To do this, picture yourself in the situation, observe yourself there, see what you are wearing and how you are standing or sitting. Then slowly think through what you are doing and saying, what you are thinking and feeling, what skills and qualities you have, what is important to you in the situation and finally what is your purpose in the communication. It can help to talk through this process with a friend or colleague. An alternative approach is to recall a time when you communicated successfully and again think through the same set of questions. What did you do and say, what were you thinking and feeling, what skills and qualities were you demonstrating - so that you can re-create the same positive mood when you need it. Sociologists see this as a kind of curation: with limited time in front of them, older people try to fill it with people who sustain them, and they let go of those who tire them out or make demands. Instead of making new connections, they rely more heavily on the ones they have. Finding a mate isn't as important as keeping strong social ties, and these are only valuable if they are positive in nature; being in a bad relationship or spending time with toxic relatives is no better for elders than for young people. As Laura Carstensen writes, Bad relationships may be more harmful than good relationships are beneficial. Ruth grew up in the Brownsville neighborhood in Brooklyn, once called the Jerusalem of America, with more than seventy synagogues and residents who included Mel Brooks, Danny Kaye, Norman Podhoretz, and Jerry Stiller. Her street was unpaved, and a woman on the block kept a goat. Like Helen, she met her husband in childhood and never saw a need to date other boys. She was eleven and he was a friend from the neighborhood, from a poor family that refused to go on relief during the Depression. They were together until the war separated them. Best friend. It's such a loaded phrase. Do you remember the first time that you dared acknowledge to another human being that he or she was your best friend? That moment is just as terrifying, and just as wonderful, as the first time you say I love you to someone. But have you noticed?

Best friend is a phrase from a sacred language that we all seem to know. We all know well enough not to abuse it, don't we? Those of us who have no problem taking the Lord's name in vain will not take these five words in vain: You are my best friend. I guarantee it. Indeed, I will wager that most often the truth of best friendship is so deep, so sublime, that it cannot even really be spoken. I would see some fitness dude post a photo on Instagram, and I would research everything that guy did to look like that. And then I'd be mad at myself for, you know, not having lived that guy's life in its entirety. The thing I have to always remind myself is I'm living my life, not someone else's. Whatever I've done to get me where I am, I can't change anything in the past. I can only start to make better decisions going forward. And just seeing someone who looks bonkers-great on the internet doesn't somehow mean I am doing poorly and that I should quit my healthy habits or think I'm already a failure. A few years ago, I installed an app on my phone that tracked how much time I was using different apps. I didn't think I was on my phone that much, but I had noticed I kept not being able to find time to do all the things I wanted to do in my life. The results were astounding. I was spending more than four hours on just my phone a day--a day--on social media: a mix of Facepiece of writing, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat. The figure below, taken from neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), 5 illustrates these steps. Hear your own positive self-talk. It is really important to build up your confidence by reminding yourself of the positive aspects of what you are communicating. Our thoughts influence our emotions, which in turn influence how we act, and this affects the results we get. (You can remember this with the mnemonic TEAR).

When we are nervous or worried about something, we tend to have automatic negative thoughts (ANTS) and these come out in our body as butterflies in the stomach, shaking hands and a trembling voice. This means we project our message less confidently and people pick up on our lack of confidence with the result that we less convincing. In most cases our negative thoughts are not logical, not realistic and certainly not helpful. Before communicating, reframe these ANTS into positive thoughts so that you feel more upbeat and confident. This will come across in your voice and body language with the result that you will be more influential. Unlike Helen, Ruth always planned for an advanced education and a career. She was the youngest of four children, the rebel of the family. At sixteen, with her male classmates off to war, Ruth went to Brooklyn College, which was free at the time, and studied bacteriology. She exchanged letters with her future husband during the war, and when he came home they married and moved by the beach in Far Rockaway. They were part of the postwar boom, raising two sons and two daughters. When I met her at ninety-one, Ruth was losing some mobility because of arterial blockage in one leg, but was still intellectually curious, in sporadic contact with the friends she'd made since her husband's death and in daily contact with her children. Every morning I have to send an e-mail to all my four children, she said. If I don't, I'll get a call, `Mom, are you okay? ' I tell them, what are you worried about, I'm in a place like this, I'm supposed to be watched. If her Internet access goes down, she knows by now to call her daughter before the kids start to panic. By the end of our first summer together, Seth and I might have called each other blood brothers. We might well have taken out a pocketknife and sliced our fingers open and shared blood and sworn allegiance: Best friends forever! We did not slice fingers, by the way. But we nonetheless knew in our hearts what was happening. 8

The need for twinship will be with us for life. But if you think about your own history of twinship, I think you will see that such friendships will arise most urgently for us during times of deep reorganization of self. And, of course, adolescence stands as the first of these experiences of reorganization and reinvention. And so, for most of us, adolescence will be the crucible par excellence of twinship, and inevitably the model for later times of twinship and self-reorganization. To begin our look at this new kind of friendship, then, let's start with an experience of twinship in adolescence. That very day, I deleted the apps from my phone and put blockers on my computer so I couldn't look at them. I did a cold-turkey detox, which was incredibly hard. I often reached for my phone, wanting to check Twitter, to make funny jokes, to share a photo of something silly I saw in the world. It was hard. After about two weeks, friends started emailing and texting to make sure I was alive. I hadn't done one of those I am quitting social media! posts, so many were rightfully concerned. I told them my story, and many totally got it. Do I still check Twitter sometimes? Sure, but not regularly. The table here shows an example of how to use the positive self-talk approach when preparing for a job interview - banish the ANTS in the left-hand column and focus on the positives in the right-hand column. Now choose another emotion from the list and this time, without speaking, carry out an action in the style of that emotion, such as carrying a glass of water and putting it down on a table. Can the observer correctly guess the emotion you are communicating? What did you do in your face, movement and posture that communicated that emotion to them? Being aware of your own emotions and how you are communicating them affects whether your behaviour stimulates positive or negative reactions and emotions in your audience.

Again, this is about ensuring that your impact on others matches your intention and that you create a positive emotional state in others. The next sections cover how to flex your style according to the purpose you want to achieve, the style and situation of the person with whom you are interacting, and the stage of the communication process. You can't change other people's behaviour - you can only change your own. But you can influence how other people behave by communicating in a style that engages the emotions to lead to the outcome you want. Think about how people feel when you communicate with them - put yourself in their shoes. Ruth was determined not to go gentle into old age. She wore her white hair cut short and ironed her clothes before leaving her apartment, but she dressed more for function than for flair. A well-pressed blouse was like a clean home--it was something she could control, a refusal to quit. She took eight medications, including an antidepressant for occasional dizzy spells, but overall her health was good. She'd discovered she could get library articles delivered to her without going to a branch. Each time I visited she was reading something new--it was what she did instead of socializing or going on the building's trips. Do I want to live to a hundred? she asked one day. Not especially. I was happy to make ninety, I have to tell you that. Do you remember what it was like for you? That first experience of twinship? 9 As I have said: I was nineteen years old. I was a sophomore at Amherst College--an elite New England men's school, where I was struggling to belong.