About Us

What is Life with Great Friends?

Doug and AndreaWe look forward to hearing you say one day, “I have a circle of friends that are more than friends; they are Great Friends and my life is much richer for it.”

Our dream is to see 10,000 people enjoy the rewards of Great Friends in the next five years. This blog and our podcasts are here to encourage and equip you to make not only good, but Great or remarkable friends. Through the encouragement, stories, tips and tools shared on this website you can be one of the 10,000!

In our journey from feeling lonely to enjoying Great Friends, we found that there were many others just like us wondering how to make Great Friends. (Scroll down for the longer version of our story.) Instead of keeping our failures and success to ourselves, we will candidly share the victories and the not-so-easy lessons we learned to assist you in making your own Great Friends.

Some will argue that friends can’t be “made,” or that making Great Friends can’t be reduced to specific formula. We would argue that anything great requires intentionality.

If you desire deeper levels of friendship or simply more friends, this blog is for you. Weekly blogs and podcasts will include practical steps and encouragement. To make sure you don’t miss the newest tips and tools, click here to subscribe.

Who are Doug and Andrea?

Terpening FamilyAndrea and Doug met while living in Portland, Oregon and attending college. Andrea grew up in Washington State, and Doug in Los Angeles. Doug fell really hard for Andrea. During their first argument four weeks into dating, Doug knew right then and there he wanted to marry Andrea. After a good year and a half, Andrea came around to his way of thinking!

Shortly after the birth of their first son, they made their first move for Doug’s work, beginning with North Dakota. Nearly every year after that, for five years, they moved again for Doug’s work and added children in most of those cities. A daughter was born in Seattle, a son in Minneapolis, and another daughter in Portland where they stopped moving around the country in 2004. The life on the road was a great adventure for the young family, but after five years of feeling torn from friendships and stunted in building long-term relationships, it was time to “develop roots”.

Now, they live in a small farming town on the edge of Portland where they rescued an abandoned farm. The six of them are passionate about bringing life back to the land and to those who set foot on the land. Some of the added life includes ducks, chickens, pigs, fruit trees, and berry bushes. (Doug continually puts in his plug for turkeys.) It is common to find an additional kid, friend, or family member enjoying the farm with them.

In 2013, they founded Life with Great Friends with Doug & Andrea with the goal to hear you say, “I have great friends and my life is great!”

If you are in the Portland area and interested in playing a round of ultimate Frisbee, Ticket to Ride or other game, drop us an email.

Here’s our contact information: If you have a question or comment, we want to hear it. Here is our email doug@lifewithgreatfriends.com. Click here to view our Facebook page.

Our Journey

logoLife with Great Friends comes from our loneliness, successes, heart-break, joy, reading, questions and friendships.

For five years we moved around the country for work, living in four different cities during those five years. Each year we worked hard to make and establish new friends. We made some really good friends that we enjoyed and shared much in common. But by 2004 we were no longer interested in the emotional work of making new friends only to let them go again in a year. This was our first awareness of the importance of having great friends in our lives, though we didn’t yet recognize it.

This experience was preparing us to recognize a need that was greater than just our own. Being dropped into a new city with very few connections and learning to build friendships from scratch would lead us to this point where we would want to help others build great friends.

It is surprising to look back at 2005 and 2006. Now that we had settled down as permanent residents and bought our first house, we assumed that friends would just come to us naturally. While we had been moving around the country, we knew we only had a limited window of time to make friends, so we put a ton of effort into making those connections. Once settled, we stopped and those great friends did not naturally come. Sure, we got to know people through kids’ soccer, church, piano, and the cul-de-sac. Yet, none were great friends. Why? We had bought into the lie that great friends just happen in some mysterious, elusive way.

In November of 2006, I, Doug, wanted to go watch a UCLA basketball game at Buffalo Wild Wings in Hillsboro, right next to the REI store. I can picture the restaurant and the best seat for game viewing. Not wanting to go alone (Andrea can only handle one or two games a season), I pondered who I might invite to enjoy the game with me. My mind wondered, “Who really knows me or really cares about me?” I had friends, yet not great friends.

This is when I realized that I was lonely.

Only one month later, I went to a Murdock Trust leadership conference in Vancouver, Washington. One of the breakout sessions was put on by a group called Truefaced with co-founder and speaker Bruce McNicols. It was at the end of the hour that Bruce said, “Most of you will avoid true, authentic relationships, because of the fear of possible pain.”


A light went on in my head.

I was the one stopping true, authentic relationships–me and my fears.

Find out more about Bruce and the Truefaced gang at www.truefaced.com.

So, I decided I would do something about my loneliness. I would ask a friend if he would go on a six-month journey to become great friends–to be the type of friends “where the worst about you and the worst about me can be known and we will be loved more for it.”

I was very, very scared to do this. My palms were sweaty and my mouth was dry. I barely got the words out. It seemed like he was well connected and had all the friends in the world, but to my complete shock, he said he didn’t have that type of friend either. He agreed to try to do this with me for six months.

We grew closer and became better friends over coffee and family dinners. Our families camped together. Then life and distance between our homes caught up with us. Slowly over time the friendship faded back to being good friends. In hindsight, I didn’t understand some of the keys to making and keeping great friends. But the experience of growing closer so quickly and seeing the power of intentionality, drove me to become intentional about making great friends.

This time we decided to create great friends as a couple. We asked a few couples if they wanted to go on this journey to being great friends together and to our surprise they also agreed. We had great times together. We shared real tears together. We leaned on one another. It was wonderful. That experience changed my life. My marriage got better. My outlook on life was brighter. It was crazy the positive affect it had in my life. Now that I had tasted the impact of great friends, there was no going back to lonely.

Over time, this group has changed, as people do, but the individual friendships are still alive. Are we still figuring out how to do this in a new phase of life? Yes. Did we learn much about friendships? Yes! Has my commitment to keeping great friends grown? Yes.

Our dream is to see 10,000 lonely people build great friends in next five years where they can experience the positive impact on all areas of their lives as they make great friends. We want to pass on our experience, both good and bad, so that you can avoid those same mistakes.

We look forward to hearing you say one day, “I have a circle of friends that are more than friends; they are great friends and my life is much richer for it.”