Here's a simple and effective test to figure out how you really feel about someone
via Unsplash

The average American knows 600 people, according to a recent study by The New York Times. Now, you may have 900 "friends" on Facebook, but you probably don't "know" all of them.

Another study found that the average American adult has 16 friends. They have "three friends for life, five people they really like and would hang out with one-on-one, and eight people they like but don't spend time with one-on-one or seek out."

Now, there are all different kinds of friends. There are those that you see just to have a good time. There are those that you go out with on couples' dates. And there are those you may share a hobby or interest with, but the relationship doesn't go much further than that.


What sets acquaintances, friends, and best friends apart is how comfortable we feel around them. Two ways to judge how they make you feel is whether you spending a lot of time together and if they can be trusted.

Author Ross McCammon created a simple test to gain some clarity about the level of comfort he feels about someone, he calls it the "Two Beers and a Puppy Test."

The test is: To find out how you actually feel about someone, ask yourself: "Would I have two beers with this person?" And: "Would I allow this person to look after my puppy over a weekend?"

Some people are no and no. These people are to be avoided at all costs. Some people are yes and no. These people are to be cautiously trusted. Some people are no and yes. These people are no fun but they make the world a better place — for puppies, especially. And some people are yes and yes. These people are wonderful people and your life and work are better for having them in your life. Seek them out. Collaborate with them. Enjoy their company.

No, No — This is probably someone who shouldn't be in your life. You don't enjoy their company and they're not someone that you can rely on when you need someone to lend a hand.

No, Yes — Unfortunately, this person isn't that great of a hang, but they can be relied upon in a pinch. These are great people to have as neighbors.

Yes, No — These people are a lot of fun, but you can't depend on them to be there when you really need them. These are like drinking buddies.

Yes, Yes — These are the golden people that you should work to keep in your life.

The test is a great way to evaluate people in your life but it's also a way to look at ourselves. How would you rate yourself as a friend?

via Wikimedia Commons

Another fun way to evaluate people is a test I developed based on a quote by Oscar Wilde, the legendary 19th-century Irish poet, playwright, and author of "The Picture of Dorian Gray."

"It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious," Wilde once said.

Now, this test is more for those who aren't shopping around from someone to watch their puppy but want to find people who are the most enjoyable to spend time around. I picture it as a spectrum with charming on one side and tedious on the other.

Charming < ------------------------- > Tedious

Someone can have a great sense of humor and make you laugh (charming) but at the same time like to complain a whole lot (tedious). So they'd fall in the middle.

There are others who are nothing but a joy to be around and are self-aware enough not to impose their drama or neurotic tendencies on you. These people would fall on the charming end of the spectrum.

Then they are those people who bring little to the table in terms of good humor and likeability but have a whole lot of baggage. These people would be ranked further down the tedious scale.

To put things even more simply, as Wilde once said, "Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go."

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less