Friendliness

Favorably disposed and inclined to be kind and helpful to others.

— Friendliness, 05
[do action=”vfdictstart” title=”friendliness”/] [do action=”vfdictitem” contents=”characteristic of or befitting a friend; showing friendship: a friendly greeting.”/] [do action=”vfdictitem” contents=”like a friend; kind; helpful: a little friendly advice.”/] [do action=”vfdictitem” contents=”favorably disposed; inclined to approve, help, or support: a friendly bank.: a little friendly advice. “/] [do action=”vfdictend”/]

Friendliness

Friendliness is being open toward other people, taking the risk of inviting them into relationship with you. It means being curious, warm and inviting toward people you don’t know well and letting yourself be vulnerable and interdependent with people you do. When we are friendly, our starting assumption is that others are well-intentioned and open to reciprocity, and that we can learn from them. This does not mean we are naively oblivious to the fact that generous assumptions may be wrong–and definitely will be at times. Rather, friendliness means that in the absence of evidence to the contrary we assume the best, and even when evidence is mixed we tend to give people the benefit of the doubt. Because our expectations are often self-fulfilling, friendliness maximizes the richness of our relationships.

[do action=”vfquote” quote=”When you hug someone sincerely you share three things; warmth, smiles and love. When you reject a hug; you reject these things. Tell me what else brings greater joy than these, to be loved, the warmth from a dear one and a welcoming or friendly smile?” author=”GABRIEL OKPE”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Researchers studied 34 students at the University of Virginia, taking them to the base of a steep hill and fitting them with a weighted backpack. They were then asked to estimate the steepness of the hill. Some participants stood next to friends during the exercise, while others were alone. The students who stood with friends gave lower estimates of the steepness of the hill. And the longer the friends had known each other, the less steep the hill appeared.” author=”Tara Parker-Pope”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Nothing in the world is friendlier than a wet dog.” author=”Dan Bennett”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”In our dealings with those caught in vice, mercy is incomplete unless we preach what we practice; name it, say it out loud, call it vice. We have winked, giggled, made alibis, or ignored vice all too long. Our condescending ”non-judgmentalism” doesn’t help people who are struggling with life’s problems. A friend in deed is one who says quietly, but firmly, ”What you’re doing friend is wrong. It is harmful to you and to others. It is destructive to you and the future of your family.”” author=”Coach Traeger”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”We build too many walls and not enough bridges.” author=”Isaac Newton”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Our listening creates a sanctuary for the homeless parts within another person.” author=”Rachel Naomi Remen”/]

Friendliness

Friendliness is a tendency to be pleasant and accommodating in social situations. In contemporary personality psychology, agreeableness is one of the five major dimensions of personality structure, reflecting individual differences in concern for cooperation and social harmony. People who score high on this dimension are empathetic, considerate, friendly, generous, and helpful. They also have an optimistic view of human nature. They tend to believe that most people are honest, decent, and trustworthy.

People scoring low on friendliness place self-interest above getting along with others. They are usually more cautious about other’s agendas; they may feel that others are out to better their own self-interest. People scoring low on the friendliness chart are generally less concerned with others’ well-being, report less empathy, and are therefore less likely to go out of their way to help others. Their skepticism about other people’s motives may cause them to be suspicious and unfriendly. People very low on friendliness have a tendency to be manipulative in their social relationships. They are more likely to compete than to cooperate.

Friendliness is considered to be a super ordinate trait, meaning that it is a grouping of more specific personality traits that cluster together statistically. There are exceptions, but in general, people who are concerned about others also tend to cooperate with them, help them out, and trust them. This dimension of personality was initially discovered in research using the method of factor analysis.

Friendliness can be viewed as the opposite of Machiavellianism. It is also similar conceptually to Alfred Adler’s idea of social interest.

Friendliness is an asset in a wide range of social situations. Friendly individuals are biased toward liking others and viewing them in a positive light, whereas disagreeable people are more negative. Despite the label, there is no evidence that those high on friendliness are more conforming, or influenced by others in making choices, than are their peers.

Because friendly children are more sensitive to the needs and perspectives of others, they are less likely to suffer from social rejection. Specifically, the research indicates that children who are less disruptive, less aggressive, and more skilled at entering play groups are more likely to gain acceptance by their peers.

One study found that people high in friendliness are more emotionally responsive in social situations. This effect was measured on both self-report questionnaires and physiological measures, and offers evidence that extraversion and neuroticism are not the only Big Five personality factors that influence emotion. The effect was especially pronounced among women.

The research also shows that people high in friendliness are more likely to control negative emotions like anger in conflict situations. Those who are high in friendliness are more likely to use constructive tactics when in conflict with others, whereas people low in friendliness are more likely to use coercive tactics.They are also more willing to give ground to their adversary and may “lose” arguments with people who are less agreeable. From their perspective, they have not really lost an argument as much as maintained a congenial relationship with another person.

A central feature of friendliness is its positive association with altruism and helping behavior. Across situations, people who are high in friendliness are more likely to report an interest and involvement with helping others. Experiments have shown that whereas most people are likely to help their own kin, or when empathy has been aroused, friendly people are likely to help even when these conditions are not present. In other words, friendly people appear to be “traited for helping” and do not need any other motivations.

While friendly individuals are habitually likely to help others, unfriendly people may be more likely to harm them. Researchers have found that low levels of friendliness are associated with hostile thoughts and aggression in adolescents, as well as poor social adjustment. People low in friendliness are also more likely to be prejudiced against stigmatized groups such as the overweight.

When mental illness is present, low friendliness may be associated with narcissistic and anti-social tendencies. In theory, individuals who are extremely high in friendliness are at risk for problems of dependency, but empirical studies show that many more problems are associated with low friendliness.

In the United States, mid-westerners and southerners tend to have higher average scores on friendliness than people living in other regions. According to researchers, the top ten most friendly states are North Dakota, Minnesota, Mississippi, Utah, Wisconsin, Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, Oklahoma, and Nebraska. These findings are consistent with well known expressions in these states, such as “southern hospitality” and “Minnesota nice.” Because these states are generally less urbanized than the east and west coasts, people may be more likely to live in small communities and know their neighbors, and consequently, more willing to care about them and help them out.

[do action=”vfquote” quote=”A good motto is: Use friendliness but do not use your friends.” author=”Frank Crane”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”The good neighbor looks beyond the external accidents and discerns to those inner qualities that make all men human and, therefore, brothers.” author=”Martin Luther King Jr.”/]

A Plausible Man

By John Earle

Is one that would fain run an even path in the world, and jut against no man. His endeavour is not to offend, and his aim the general opinion. His conversation is a kind of continued compliment, and his life a practice of manners. The relation he bears to others, a kind of fashionable respect, not friendship but friendliness, which is equal to all and general, and his kindnesses seldom exceed courtesies. He loves not deeper mutualities, because he would not take sides, nor hazard himself on displeasures, which he principally avoids. At your first acquaintance with him he is exceeding kind and friendly, and at your twentieth meeting after but friendly still. He has an excellent command over his patience and tongue, especially the last, which he accommodates always to the times and persons, and speaks seldom what is sincere, but what is civil. He is one that uses all companies, drinks all healths, and is reasonable cool in all religions. [He considers who are friends to the company, and speaks well where he is sure to hear of it again.] He can listen to a foolish discourse with an applausive attention, and conceal his laughter at nonsense. Silly men much honour and esteem him, because by his fair reasoning with them as with men of understanding, he puts them into an erroneous opinion of themselves, and makes them forwarder hereafter to their own discovery. He is one rather well thought on than beloved, and that love he has is more of whole companies together than any one in particular. Men gratify him notwithstanding with a good report, and whatever vices he has besides, yet having no enemies, he is sure to be an honest fellow.

[do action=”vfquote” quote=”What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity. These are but trifles, to be sure; but, scattered along life’s pathway, the good they do is inconceivable.” author=”Joseph Addison”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, ”What! You, too? I thought I was the only one.” ” author=”C.S. Lewis”/]

Friendly? People make their judgments almost instantly

When a person meets you for the first time they ask themselves two questions. The answers to these two questions will have all sorts of effects for how they think about you and how they behave towards you in the future. The two questions are:

  1. How friendly is this person? The idea of friendliness includes things like trustworthiness, warmth, helpfulness, sociability and so on. Initial friendliness judgments are made within a few seconds of meeting you.
  2. How competent is this person? Competency judgments take longer to form and include things like intelligence, creativity, perceived ability and so on.

Researchers have looked at different cultures, times and types of social judgments, but these two concepts come up again and again in slightly different forms. The primacy of friendliness and competence in our initial judgment of people may reflect evolved, instinctual reactions to these two questions about others:

  1. Friend or foe? Is this person going to hurt me or help me?
  2. Capable of hurting or helping? Can this person help me if they’re friendly or hurt me if they’re not?

Think about this the next time you are introduced to someone new. They are judging, what are you displaying?

[do action=”vfquote” quote=”Our opinion of people depends less upon what we see in them than upon what they make us see in ourselves.” author=”Sarah Grand”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”When there are no spring blossoms to inspire, no summer flowers to smell, no autumn leaves to admire; then ’tis the season to appreciate one more of His wonders–one another. Man was a part of that garden–called Eden–too.” author=”LaTonya Tarell”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Once I told my old man, ‘Nobody likes me.’ He said, ‘Don’t say that–everybody hasn’t met you yet.'” author=”Rodney Dangerfield”/]

Olympic Friendliness

Berlin — Jesse Owens seemed sure to win the long jump at the 1936 games. The year before he had jumped 26 feet, 8 1/4 inches — a record that would stand for 25 years. As he walked to the long-jump pit, however, Owens saw a tall, blue eyed, blond German taking practice jumps in the 26-foot range. Owens felt nervous. He was acutely aware of the Nazis’ desire to prove “Aryan superiority,” especially over blacks. At this point, the tall German introduced himself as Luz Long. “You should be able to qualify with your eyes closed!” he said to Owens, referring to his two jumps. For the next few moments the black son of a sharecropper and the white model of Nazi manhood chatted. Then Long made a suggestion. Since the qualifying distance was only 23 feet, 5 1/2 inches, why not make a mark several inches before the takeoff board and jump from there, just to play it safe? Owens did and qualified easily. In the finals Owens set an Olympic record and earned the second of four golds. The first person to congratulate him was Luz Long — in full view of Adolf Hitler. Owens never again saw Long, who was killed in World War II. “You could melt down all the medals and cups I have,” Owens later wrote, “and they wouldn’t be a platting on the 24-carat friendship I felt for Luz Long.”
[do action=”vfauthor” author=”David Wallechinsky”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”I don’t like that man. I must get to know him better.” author=”Abraham Lincoln”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”The most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention…. A loving silence often has far more power to display friendliness and to connect than the most well-intentioned words.” author=”Rachel Naomi Remen”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”The person who tries to live alone will not succeed as a human being. His heart withers if it does not answer another heart. His mind shrinks away if he hears only the echoes of his own thoughts and finds no other inspiration.” author=”Pearl S. Buck”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”A smile costs nothing but gives much. It enriches those who receive without making poorer those who give. It takes but a moment, but the memory of it sometimes lasts forever. None is so rich or mighty that he cannot get along without it and none is so poor that he cannot be made rich by it. Yet a smile cannot be bought, begged, borrowed, or stolen, for it is something that is of no value to anyone until it is given away. Some people are too tired to give you a smile. Give them one of yours, as none needs a smile so much as he who has no more to give.” author=”Unknown”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Words are easy, but real friendship is difficult.” author=”Baganda (Uganda)”/]

Aristotle on Friendship

Now these reasons differ from each other in kind; so, therefore, do the corresponding forms of love and friendship. There are therefore three kinds of friendship, equal in number to the things that are lovable; for with respect to each there is a mutual and recognized love, and those who love each other wish well to each other in that respect in which they love one another. Now those who love each other for their utility do not love each other for themselves but in virtue of some good which they get from each other. So too with those who love for the sake of pleasure; it is not for their character that men love ready-witted people, but because they find them pleasant. Therefore those who love for the sake of utility love for the sake of what is good for themselves, and those who love for the sake of pleasure do so for the sake of what is pleasant to themselves, and not in so far as the other is the person loved but in so far as he is useful or pleasant. And thus these friendships are only incidental; for it is not as being the man he is that the loved person is loved, but as providing some good or pleasure. Such friendships, then, are easily dissolved, if the parties do not remain like themselves; for if the one party is no longer pleasant or useful the other ceases to love him.

Now the useful is not permanent but is always changing. Thus when the motive of the friendship is done away, the friendship is dissolved, inasmuch as it existed only for the ends in question. This kind of friendship seems to exist chiefly between old people (for at that age people pursue not the pleasant but the useful) and, of those who are in their prime or young, between those who pursue utility. And such people do not live much with each other either; for sometimes they do not even find each other pleasant; therefore they do not need such companionship unless they are useful to each other; for they are pleasant to each other only in so far as they rouse in each other hopes of something good to come. Among such friendships people also class the friendship of a host and guest. On the other hand the friendship of young people seems to aim at pleasure; for they live under the guidance of emotion, and pursue above all what is pleasant to themselves and what is immediately before them; but with increasing age their pleasures become different. This is why they quickly become friends and quickly cease to be so; their friendship changes with the object that is found pleasant, and such pleasure alters quickly. Young people are amorous too; for the greater part of the friendship of love depends on emotion and aims at pleasure; this is why they fall in love and quickly fall out of love, changing often within a single day. But these people do wish to spend their days and lives together; for it is thus that they attain the purpose of their friendship.

Perfect friendship is the friendship of men who are good, and alike in virtue; for these wish well alike to each other qua good, and they are good themselves. Now those who wish well to their friends for their sake are most truly friends; for they do this by reason of own nature and not incidentally; therefore their friendship lasts as long as they are good-and goodness is an enduring thing. And each is good without qualification and to his friend, for the good are both good without qualification and useful to each other. So too they are pleasant; for the good are pleasant both without qualification and to each other, since to each his own activities and others like them are pleasurable, and the actions of the good are the same or like. And such a friendship is as might be expected permanent, since there meet in it all the qualities that friends should have. For all friendship is for the sake of good or of pleasure-good or pleasure either in the abstract or such as will be enjoyed by him who has the friendly feeling-and is based on a certain resemblance; and to a friendship of good men all the qualities we have named belong in virtue of the nature of the friends themselves; for in the case of this kind of friendship the other qualities also are alike in both friends, and that which is good without qualification is also without qualification pleasant, and these are the most lovable qualities. Love and friendship therefore are found most and in their best form between such men.

But it is natural that such friendships should be infrequent; for such men are rare. Further, such friendship requires time and familiarity; as the proverb says, men cannot know each other till they have ‘eaten salt together’; nor can they admit each other to friendship or be friends till each has been found lovable and been trusted by each. Those who quickly show the marks of friendship to each other wish to be friends, but are not friends unless they both are lovable and know the fact; for a wish for friendship may arise quickly, but friendship does not.

This kind of friendship, then, is perfect both in respect of duration and in all other respects, and in it each gets from each in all respects the same as, or something like what, he gives; which is what ought to happen between friends. Friendship for the sake of pleasure bears a resemblance to this kind; for good people too are pleasant to each other. So too does friendship for the sake of utility; for the good are also useful to each other. Among men of these inferior sorts too, friendships are most permanent when the friends get the same thing from each other (e.g. pleasure), and not only that but also from the same source, as happens between ready witted people, not as happens between lover and beloved. For these do not take pleasure in the same things, but the one in seeing the beloved and the other in receiving attentions from his lover; and when the bloom of youth is passing the friendship sometimes passes too (for the one finds no pleasure in the sight of the other, and the other gets no attentions from the first); but many lovers on the other hand are constant, if familiarity has led them to love each other’s characters, these being alike. But those who exchange not pleasure but utility in their amour are both less truly friends and less constant. Those who are friends for the sake of utility part when the advantage is at an end; for they were lovers not of each other but of profit.

For the sake of pleasure or utility, then, even bad men may be friends of each other, or good men of bad, or one who is neither good nor bad may be a friend to any sort of person, but for their own sake clearly only good men can be friends; for bad men do not delight in each other unless some advantage come of the relation.

The friendship of the good too and this alone is proof against slander; for it is not easy to trust any one talk about a man who has long been tested by oneself; and it is among good men that trust and the feeling that ‘he would never wrong me’ and all the other things that are demanded in true friendship are found. In the other kinds of friendship, however, there is nothing to prevent these evils arising. For men apply the name of friends even to those whose motive is utility, in which sense states are said to be friendly (for the alliances of states seem to aim at advantage), and to those who love each other for the sake of pleasure, in which sense children are called friends. Therefore we too ought perhaps to call such people friends, and say that there are several kinds of friendship-firstly and in the proper sense that of good men qua good, and by analogy the other kinds; for it is in virtue of something good and something akin to what is found in true friendship that they are friends, since even the pleasant is good for the lovers of pleasure. But these two kinds of friendship are not often united, nor do the same people become friends for the sake of utility and of pleasure; for things that are only incidentally connected are not often coupled together.

Friendship being divided into these kinds, bad men will be friends for the sake of pleasure or of utility, being in this respect like each other, but good men will be friends for their own sake, i.e. in virtue of their goodness. These, then, are friends without qualification; the others are friends incidentally and through a resemblance to these.

[do action=”vfquote” quote=”A good motto is: Use friendliness but do not use your friends.” author=”Frank Crane”/]

Friendliness Shows on Your Face

During his days as president, Thomas Jefferson and a group of companions were traveling across the country on horseback. They came to a river which had left its banks because of a recent downpour. The swollen river had washed the bridge away. Each rider was forced to ford the river on horseback, fighting for his life against the rapid currents. The very real possibility of death threatened each rider, which caused a traveler who was not part of their group to step aside and watch. After several had plunged in and made it to the other side, the stranger asked President Jefferson if he would ferry him across the river. The president agreed without hesitation. The man climbed on, and shortly thereafter the two of them made it safely to the other side. As the stranger slid off the back of the saddle onto dry ground, one in the group asked him, “Tell me, why did you select the president to ask this favor of?” The man was shocked, admitting he had no idea it was the president who had helped him. “All I know,” he said, “Is that on some of your faces was written the answer ‘No,’ and on some of them was the answer ‘yes.’ His was a ‘Yes’ face.”
[do action=”vfauthor” author=”C. Swindol”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”The keynote of American civilization is a sort of warm-hearted vulgarity. The Americans have none of the irony of the English, none of their cool poise, none of their manner. But they do have friendliness. Where an Englishman would give you his card, an American would very likely give you his shirt.” author=”Raymond Chandler”/]

Science Confirms the Obvious: Men Mistake Female Friendliness for Sexual Interest

By Laura Allen

Sorry guys, but she’s probably just being nice to you.

Many women know that men sometimes mistake friendliness—say, smiling and eye contact—for sexual interest. Psychological research has long backed up their experience. A new study appearing in the April issue of the journal Psychological Science is no exception. It found that college-age heterosexual men who viewed images of women misidentified their body language and facial expressions as sexually suggestive 12 percent of the time. Women made the same mistake only 8.7 percent of the time.

These findings are nothing new, but when the researchers ran the second part of the experiment a curious pattern emerged. It turns out the men weren’t simply over-sexualizing their social environments, as is popularly thought, but they were interpreting facial expressions and body language wrong altogether.

If men are truly over-sexualizing, say the authors, then they would be extra-adept at reading a sexual innuendo as such. But what men in fact did was frequently under-sexualize women in that context—they read an expression that was intended to be a come-on as simply a friendly gesture.

The results could be useful for sexual-assault prevention programs. The thinking is that men who are at a higher risk of sexually coercing women would benefit from training on how to discern nonverbal cues more accurately. Mistakes could lead to feelings of frustration and rejection—potentially dangerous feelings for this subset of men.

[do action=”vfquote” quote=”The still lake without ripples is an image of our minds at ease, so full of unlimited friendliness for all the junk at the bottom of the lake that we don’t feel the need to churn up the waters just to avoid looking at what’s there.” author=”Nonny Pema Chodron”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Friendship is not something that you learn in school. But if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, then you really haven’t learned anything.” author=”Muhammed Ali”/]

How To Practice Friendliness

Here are some general pointers on how to practice friendliness. A quickie definition of ‘friendliness’ would be being nice to, and interested in, other people. The advice below talks about specific actions and overall dispositions (e.g., be positive about people, be interested in others) at the same time. The two are connected, but you don’t have a ton of control over your disposition towards other people. If you’re not in an outgoing, chatty mood at the moment, or if you’re more reserved in general, that’s just the way you are. You can’t flip a switch and feel warm and loving towards everyone instantly. However, you can still keep some of the specific actions in mind, and they may be all you actually need. For example, if you’re at work and you find you’re keeping to yourself that day, you can remind yourself that you should go join your coworkers and see what they’re up to. Also, the ideas here don’t suggest that you need to turn into a “phony”, or a needy suck up, or an over the top caricature of a ‘friendly’ person. They should be thought of more as background attitudes that subtlety influence how you approach interactions with other people. A serious macho guy and a more affable, breezy type could use the same basic concepts and still maintain their own personality styles. Be fairly low key about implementing the points below.

Start conversations with new people: If you’ve recently been introduced to someone, or you see some new people around, go up to them and start a conversation. Even saying hi, asking for their name, and going, “Cool, nice meeting you. I’ll see you around later hopefully” can be good.

Chat back to people who try to talk to you: Have you ever tried making pleasant conversation with someone you’ve run into, and they blew you off by giving one word responses and obviously looking like they don’t want to be spoken too? You probably walked away thinking they were pretty unfriendly, even if you intellectually knew they may have had a reason for being brusque. If someone is trying to chat with you, make an effort to give them something back in return.

Take time to talk to people you already know: If you see someone you know, then go over and see what’s going on with them. No real reason, just because. Catch up with what they’ve been up to lately, or just talk about whatever. Keep in touch with your friends. Stop and chat to your coworkers when they’re not too busy. Maintain your relationships and show you’re interested in the other people. If you see someone you know, don’t avoid them because you don’t feel like talking, or pretend not to notice them because you’re worried the conversation will be stilted. Go up to them and chit chat for a few minutes.

Invite people to do things with you/the group: Be fairly loose and generous with your invitations to people. Be the one to invite people out rather than waiting for them to come to you first. Don’t feel you have to know someone for a long time either. If you seem to get along with them then why not ask them to do something? If you like your new coworker or classmate, ask them if they want to grab a drink later, or come by your place to chill. If you run into a friend downtown, and neither of you is doing anything, ask if they want to grab a bite to eat, or if one of you is busy, suggest you get together later some time. Ask the new guy in your apartment if he wants to play pool down the street in an hour or so. Don’t feel you have to know someone for a pre-designated amount of time before you can hang out with them. If everyone at work is going out on Friday evening then ask anyone who may not know if they want to come along as well. If you’re meeting some friends later that night, ask your new acquaintance if he wants to join you. If you run into a buddy on the street for five seconds, tell him that you’re going to be a Dan’s place later if he wants to drop by. Of course, when you throw invitations out like this, they won’t always be accepted, but that’s alright.

Make an effort to bring new people into the fold and make them feel included: If you’re out with your longtime friends and there’s a new person there, take the time to talk to them a bit, rather than being more aloof and expecting them to make the effort of getting to know you. At the end of the night mention that everyone is seeing a certain concert in the next two weeks if they want to come. If there’s a new person at work, fill them in on the general goings on, and let them know everyone in your department usually grabs lunch together at 12:30. Mention that you and three other people usually play football on Thursday evenings if they want to join in.

Go to where the people are: If you’re at work and everyone is going out for lunch then go as well. If they all eat lunch at a certain time and place, then eat lunch then too. If you’re at a party and everyone is talking on the front porch, go join them. If you’re at a bar and everyone is hanging around on the couches downstairs, then you may as well be there too. Show you want to spend time with the people you came with. And once you’re there, join in whatever they’re doing. Don’t hang back and get lost in your head.

Spend more time with people: Spend time with people more often. Spend time with them longer. Spend time with more of them. If when you normally see your friends, you leave after a few hours, try spending all day with them. If you only see your friends once or twice a week, try seeing them three times. If you usually keep to yourself at work, and only talk to people on break, try spending time with your coworkers a little more during the workday. If you only see some acquaintances of yours under specific circumstances (e.g., in particular class, at a club), then try to see them outside of that situation. This is all assuming the people you know would be glad to spend more time with you, but if you prefer your own company like I often do, you probably underestimate the amount of time ‘regular’ people like to spend with each other. It can also be an interesting experience to resist your urge to go home, spend several more hours with people past your usual tolerance, and realize you actually kind of prefer it to being home alone with not enough to do.

Make nice little gestures towards other people: Buy someone a drink or a shot. Offer to pay for your friend’s meal if you’re grabbing some snacks at a pub. Hold the door for someone. Bring food or drinks to a party when it wasn’t expected that you do so. Do these things occasionally as a friendly gesture to someone you already like. Don’t do it as a way to buy people’s affection or make them obligated to you to return a favor at a later time. If you do these things too much you can get taken for granted, taken advantage of, look like you’re trying too hard to please everyone and make them like you, and put other people in an awkward situation because they feel uncomfortable taking so many free handouts.

Offer compliments to people: Don’t be afraid to be positive and encouraging towards other people. If someone is good at something then tell them so. If someone looks nice, or is well dressed, then say you think so. If you think someone is funny, or an interesting person, then let them know. Again, moderation is the key. The occasional genuine compliment is way better than a constant stream of try-hard ones.

Be reasonably polite: Whatever it means to the company you find yourself with, be fairly polite to everyone. If someone does something nice, or goes out of their way for you, then thank them. Ask nicely if you’re asking someone for something. Don’t be an unnecessarily abrasive, self-centered, and unappreciative. You don’t have to be excessive, or be stuffy and proper, but be considerate.

Make sure everyone is having a good time when you’re out: Without overdoing it and being a pest, put some energy into making sure everyone is having fun when you’re out in a group. If someone seems left out of the conversation, try to maneuver it to a topic they can contribute to. Or if someone seems like they want to say something, but they can’t get a word into a lively discussion, casually indicate to everyone that they want to talk. If you’re doing an activity that someone doesn’t seem comfortable with, try to coax them to join in (if it’s harmless and you know they’ll have fun once they start), or take some time to explain the basics to them if they aren’t familiar with how to do it. If someone seems bored, or annoyed, see if you can get them to have fun somehow.

Be interested in what other people have to say: This is one of those easier-said-than-done dispositions. Sometimes, for whatever reason, you’re not in the mood and you genuinely don’t care about what certain people have to say. Still, when you are interested in other people you’ll naturally be more friendly towards them. One thing I consistently find is that everyone has at least something interesting about them, it may just not be readily apparent. Like you may see a guy and assume he’s pretty generic, but it turns out he was a professional table tennis player for a few years, and that he’s worked as a 3D artist on some major movies. You never really know about these things.

Genuinely like other people: Also easier said than done, but if you have this attitude the other points will tend to flow out of it.

Overall, having a friendly disposition or attitude is great if you have it, but you can’t consistently create one on demand. You can keep certain actions in mind though to still be a friendly person. Just inviting people out more, remembering to chat to people when you see them around, or joining groups, even if nothing changes about you deep down, are still the behaviors of a sociable person. You’ll come across that way more, your social life will probably get a boost, and eventually, through a slightly convoluted process, your mind may come to follow your actions.

[do action=”vfquote” quote=”Women pay more attention to that friendliness vs. hostility quality, and are more concerned when it’s out of line than are men. Men are more interested in issues of control in their lives.” author=”Tim Smith”/]

BE FRIENDLY NOT GRUMPY–10 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT BITTERNESS

Lesson #1: Bitterness follows unwanted experiences—failures, disappointment, setbacks—that are perceived to be beyond one’s control. The quality of the negative emotions we feel when things don’t work out may depend on how we appraise the reasons for failure. If we think that we are responsible ourselves, we may experience regret and sadness. However, if we feel that it was not our fault, but other people were responsible for the problem, then we may be rather angry or bitter.

Lesson #2: Bitterness occurs when one believes, rightly or wrongly, that other people could have prevented the undesired outcome. Regret involves blaming oneself. Psychologists have shown that certain phenomena, such as regret, are not purely emotional. They involve the construction of specific thoughts that are associated with an alternate reality. Some may think, ‘If I had studied more in school, I would have a better job.’ The same may be true for bitterness, except that the scenarios involve other people: ‘If my colleague hadn’t interfered with my work, I would have finished the project on time.

Lesson #3: Bitterness, much like other negative emotions, could forecast physical disease. Health psychology has shown that negative emotions can influence stress responses and release the hormone cortisol. Chronically high levels of this hormone in turn can disrupt other bodily systems, including the immune system. If this happens, it can increase vulnerability of a person to developing a number of diseases.

Lesson #4: To regulate bitterness, individuals who failed should assess the likelihood of achieving the goal if they decide to try again. Outcome expectations are supposed to trigger either continued effort if optimistic or disengagement if pessimistic. If it’s possible to overcome the problem that brought about bitterness, like when a person doesn’t get promoted but can still reapply, persistence may pay off. Sometimes, it may not, as when a marriage is broken.

Lesson #5: If success is unlikely, individuals should move on to other pursuits. Goal disengagement can prevent repeated failure and associated negative emotions, and has been associated with lower cortisol levels, less systemic inflammation, and fewer reports of health problems. However, people also need to find new purposeful activities. They have to re-engage—find a different job or look for a different partner. Re-engagement in turn has been show to predict higher levels of positive emotions and purpose in life.

Lesson #6: The embittered should try to reconcile, take some responsibility, and get over the blame game. Bitterness is often experienced in the context of other people who are being blamed for the problem. In some instances, these people may have to be part of the solution, like when a spouse needs to help fix a troubled marriage. In such special case scenarios, people who are bitter may have to change their attributions of blame because otherwise they may run into new problems with the other person.

Lesson #7: Older adults generally experience more disappointments that could lead to bitterness. Opportunities for realizing a variety of goals are age-graded in our society. It’s difficult, for example, to become a doctor or play in the NFL at age 50. Self-regulation capacities become particularly important to deal with an increasing number of losses and protect emotional well-being. Those who blame others for not reaching their potential may have problems overcoming a bitterness experience. They have to adjust their aspirations and goals.

Lesson #8: Most older adults can easily disengage from impractical goals and commit to other meaningful pursuits. The capacity to adjust goals to constraints improves as people get older. It’s probably based on life experience. Over time, individuals who experience that they could adjust and nonetheless live happy lives, like a person who wanted to be a doctor but became a nurse instead, may get better with managing such situations. This capacity is particularly useful for maintaining happiness in old age, when many experience health-related declines that can constrain a number of goals.

Lesson #9: Older adults who can’t curb their bitterness may be compromising their health and happiness. Unfortunately, not every individual’s goal adjustment capacities increase with age. Individuals with difficulties in goal adjustment may become very vulnerable to major psychological problems. In our recently accepted work in Health Psychology, we show that older adults who cannot disengage from unattainable goals, but experience the onset of functional disability, show a steep increase in depressive symptoms over time.

Lesson #10: If bitterness persists, consult a mental health practitioner. Bitterness can be triggered by events that are associated with feelings of unfairness. If you are unable to deal with these feelings yourself, consider asking for professional help. Some clinicians have reported that bitterness can result from Post-Traumatic Embitterment Disorder (PTED)*, which may develop after severe negative life events and requires appropriate treatment.

FRIENDLINESS

[do action=”vfquote” quote=”What is a friend? Friends are people with whom you dare to be yourself. Your soul can be naked with them. They ask you to put on nothing, only to be what you are. They do not want you to be better or worse. When you are with them, you feel as a prisoner feels who has been declared innocent. You do not have to be on your guard. You can say what you think, as long as it is genuinely you. Friends understand those contradictions in your nature that lead others to misjudge you. With them you breathe freely. You can avow your little vanities and envies and hates and vicious sparks, your meannesses and absurdities, and in opening them up to friends, they are lost, dissolved on the white ocean of their loyalty. They understand. You do not have to be careful. You can abuse them, neglect them, tolerate them. Best of all, you can keep still with them. It makes no matter. They like you. They are like fire that purges to the bone. They understand. You can weep with them, sing with them, laugh with them, pray with them. Through it all–and underneath–they see, know, and love you. A friend? What is a friend? Just one, I repeat, with whom you dare to be yourself.” author=”C. Raymond Beran”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”By friendliness you mean the greatest love, the greatest usefulness, the most open communication, the noblest sufferings, the severest truth, the heartiest counsel, and the greatest union of minds of which brave men and women are capable.” author=”Jeremy Taylor”/]

Jackie Robinson

Jackie Robinson was the first black to play major league baseball. Breaking baseball’s color barrier, he faced jeering crowds in every stadium. While playing one day in his home stadium in Brooklyn, he committed an error. The fans began to ridicule him. He stood at second base, humiliated, while the fans jeered. Then, shortstop Pee Wee Reese came over and stood next to him. He put his arm around Jackie Robinson and faced the crowd. The fans grew quiet. Robinson later said that arm around his shoulder saved his career.

In his first seasons with the Brooklyn Dodgers, Jackie Robinson, the first black man to play Major League baseball, faced venom nearly everywhere he traveled–fastballs at his head, spikings on the bases, brutal epithets from the opposing dugouts and from the crowds. During one game in Boston, the taunts and racial slurs seemed to reach a peak. In the midst of this, another Dodger, a Southern white named Pee Wee Reese, called timeout. He walked from his position at shortstop toward Robinson at second base, put his arm around Robinson’s shoulder, and stood there with him for what seemed like a long time. The gesture spoke more eloquently than the words: This man is my friend.

[do action=”vfquote” quote=”I would rather have speeches that are true than those which contain merely nice distinctions. Just as I would rather have friends who are sincere than merely those who are handsome.” author=”Augustine”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”A friend is one who warns you.” author=”Old Jewish proverb”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Some people make enemies instead of friends because it is less trouble.” author=”E.C. McKenzie”/]

Statistics and Research (Friendliness)

[do action=”vfquote” quote=”Leonard Syme, a professor of epidemiology at the University of California at Berkeley, indicates the importance of social ties and social support systems in relationship to mortality and disease rates. He points to Japan as being number one in the world with respect to health and then discusses the close social, cultural, and traditional ties in that country as the reason. He believes that the more social ties, the better the health and the lower the death rate. Conversely, he indicates that the more isolated the person, the poorer the health and the higher the death rate. Social ties are good preventative medicine for physical problems and for mental-emotional-behavior problems.” author=”Martin & Diedre Bobgan”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Friends are like good health; you don’t realize what a gift they are until you lose them.” author=”Unknown”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Prosperity begets friends, adversity proves them.” author=”Unknown”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Friendship is a single soul dwelling in two bodies.” author=”Aristotle”/]

Around The Corner

by Henson Towne.

Around the corner I have a friend,

In this great city that has no end.

Yet days go by and weeks rush on,

And before I know it a year is gone,

And I never see my old friend’s face;

For life is a swift and terrible race.

He knows I like him just as well

As in the days when I rang his bell

And he rang mine. We were younger then–

And now we are busy, tired men–

Tired with playing a foolish game;

Tired with trying to make a name.

“Tomorrow,” I say, “I will call on Jim,

Just to show that I’m thinking of him.”

But tomorrow comes–and tomorrow goes;

And the distance between us grows and grows.

Around the corner!–yet miles away…

“Here’s a telegram, sir.”

“Jim died today.”

And that’s what we get–and deserve in the end–

Around the corner, a vanished friend.

Friendliness-Try Harder

If you have a friendly personality, you will always have the edge over someone who is dead-pan, boring, apathetic or indifferent. It doesn’t make a difference whether it is on the team, in class, in business, church, or just hanging out on the street, friendliness gets noticed. Don’t you always gravitate towards the person with the smiling, friendly, upbeat personality?

It’s true, you can’t always get along with everyone. But remember, wherever you go and whatever you do, people are just about the same. They are no more difficult to get along with on one team, in one class, one school, or one business than another. Everybody has their own problems, their own worries, their own interests and desires. We all taste the bitterness of life at one time or another.

If you try hard enough, you can make a friend of everyone. Even your enemy can be converted into a friend. In fact, you should try the hardest to convert enemies into friends because an enemy can do more to harm you than half dozen friends can do to help you. A wise man once said, “The only safe and sure way to destroy an enemy is to make him your friend.” And quite often in the process of trying to turn an enemy into a friend, you will come face to face with many of your own faults, thereby making it easier for you to make him like you.

The virtue of friendliness imposes some personal obligations on you. You cannot afford to lose your temper; you cannot be a gossiper or rumor-monger; you cannot pass the buck to others and evade your own responsibilities; you cannot overlook the little courtesies and kindnesses that lubricate your many daily contacts with both strangers and acquaintances. It takes hard work to be friendly, but the rewards are more than worth the effort.

[do action=”vfquote” quote=”A friend is a person who does his knocking before he enters instead of after he leaves.” author=”Unknown”/] [do action=”vfquote” quote=”Be slow in choosing a friend, slower in changing.” author=”B. Franklin”/]

Some Aristotelian Views on Friendliness

Since humans are social animals as Aristotle points out, it is of great importance what sort of relationship we have with others in society. Among the moral virtues considered by Aristotle is one to which he gives no name that deals with our relations with other people, but can be called by us friendliness or amiability. First, Aristotle considers two extremes or vices related to friendliness – obsequiousness and disagreeableness:

Some men seem to be obsequious in association with others and in interchange of words and deeds. They praise everything for the sake of pleasantness, and never contradict anyone, being of the opinion that unpleasantness ought to be avoided.

Others, on the contrary, always find fault, taking care to emphasize anything unpleasant. They are called perverse and quarrelsome, the disagreeable.

These two habits are both reprehensible in their extreme. Obviously the mean habit is laudable—that habit according to which a person approves what he should and also disapproves what he should.

Amiability or friendliness boils down to being agreeable with others when necessary and disagreeable when necessary. Aristotle further elaborates that the amiable man “aims to cause no offense and to give pleasure” but “will refuse to give pleasure and will choose to cause pain over what is dishonorable and harmful to himself or to the person doing an injury or a great wrong”. In other words, the friendly or amiable will usually be pleasant around others and seek their good unless an injustice or an evil performed by others calls him out to cause pain in the form of criticism or correction.

You can stand up for yourself without being unpleasant about it, which is a simple way of saying that we should be agreeable to others. But what is being agreeable to others other than friendship or a sign of friendship? For friends seek and will the good of one another, and, thus, sometimes it is necessary for a friend to cause another friend pain in the form of disagreement or criticism if that friend should falter in the pursuit of the good, but this is done out of the brotherly love for one another, that is friendship.

How to grow in friendliness

Virtue is the common thread that binds the tapestry of humanity. The easiest way to be friendly to others (especially those who you do not care for) is to see your own self in them. The secret is to look for and recognize the things that you have in common with others. Most of those things are our shared virtue and humanity. That guy or gal over there loves like you, fears like you, hopes like you, suffers like you, and laughs like you. Seeing your own self in others then gives new meaning to the phrase “ treat others like you would like to be treated”,…..that’s you over there!

Here are some more suggestions for ways to grow in friendliness:

We spend a lot of mental energy evaluating other people, judging their actions, considering their faults and merits, comparing ourselves to them, envying them, being bothered by them … the list goes on and on! It’s easy to start focusing on people’s faults, and to allow them to dominate our relationships with them. If you really sit back and think about it, in the big picture (with all the troubles in this world) the faults in those around us are usually just little annoyances or irritations that we have inflated to colossal proportions. What would happen if we spent less time worrying about the faults of others and more time working on improving our relationships with them? Try it, you will be amazed at the results.

Cultivate friendships and happiness towards those who are happier than we are. When we are fortunate enough to meet people who are consistently happy and content, we should seek out their friendship. We can learn from them and share in their joy. Often we experience envy when we meet others who are happier than we are. We can become so busy wishing that we were happy, that we lose the opportunity to share and learn from them. Sometimes we might be so disapproving or displeased with someone else’s happiness that we are determined – not only to not be a part of it – but to squelch it entirely. We should share other people’s happiness.

We can also grow in friendliness by having compassion for those who are unhappy. When we are suffering, we are so grateful to others who offer any support – even just a friendly smile or a knowing glance. Even if the person who is unhappy is not someone you know, or if it is someone you don’t like… their suffering is keenly felt, and finding the compassion to reach out to them can be a great act of friendliness. Also, when you are suffering yourself, thinking of others who are feeling the same way – and feeling compassion for them – can help lift you out of your dungeon of self-pity.

These suggestions for growth in friendliness call upon us to look for commonality and connection with others… rather than using envy, judgment, and hatred to distance ourselves from people. In the end, friendliness really does have a simple formula,…..judge less, love more.