How to Become Known as a Friendly Person

"Each of you should look not only to your own interests,
but also to the interests of others."
Philippians 2:5

1. Friendliness takes getting outside of what makes me feel comfortable and doing what makes others feel liked. It's not about me; it's about you. When someone says, "But talking to someone I don't know well makes me feel uncomfortable," they are accidentally admitting that they are still focused on themselves. It says, "I am more concerned with my need to feel comfortable than I am interested in the other person." Self-consciousness is just that, occupation with self. Jesus said, "And He said to all, "If any one is desirous of following me, let him ignore self and take up his cross day by day, and so be my follower" (Luke 9:23 Weymouth).

2. Speak first. Do not wait for the other person to speak first. Friendly people are known for being the first to speak. It's practically the definition of friendliness.

3. Act friendly whether you feel sincere doing it or not. It is not insincere just because we aren't used to doing it. It might feel fake or "hoaky" at first because we are learning a new skill. It's like learning how to play a new sport or how to sing; at first it feels awkward and "not me." But as we learn the skill, it becomes second nature.

4. Speak audibly. Ever notice how the guy who is the life of the party talks so loud? One doesn't have to be loud or the life of the party, but one does need to be heard. If they don't hear you speaking to them, as far as they are concerned, you haven't spoken to them. Don't sound "mousey," speak up.

5. Speak in complete sentences. When someone says something to you, say something back. One word answers, like yes or no, kill a conversation. They are a signal, not that you don't know what to say, but that you don't want to talk. When answering a question, add an explanatory sentence or two. "Yes, we went. It was really good. The best part was when that tall blonde guy said. . . "

6. When you aren't sure what to say, ask questions. What have you been doing today? What is that you are holding? Ask a question and listen.

7. Be a good listener. Instead of planning what you are going to say next, listen to what the other person is saying. Ask questions about what is said to gain a better understanding. When the Bible says, "Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep" (Romans 12:15), it is saying, take a genuine interest in the other person's feelings.

8. Always help people save face. Embarrass me or save me from embarrassment either way I will remember. Some kinds of teasing have a way of putting others down. Just because it is they know it is true doesn't make it OK. Generally, the more truth there is in it, the more it stings. Sarcasm communicates the idea that, "I am superior to you." People don't mind having friends who are smarter, but they don't want friends who make them feel stupid. When someone is known to be smart, people know it and are sensitive to any sign that the person thinks he or she "is better than us." Therefore, the smarter people are, the further they should stay away from sarcasm. Instead, when someone slips and says something silly that makes others laugh, come to their rescue. "Well, it is true that. . ."

9. Don't put yourself down. Sometimes we struggle with feelings of inadequacy. Some people will put themselves down just to get it said and over with before someone else says it. Sometimes, people are smart, but don't want others to feel that they think they are better than others. They may put themselves down in an attempt to make others perceive them as humble. Self- put downs will accomplish neither goal. The truth is, we all have weaknesses and feelings of inadequacy. However, when we put ourselves down, it makes others feel awkward. People don't know what to say. What could they say? If the self-put down really is a weakness, then they can't tell you it isn't true. If it isn't really a weakness, then do you want them to call you a liar? It signals that I am insecure and would make the high maintenance kind of friend who has to be reassured all the time.

10. Carry your end of the load. Take the initiative. Call her. Invite her. People don't want to have to do all the "care taking" in a friendship. Having friends is about being a friend. This requires a some time, thought, and effort.

11. If you are a young person, be friendly to adults, too. If one speaks to you, don't just look at them as if they were an alien life form, speak back. One way adults measure maturity is by your ability to carry on a brief conversation with them. When an adult speaks to you, they are signaling that they view you as a real person. When you can carry on a competent conversation, they respect you for it. They think, "What a sharp kid; he knows how to conduct himself in the adult world." Failure to converse says, "No, I just look like I'm growing up." So, say, "Hi, Mr. Smith. How are you today?" If he asks how school is going, reply with some information, "Good. I've got a full load this year and I'm staying busy, but it's been a good year." One would do well to remember that those same adults may be needed one day as a reference for a resume or may even be the persons who will interview you for a job.

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