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As we approach another holiday season, it may be appropriate to reflect on life.

For most of us the holidays coming up mean spending time with friends and family.

And for many, friends and family are what really counts.

So how do we win those lifelong friends and live happily with them ever after?

First, it's important to agree with people if you want them to become your friend. You should preferably like the same things and the same people. But research has shown that even more important than agreeing with people and liking the same things, is to dislike the same things. Apparently the common bond created by disliking something or someone is more important than the bond created by liking someone.

Perhaps this is some remnant from the caveman instincts that permitted the group to survive at the expense of other people and other groups. And perhaps, to a certain extent, that explains nationalism and why so many atrocities have been committed against anyone who is different from ourselves; whether it relates to color, religion or geography.

So, as we enter the holiday season-and please note that I use the politically correct terminology-perhaps we should all reflect upon what and whom we like and enjoy in life, rather than what we dislike. Then again, if we really want to bond and make friends for life, a small dose of antagonism is likely to do the trick.

I know that worked for me at the age of eight, when I first met my future wife. I still clearly remember that we both agreed that we hated to eat soup. And here we are, still together, almost forty years later. But of course, our taste buds have developed; and now we enjoy both tomato and potato soups-any other soup is still banned.

Happy holidays!
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Peter Rost M.D. Peter Rost, M.D., is a former Vice President of Pfizer. He is the author of "The Whistleblower, Confessions of a Healthcare Hitman" and "Killer Drug." He also writes the daily Pharma Law Blog and the Pharma Expert Witness (more...)

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