One thing everybody in the world wants and needs is friendliness. William E. Holler

It costs nothing and yet is so invaluable that we are often left wondering why people can’t be more friendly and spread good cheer. In fact if you look around there is an acute need for friendlier people  for you will see plenty of glum faces, worried expressions and harried people ambling around with shoulders drooping  and a defeatist attitude written all over them.  Notice also the sudden spring in their steps of people when someone comes along who is enthusiastic, sports a big smile and goes around back slapping one and all enthusiastically. Man’s best friend, dogs, have perfected the art of being friendly and anyone who owns a dog will swear that a dog can lift your spirits, soothe your nerves and recharge your batteries without uttering a word or more correctly a bark. What is their secret?

Friendliness is something each of us can learn from a dog.  A dog has no particular expectations except the warmth of its owner; it never carries any of the past hurts in its mind and so is unhibited in its responses; it has no mental blocks and warms up to anyone and everyone; it understands moods and can sensitively respond appropriately; it expresses itself freely and generously by wagging its tail, jumping around and cozying up to its masters. Unfortunately we human beings have too many expectations from our fellow human beings. We carry our burdens in our minds and use that as a convenient excuse to behave in an aloof manner. We carry our baggage of social status, caste, creed, nationality and the like in choosing even our response to friendly overtures by others. We are constrained by our inhibitions and upbringing in giving measured responses to our innermost feelings and thereby erect an unseen barrier in both our behavior and responses which lack the spontaneity to seem free and friendly.

Being friendly is the best gift that you can give yourself. Try smiling at someone and giving them a hearty greeting and chances are that they will respond equally enthusiastically. Such a response more than makes up for any worries or cares that have being bothering you. A friendly approach helps you widen your circle of influence and helps you network effectively. With a friendly attitude you can banish negativity, inject enthusiasm and grasp success in relationships and life. By being friendly, we help others view us as approachable, stimulate dialogue and interaction and initiate the possibility of having a long lasting and enduring relationship. Similarly friendliness injects vitality into the environment by bolstering those around; kick starts new associations, ignites communication and spreads the fragrance of joy, peace and happiness all around.

Friendliness is as simple as giving and accepting a smile, encouraging with a word of praise, appreciation or a pat on the back, empathizing with someone in trouble, soothing the pain of others by our simple presence, comforting those in agony and being there for those in despair. All it takes is some time, our involvement and a very large heart and mind. Real friendliness is reaching out!

Remember: “A good motto is: Use friendliness but do not use your friends.”  Frank Crane

Try this:

  1. Over the next week starting today try to be friendly / express your friendliness to at least 3 people who can never repay you in any way. E.g Smile at the bus conductor or appreciate the good work done by the watchman etc.
  2. List out the times when you are least friendly and most friendly. Examine the possible reasons for these drastic mood swings. Be aware of the times others have been friendly to you and your response to their friendly overtures. Can you reciprocate similarly to others who you are not so comfortable with?

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