth counter.

This man cave boasts a stunning tray ceiling with lovely ceiling lights showering down the brightness to the cozy living space and the billiards pool set behind it.

A simple white man cave featuring carpet flooring and classy rugs. The living space features a cozy sofa set along with a fireplace.

This man cave boasts elegant red walls with lovely wall decors. The ceiling looks stunning as well together with the bright modern chandelier just above the billiards pool set on the hardwood flooring.

This man cave features a classy bar area with stylish wine cellar and a billiards pool set on the rug on top of the tiles flooring.

A close up look at this man cave’s stylish billiards pool with white cloth and is lighted by charming pendant lighting.

A close up look at this man cave’s billiards pool set on the classy tiles flooring, lighted by a lovely pendant lighting.

This man cave boasts a classic billiards pool set on the elegant rug on top of the hardwood flooring. The room also features a small bar area.

This man cave boasts a very elegant black billiards pool set on the stylish hardwood flooring and is lighted by a charming pendant lighting.

Large man cave featuring a black leather sofa set along with a large bar area. There’s also a table tennis set and a billiards pool on the other side of the room.

A beautiful man cave featuring hardwood flooring and a classy ceiling along with a stylish billiards pool.

A large man cave featuring cards table and a cozy living space set on the hardwood flooring near the fireplace.

Large man cave featuring a cozy sofa set along with the billiards pool set on the tiles flooring topped by classy rugs.

This man cave boasts a stunning ceiling with very attractive ceiling lights. There’s a living space near the fireplace and a billiards pool lighted by a charming pendant lighting.

Large man cave featuring a bar area and a billiards pool set on the hardwood flooring, both lighted by pendant lights.

Large outdoor man cave featuring a lovely flooring and a cozy sofa set along with a stylish billiards pool, all under the vaulted ceiling lighted by very attractive ceiling and wall lights.

Huge man cave featuring office space, a billiards pool and a living space, all under the stunning vaulted ceiling with exposed beams.

About Man Caves

Man cave is a tongue-in-cheek way of referring to a finished basement, garage space converted into a lounge or game room… or any space used predominantly by the men of the house.

Basements and garages are often under-used spaces left for storage.

The growing popularity of the man cave idea is a great way to use what’s often a large space.

Yes, finishing a basement can be costly, but it doesn’t have to be. You can also plan to do it in stages, starting with a basic design and improving on aesthetics and features over time.

The finished basement (and man caves) have humble beginnings consisting of a TV room or family room and maybe a game element such as a pool table.

Now they’re elaborate, expensive and loaded with all kinds of features and designed in various themes.

However, as you’ve seen above and you’ve no doubt seen elsewhere, the finished basement has evolved to include many styles and functions and include a variety of man cave furniture.

From games rooms to themed-rooms to incredible media rooms, the basement in many homes is a space that adds fun and function as well as unique style to many homes.

Man Cave Locations

Any room or space can be converted into a man cave. However, the popular options are:

  • Basement (click here for basement man cave ideas)
  • Garage (click here for garage man cave ideas)
  • Shed or outbuilding.


Because they’re mostly located in basements, man caves are fairly large and spacious. However, our gallery above features many small man cave ideas as well. Access the different sizes below.

  • Small man caves
  • Medium-sized man caves
  • Large man caves

Design, Feature & Theme Ideas

The starting point for planning the best “man cave” finished basement (or garage conversion) is to come up with a design theme.

For many people, home decor isn’t that important except for rec rooms, finished basements, bars and other rooms that will serve as a “man cave” style room (or suite).

What’s the look you want? What features do you want?

Have fun with planning your man cave. Themed rooms, especially for kids and basements is a growing trend. To help you get the ball rolling, consider the following man cave theme ideas.

Theme Ideas
  • Mountain
  • Sports
  • Classic Study
  • Golf
  • Game Room
  • Art
  • City
  • Contemporary
  • Safari
  • Surfing
  • Western
  • Ski Lodge
  • Hot Rod
  • Fishing
  • Train culture
  • Castle
  • Boat/Yacht
  • Old Ship’s Captain’s Quarters
  • Rock n’ Roll
  • Hollywood
  • Florida
  • Log Cabin
  • Roman/Greek
  • Race Car
  • Other:  Any interest you have or period in history you like can become a great theme.
Layouts and Features

You can approach this 2 ways:

1. If working with an existing layout, pick and choose the main features you’d like to have and assign them to your existing spaces.

2. If you’re renovating or design a custom layout, choose the features you’d like to have and design a layout around them.

My preferred layout generally:  Open concept with designated areas (TV room, bar, games, etc.) – but all sections are in view of one another.

The following is an extensive list of man cave feature ideas:

TV Viewing Area(s)

Most finished basements and man caves include a TV viewing area. You can opt for the full home theater room or a more traditional television viewing section. Or if you have a limitless budget, do both.

Designing your TV viewing area requires you to choose:

TV:  Size, type and location(s)

You may opt for multiple televisions throughout the space (not a bad idea if your budget permits).

Size of TV:

For the main TV, don’t go with anything smaller than 55″. Additional televisions can be 32″ or bigger.

Type of TV:

I like large flat screens, but you may prefer a projector. Both are good options for any man cave.


Mounted up on the wall is best. Plan the placement so that you and your guests enjoy optimal viewing of the TV. You don’t want the television set to the side or in a location that’s not ideal for watching (or that requires moving furniture in order to view it properly).

Stereo/sound:  You definitely want a great sound system – likely plugged into your TV system for the ultimate multimedia experience. Use wireless technology for placing speakers throughout the space.

Seating Options

Man cave furniture is an important aspect of design and of course comfort. Sectional sofas, plush recliners, and/or theater seating? If you’ll include a video game feature, think about seating for gaming.

Sectional sofa:  Great for smaller rooms because theater seating takes up a lot of space. Sofas are also a better option to watch movies with family.

If you have the space, get a 5 piece sectional sofa so that you can set it up in multiple configurations (some even transform into a bed). Learn more about sectionals (35 types) here.

Plush recliners:  Even if you opt for a sectional sofa, if you have the space and budget, buy one or two plush chairs because sometimes you just want to kick back in a chair seemingly made for you.

Alternatively, you could do one row of theater seating with recliners designed for theater seating.

Stadium seating:  The ultimate man cave showpiece. It looks cool. Is a fun way to watch movies… but not the most practical. It’s also not all that great for chatting with other people.

Ottomans: Don’t forget ottomans for your man cave to put your feet up. I can’t remember the last time I relaxed without an ottoman.

Coffee table:  I use the coffee table term for lack of better alternatives. You need places to set down your drinks in a convenient manner.

Flooring:  Carpet or rugs help with sound quality. Even if you want hardwood floor (which is great) consider a large rug in the TV area to improve sound quality.

Lighting:  You definitely want a dimming feature in the TV area.

Bar Area (Beverage Area)

You can be creative here. Even if the traditional mini-bar isn’t for you, consider a coffee bar or wine cellar/tasting room.

Essentially you want to create a “beverage area” in a way that is comfortable for people to enjoy whatever beverages you serve.

Mini-bar designs vary tremendously. You could go with wood, steel, concrete. It can be tucked away in a corner or be large and center of the space. Whatever you do, offering bar stool seating is a must-have touch.

Whatever you do, offering bar stool seating is a must-have touch.

Must-have bar features:  

  • keg, refrigerator, plenty of glasses and a decent liquor selection.
  • bar stools… preferably within view of the TV.
  • Mini bar TV – why not mount a flat screen TV in the bar for your “guest”

Video games:  Video games aren’t just for kids. The games these days are incredible and there are games for everyone. If you’re going through the effort of creating the ultimate man cave, be sure to budget a few hundred bucks for a video game set up.

Games Area

  • The billiard table is the standard game for most man caves, but why stop at a pool table when there are so many game options. Consider:
  • Arcade video games
  • Foosball
  • Ping Pong
  • Air Hockey
  • Bowling Alley
  • Darts

Sports (to play)

If you have plenty of space, why not incorporate some sports in the basement space. You could play:

  • Floor hockey
  • Basketball (make a mini-basketball court)
  • Rock climbing wall
  • Boxing ring
  • Gym

Relaxation Space

I confess I’m a relaxation junkie. Relaxation features you could include are:

  • Sauna
  • Hot tub
  • Steam room
  • Massage table (invite your masseuse over for your weekly massage and watch the game at the same time).
  • Music listening area
  • Meditation space
  • Swimming pool

Reading Room/Library/Study

If books are your thing, create a library space with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves and comfortable reading chairs.

If you subscribe to magazines, get a magazine rack to display your magazines. This is great for guests – everyone likes flipping through popular magazines.

The reading area could be in an alcove or be larger. If you enjoy reading the paper, magazines or books – a dedicated reading area is ideal.

Computer Area

Computers are a big part of our work and leisure life. I love surfing the web and playing around with software. Today’s best man caves should include a space for a computer. It need not be a full-out

It need not be a full-out office but can be. Of course, if you prefer using an iPad or laptop, you can easily do so on your comfortable man cave furniture.

Models, Collectibles and Hobbies

For the hobbyist, collector or model builder, a man cave is a great place to set up shop.

Collections:  Create elaborate shelving or display cases to show off your collections.

Hobbies:  Create workspaces to engage in your hobbies.

Models:  If you like model trains, cars or you’re creating a miniature city or landscape, why not incorporate it as part of your man cave.

Additional Rooms

Additional rooms are often overlooked, but they should be considered. The following are some additional rooms you could easily add to your finished basement for enhancing your man cave:

Bathroom:  a must-have room for obvious reasons (especially if there’s a lot of drinking going on).

TIP:  spring for a urinal or two. To this day I can’t figure out why home bathrooms don’t come with urinals.

Home bathroom with a urinal:

Man Cave Flooring

Carpeting is commonly used in basements because it’s warmer and good for reducing sound echo.

Consider hardwood and either include heated flooring and/or rugs. This looks better than carpeting and it’s cleaner.

Laminate:  a less expensive alternative to hard wood. Again, rugs are a must and/or heated flooring.

Concrete:  We have concrete flooring in our lower room. It’s heated, which is nice. It’s also great because we don’t have to worry about protecting it. However, it’s very hard and when it’s not heated, it’s cold.

Other design elements (random stuff):

Built-Ins:  Built-in shelving and display spaces is perfect for any basement.

Trophies:  Show off your accomplishments.

Display cases:  If you’re a collector, won awards or trophies, display cases are a nice way to dress up the space. A man cave is a better place for trophies than a living room.

Wall Décor

  • Wood paneling on the walls:  Just as built-in shelving can dress up a room, so too can wood paneling on the walls. In fact, how you decorate your walls will contribute significantly to fulfilling the theme of your man cave.
  • Brick:  I love brick; it’s perfect for any room including basements.
  • Rock wall:  Not for climbing, but instead for aesthetics.

Art & Prints:  If you’re an art collector or have print collection, use them to decorate your basement. Invest in quality lighting that shows off the art.

Sports memorabilia:  Hang signed jerseys display sporting equipment to create a real sports environment.

Fireplace:  Fireplaces enhance any room. If possible, include a gas fireplace in the space.

Wall-mounted bottle opener:  In fact, place a few around the room for convenient access.

Garbage & recycling requirements:  You’ll want a disposal system set up on your man cave – whether it’s for conveniently removing garbage from the space or to dispose of without stinking up the place.

Aquarium:  Are you into fish? Get a huge aquarium or a few of them to add depth, color and a splash of style to your basement. Just don’t forget to care for the fish!


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Read online Jack Schafer, Marvin Karlins

The Like Switch:

An Ex-FBI Agent’s Guide to In fluencing, Attracting, and Winning People Over

Published with permission from Touchstone, a Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc. and Andrew Nurnberg Literary Agency

Legal support for the publishing house is provided by Vegas Lex Law Firm

© John Schafer, Ph.D. and Marvin Karlins, Ph.D., 2015

© Russian translation, Russian edition, layout. OOO Mann, Ivanov & Ferber, 2015

* * *

This book is well complemented by:

The Psychology of Persuasion

Robert Cialdini, Steve Martin and Noah Goldstein

Mastery of Communication

9 0002 Paul McGee

The Laws of Influence

Susan Weinschenk

The Art of Influence

Mark Goulston and John Ullman

I can hear you through

Mark Goulston

To my wife, Helen, gifted with love, strong character and, moreover, the patience that has allowed her to endure my eccentricities during the thirty years of our marriage.

Jack Schafer

To my wife Edith and daughter Amber. Thank you for who you are, for what you have achieved, for the love that has enriched the lives of many people.

Marvin Carlins


How to win favor

No one would have thought to decipher the FBI abbreviation as the Federal Welcome Bureau. I worked in this organization for twenty years as an agent specializing in behavioral analysis, and over the years I developed the ability to quickly assess people, understand their characters and strategize with them. It was my job to convince people to cooperate with the FBI against their home country, or to identify criminals and persuade them to confess, sometimes without saying a single word to do so. As a behavioral analyst, I developed a strategy for recruiting spies and making friends out of sworn enemies. In other words, I acquired skills and developed techniques that turned the enemies of the United States of America into friends and willing spies for my country. In short, my task was to win the sympathy of the people.

The case of Vladimir (I have changed the names and personalities of the people mentioned in the book, and occasionally created a character from among several to make the examples more illustrative) perfectly illustrates the essence of the matter. Vladimir illegally arrived in the United States for the purpose of espionage. He was caught trying to get hold of secret documents from the Ministry of Defense. As an FBI special agent, I was assigned to work with him. At the very first interrogation, he declared that he would not talk to me under any circumstances. In order to overcome the resistance of the arrested person, I began by simply sitting opposite him during interrogations and reading the newspaper. I read for quite a long time, then I folded the newspaper, put it on the table and, without saying a word, left the office. Day after day, week after week, I came for interrogation, read the newspaper, left it on the table and left, and Vladimir sat opposite, handcuffed to the table, with an indifferent look.

Finally, he could not stand it and asked why I visit him every day. I slowly folded the newspaper and said that I wanted to talk to him, and then again covered myself with the newspaper and continued reading, not paying the slightest attention to Vladimir. A few minutes passed, and he said: “I want to talk.” Putting the newspaper on the table, I asked: “Vladimir, are you sure about this? During our first meeting, you said that you would not talk to me.” Vladimir replied: “I am ready to talk, but not about my espionage activities.” I agreed to his condition, but added: “But you will let me know when you are ready to talk about your work, right?” He nodded.

For the next month, we talked about anything but espionage. Then, one fine day, Vladimir suddenly said: “I’m ready to talk about what I was doing.” He began to express his thoughts freely and frankly, not because he was forced to do so by force, but because he liked me and he began to consider me his friend.

The interrogation technique that I used in my work with Vladimir may seem pointless. But in fact, I carefully planned my actions in order to get the arrested person to want to confess and cooperate with the FBI. In this book, I will reveal my secret and explain how I won the favor of Vladimir, and how, using the same technique, you can win the sympathy of almost anyone for some time or for life. I can do this because, as it turns out, the communication skills I developed for the purpose of gaining the friendship of potential agents and recruiting them can be applied just as effectively to establishing friendships at home, at work, and in any other places and situations of communication.

I must admit that at first I did not understand that my professional skills could be used in everyday life. This possibility came to my attention only at the very end of my career with the FBI. At the time, I was teaching young intelligence officers how to recruit agents. One day, before the start of a new semester, I arrived at work half an hour before class to prepare the classroom. To my surprise, there were already two cadets in the class. I didn’t recognize them. They sat like exemplary students in the first row with their hands on the table. This behavior of the cadets surprised me a lot: they rarely showed up for classes at such an early hour. I asked what had happened, who they were, and why they had come so early.

– Do you remember Tim from the previous group? one of the cadets asked.

“Yes,” I replied.

– Tim and I were in a bar a couple of weeks ago. He told us about your lectures on influencing and building trust.

– And what?.. – I asked, still not understanding what he was getting at.

– Tim boasted that in class he learned how to pick up any girl.

– Of course, we didn’t believe him, – added the second cadet.

– And they decided to test him, – continued the first. – We chose the first woman we saw who was sitting in the bar and invited Tim, without a word, to invite her to sit at our table for a drink.

– And what did he do? I asked.

“He accepted the challenge,” exclaimed the cadet. – We decided that he had gone crazy and was taking on too much. But after forty-five minutes, the woman actually came up to our table and asked if she could sit in our company. We couldn’t believe our eyes, but that’s exactly what happened.

I looked at them searchingly.

– Did you find out how he did it?

– No! – one of them exclaimed, and then they confessed in unison: – We came to learn!

At first I felt bewildered and reminded them of our profession. I said that the purpose of the classes is to teach cadets the skills of working in intelligence, and not to educate pickup masters. But after a short reflection, it suddenly dawned on me, to my own surprise. Thinking about Tim’s eccentricity, I realized that methods for recruiting spies can also be used to win love games. Moreover, in a broader sense, this technique can be used in all cases when it is required to win the favor of a person in almost any interpersonal interaction. This insight became the starting point for the work on this book and determined its content.

After I left the FBI, I continued to work on my PhD in psychology and started teaching at the university. It was during this time that I fleshed out my vision by writing a book designed to help people establish successful interpersonal relationships at home, at work, and in all places where such relationships are needed. For example:

• Novice salespeople can use these methods to attract new customers;

• Experienced salespeople will also benefit from the book by learning how to maintain and develop existing relationships and, naturally, attract new customers;

• all employees, from Wall Street managers to restaurant waiters, can use the suggested tactics to interact more effectively with management, colleagues, subordinates and customers;

• parents can apply new knowledge to repair, maintain and strengthen relationships with children;

• Consumers will learn to get better service, get better deals, and attract favorable attention from service personnel;

• and of course, people who want to form friendships or romantic relationships can use the suggested skills development techniques to overcome difficulties in this difficult task (which is becoming more and more difficult in the digital age).

This book is for anyone who wants to make new friends or strengthen existing relationships, make chance encounters more enjoyable, and get more tips and bonuses.

How to deal with friendship challenges

People are social beings. The human species is programmed to find friends. This desire is rooted in our distant primitive past, when unity offered the best chance of being at the top of the food chain, when we emerged from the caves and began to fight for survival in a hostile and merciless world. If you think that at that time making friends was a pleasant and easy thing, then, unfortunately, you are mistaken. Today, the results of many sociological surveys and studies show that there is a growing number of people in the world who feel lonely and unable to even make an acquaintance, let alone build meaningful, deep and lasting relationships. The problem is exacerbated by the widespread introduction of social networks into our lives, which further isolate people from each other and prevent the establishment of trusting personal relationships.

Getting in touch with people, especially strangers, is always difficult. Moreover, these contacts are associated with unpleasant and even frightening experiences. It doesn’t matter if you are a man or a woman. In any case, you experience fear: fear of embarrassment, fear of rejection, fear of offending and hurting other people’s feelings, fear of making a bad impression, and even fear of possible manipulation and shameless use of you by another person.

Fortunately, establishing a relationship does not necessarily lead to disaster. If you want, against all odds, to make friends or simply improve an existing relationship with someone, be of good cheer. You are not alone, and your situation is by no means hopeless. I wrote this book specifically to relieve your anxiety about maintaining relationships at work and at home, with loved ones, or having to enter into new relationships with strangers. The methods described in it are based on cutting-edge scientific evidence, so they will give you a chance to learn how to like people without saying a word. In this book you will find various tips on the use of non-verbal signals, with the help of which, just like with the help of words, you can instantly win the favor of any person. However, in the end, you still have to speak. Words turn a feeling of sympathy into friendship, and sometimes into a long life-long relationship.

Fruitful personal relationships are without a doubt available to you. This is not a matter of chance or luck. Friendly, trusting relationships are established through the application of proven scientific knowledge and proven methods of interaction with others.

So, now you are only three steps away from the absolute ability to make friends.

1. You must be imbued with a sincere desire to master the methods and techniques described in the book, and do not regret this work. These methods are similar to the electrical tools used by construction workers. The whole trick is to let the tool work. For example, in my early youth I sawed wooden blanks with a hand saw. One day my father allowed me to borrow a circular saw he had recently bought. I began to work, pressing on it in the same way as on a hand saw. Seeing this, my father patted me on the shoulder and told me not to push so hard and let the saw calmly and do its job well. The techniques described in the book require exactly the same common sense approach. When applying them, be calm, be yourself and let them work for you. You will be quite surprised by the result.

2. You must constantly apply new knowledge to interact with people around you in everyday life. The fact that you know the best way to do something is only good if you use it in practice. Remember that knowledge without practical application is dead knowledge.

3. Reinforce what you have learned with constant practice. The friendship skill is like any skill. The more you use it, the better you get at it. The less often you use your skill, the sooner you lose it. After taking these three steps, you will understand that making friends for you has become as familiar and inconspicuous as breathing.

The ability to cause sympathy is available, it is in front of you. To master this art, simply use the information in the book and watch your LQ (likability quotient), or likeability quotient, rise.

1. The Friendship Formula

I realized that people will forget what you said and forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.

Maya Angelou [1]

Operation Seagull

This man’s codename is Seagull. He was a high-ranking foreign diplomat. If we were able to recruit him, it would be a great and valuable asset for the United States of America.

However, we had to solve one difficult question: how to convince a person to abandon allegiance to his native country? To do this, it was necessary to somehow make friends with Chaika and make him an offer that could not be refused. To cope with such a task, patience was required, a careful collection of information about all aspects of the life of this person and the establishment of friendly relations between him and an American whom Chaika would trust.

According to our information, he was passed over for promotion several times, and, in addition, our employees managed to overhear Chaika telling his wife that he liked life in America and would gladly retire and settle in the USA, if it were possible. In addition, Chaika was concerned that he was entitled to a small pension in his homeland. Armed with this information, security analysts suggested that the diplomat could be won over to our side if sufficient financial compensation was offered to him.

Now he had to establish a close relationship with Chaika without scaring him with the prospect of rough recruitment, which was a difficult task. FBI operative Charles was instructed to establish contact with Chaika, gradually get closer to him and bring the relationship of trust to such an extent that it would be possible to make him a specific proposal. This is how good wine is brought to the required maturity in order to enjoy its bouquet later. The agent was warned that if he was too hasty, Seagull would likely become alert and avoid contact. To begin with, the agent had to stick to the tactics of establishing friendly relations. The first thing Charles had to do was to please Seagull without saying a single word. The second step would be to express the sympathy that has arisen in words with a hint of a long-term friendship.

Preparations for the first, most important meeting between Charles and Chaika continued for several months. Outdoor surveillance established that once a week the object left the embassy building and went shopping to a grocery store located a couple of blocks from the embassy. Charles was instructed to regularly catch the eye of the Seagull at different points along the route. The agent was warned not to approach Chaika so as not to arouse suspicion, but simply to catch his eye: he was, so to speak, “here” so that a foreign diplomat would notice him every time.

Being an intelligence officer himself, Chaika very soon noticed an FBI agent, who, admittedly, did not seek conspiracy. Since Charles made no attempt to approach or speak to Seagull, he did not feel any threat. He just got used to the fact that an American from time to time catches his eye.

Several weeks passed, and once, once again, being close to the American, Chaika looked into his eyes. In response, Charles nodded his head, indicating that he noticed this gesture, but did not show more interest and did not make an attempt to establish verbal contact.

A few more weeks passed, and only after that Charles began to contact Chaika on a non-verbal level more intensively: look into his eyes more often, raise his eyebrows, tilt his head and stick his chin forward a little . The human brain interprets these gestures as “friendly signals”.

The next step in getting closer to Chaika was taken by Charles two months later. He followed him into the store, but kept a respectful distance. Now, each time the diplomat visited the store, Charles followed him, still keeping his distance, although several times he passed Seagull in the aisles of the supermarket. At the same time, the agent began to look into the eyes of his object even more often. Charles noticed that the diplomat always bought a can of peas from the store. After waiting a few more weeks, Charles followed Chaika to the shelf with peas, and when he reached for a jar, smiling, he also took a can of peas from the shelf and turned to Chaika: “Good afternoon, my name is Charles, I am an FBI special agent.” He smiled back and said: “For some reason I thought so.” After this harmless meeting and acquaintance, a strong friendship was established between Charles and Chaika. In the end, Chaika agreed to supply his friend from the FBI with valuable information.

To a casual observer, Agent Charles’ months-long stomping on the spot might seem unnecessarily long and incomprehensible, but it was no coincidence that he waited so long. In fact, the recruitment strategy was carefully thought out and practiced as a virtuoso psychological operation, the purpose of which was to establish friendly relations between two people who, on their own, would not only not make friends, but also never get to know each other.

As a specialist of the FBI analytical center, together with my colleagues, I took part in the development of the scenario for the recruitment of Chaika by our operational officer. The goal was to make Chaika get used to Charles’ presence and make the first acquaintance grow into friendship – if, of course, the agent manages to make a good impression on the recruit. The task was complicated by the fact that Chaika himself was an experienced intelligence officer and could be suspicious of any attempt by an outsider to get to know him. Then in the future he would avoid the suspicious stranger at all costs.

In order for Charles to successfully implement our plan, it was necessary to create such conditions that it would be psychologically comfortable for a foreign diplomat to communicate with an American agent. Therefore, Charles had to take several specific actions, which he did with great success and . These steps are no different from those that any person who wants to establish a short-term or long-term friendship with someone should take.

Using the case of Seagull as an example, we now examine what led Charles to success in recruiting. In this case, the FBI agent used friendship formula .

Friendship Formula

The Friendship Formula consists of four main components: proximity, frequency, duration and intensity. These four variables can be written as the following simple mathematical equation:

Friendship = Proximity + Frequency + Duration + Intensity In Chaika’s case, Charles didn’t just walk up to him and introduce himself. Such behavior, on the contrary, would only repel the foreigner. The peculiarities of the situation required a more cautious and balanced approach. It was necessary to give Chaika the opportunity to get used to Charles and not perceive him as a threat. To achieve this goal, a factor of 9 was used0015 proximity . Intimacy is an indispensable component of all interpersonal relationships. Just being in the field of view of the target of recruitment is critical to establishing personal relationships. Proximity awakens in the object sympathy for you and causes mutual attraction. As a result, people begin to be attracted to each other, even if they do not exchange words.

The main condition for creating intimacy is to be in a safe environment. If a person feels threatened by the overly intrusive and too close presence of another person, then he becomes alert and tries to sneak away, avoiding further rapprochement. In the scenario of establishing contact with the Seagull, Charles maintained a sufficient distance so that he did not perceive him as a source of danger and did not turn on the fight or flight reaction [2] .

Frequency refers to the number of contacts you have with another person per unit of time, and duration refers to the duration of each contact. As time passed, Charles added the impact of the second and third factor of friendship – frequency and duration . He did this, more often catching the eyes of the diplomat during his trips to the store (frequency). After a few months, Charles turned on the duration component, spending more time with Seagull whenever he came into his line of sight—for example, walking him to the store, increasing the duration of each contact.

Intensity is the ability to best meet the psychological and/or physical needs of another person through verbal or non-verbal behavior. The last ingredient in the friendship formula, intensity, was added gradually as Chaika grew accustomed to Charles’s presence and realized the FBI agent’s apparent reluctance to make direct contact immediately. In this case, the intensity was expressed in the curiosity factor . When a new stimulus appears in a familiar environment (in our example, a stranger appeared in Seagull’s environment), the brain determines whether this stimulus represents a real threat or an imaginary one. If he identifies it as a real threat, then the person will try to eliminate or neutralize it, the fight or flight reaction will turn on. If, on the contrary, a new stimulus is not perceived as a threat, then it becomes an object of curiosity and a person seeks to find out who it is? Why is he here? Can I use it to my advantage?

While at a safe distance, Charles piqued Chaika’s curiosity, which prompted him to find out who the man was and what he wanted.

Chaika later admitted that he recognized Charles as an FBI agent at first sight. True or not, Chaika caught the friendly signals that the FBI man was sending him. And his curiosity only increased after he found out that Charles actually works for the FBI. Certainly, the foreign diplomat understood that they wanted to recruit him, but he wanted to know for what purpose and at what cost. Since Chaika was dissatisfied with his career growth and worried about his imminent retirement, he undoubtedly played out various scenarios of interaction with Charles in his mind, including espionage activities in favor of the United States.

The decision to become a spy is not made overnight. A potential candidate needs time to rationalize his tactics and justify the rejection of loyalty to his state. The recruiting strategy allowed time for the seeds of betrayal to sprout. Chaika’s imagination itself supplied the material for the maturation of this thought. In addition, he spent this period trying to convince his wife to join him. When Charles finally approached The Seagull directly, the diplomat no longer viewed the FBI agent as a threat, on the contrary, he saw him as a symbol of hope – hope for a better life in the future.

After Chaika had already decided to agree to work for the FBI, he had to wait for some more time until Charles finally turned to him. Later, he confessed to Charles that this period was the most painful. Curiosity has reached its peak. Why doesn’t the American take the next step? Indeed, when Charles introduced himself to Chaika in the store, he asked: “Why did you wait so long?”

The owner of the tourist center “Oreshka” near Krasnoyarsk found old rails on his site – December 5, 2021

The rails were slightly covered with snow

alin” and the year of manufacture – 1946. The man placed the finds in a conspicuous place and showed them to the NGS24.RU journalist and other curious visitors.

As it turned out, the clearing leading to the longest cave in the country “Bolshoi Oreshnaya” is a former narrow-gauge road serving the once largest timber industry enterprise in the region. It is now in Oreshny (the nearest settlement to the cave. – Note ed .) there are only 300 inhabitants, and immediately after the war there were 5 thousand of them. Exiled Germans, Lithuanians, Estonians worked a lot in these parts.

The inscription can be seen


Evgeny Shaferov, director of the local recreation center “Oreshka”, to my question: is there anything from the old road left here, shows the rails with an imprint “Stalin and 1946”.

— We bought this base a few years ago from the previous owner. And so I go to bed this summer and have a dream: aside from the road, already in the forest, at a depth of half a meter, I find the old rails from this narrow gauge railway.