Virtue: Friendliness

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friendliness

What is friendliness?

Friendliness is being a good friend, through good times and bad. You take an interest in other people and make them feel welcomed. You share your belongings, your time and yourself. Friendliness is the best cure for loneliness*.

 

What do we feel when we practice it?

At the beginning it might feel “fake” or awkward. However, when you get the hang of it, it will start to feel really good to be friendly. You will see or perceive what consequence your friendliness has on other people, and will realize that even just trying to be friendly (without expecting anything in return) will fill you up with a sense of contentment with yourself. Hey! This friendly thing feel pretty good!

 

What do others feel when we practice it?

How do YOU feel when others are friendly towards you? How do you feel when you are new to a group (for example, the first day at school, work or practice) and someone comes up, tells you their name and starts talking to you in a friendly way? I personally feel very good. I bet you do too. When people feel that you are interested in them they will fell happy, good about themselves, interesting and cared for.

Think about applying this to someone you actually don’t like. How would they feel if you start being friendly toward them? Maybe at first they would be cautious and not believe it, but if you are sincere and persevere, they will realize you do mean it and will open up to you. This in time is inevitable.

 

What negative traits and feeling does it conquer?

  • Loneliness
  • Feeling inadequate
  • Conquering shyness

 

Personal story about practicing Friendliness:

As a child I was painfully shy. My face would turn so red they would call me tomato head. I remember when I was about 14 years old, I had had enough of this shyness thing and I decided that during that new school year I was going to pick my friends and would develop the courage to approach them. Well, I did. I remember there was a girl in school who was always laughing and having a great time. I wished so much I was her friend. Not that my current friends were boring, but I wanted to expand my group, I wanted to meet new people and learn from them. I though this new girl could teach me a thing or two about being outgoing. I got all my courage together and I went to talk to her during recess. Of course, as I expected, she was so friendly.  She was smiling, sweetly looking at me and she welcomed me without saying the words. Since that very same day we have been really close friends, best friends in those days. When I think of this story I think of two things: One, if I hadn’t mustered the courage to approach her with friendliness I would have missed out on the wonderful times we had together; and two, if she wouldn’t have been friendly with me, I would have felt so embarrassed and discouraged. But it all worked out because we were both friendly. I love that friend so much, we have so many great happy memories together. Thank you Friendliness!

 

Tips for putting Friendliness into action:

Speak first

  • Have courage and speak first.
  • Don’t think about how uncomfortable or awkward it may be.
  • Think about the effect of your interest will have on the other person, even if they are not immediately friendly back (they might be shy), still show interest.
  • Keep it short and sweet. Don’t push it.

Be present

  • Focus your attention on the other person.
  • Look people in the eye and use an audible voice.
  • Show them you are really here, genuinely interested, even if the situation allows only a few minutes.

Be friendly to people of all ages

Show friendliness to those who are older and younger than you. Older people often feel there is a general lack of interest in them, so being friendly to them will really brighten up their day.

Take the initiative

Don’t wait for the other person to friendly first. You do it. Remember that if you want to develop a friendship, you must often take the initiative to call and/or invite. Like anything well done, friendship takes care, dedication and effort.

Don’t be sarcastic

Use kind words. Using sarcasm will just wipe out the friendly feeling.

Elaborate

If someone else is being friendly with you, and asks a question, answer with a sentence, not just saying yes or no, or just using one word answers.

 

Friendliness Affirmation:

Suggestion for teenagers and grown-ups:

  • I connect easily with every person I meet.
  • I am friendly and cheerful.
  • Every day, I allow and welcome more friendship into my life.
  • I am a compassionate and supportive friend.
  • I’m a faithful friend.
  • Every day, my circle of friends get bigger and bigger.
  • I am thankful for all the friends I have.
  • I look forward to meeting new people.

Suggestion for kids:

  • I love to make new friends.
  • I feel good when I say hello to other kids.
  • I always have fun with friends.
  • I like being friendly.
  • I treat my friends with care and respect.

Quotes on Friendliness:

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

“Who finds a faithful friend, finds a treasure.”
Jewish Saying

“If you desire with all your heart friendship with every race on earth, your thought, spiritual and positive, will spread; it will become the desire of others, growing stronger and stronger, until it reaches the minds of all men.”
‘Abdu’l-Baha

“Friendship is the only cure for hatred, the only guarantee of peace.”
Buddha

“Live amongst people in such a manner that if you die they weep over you and if you are alive they crave for your company (friendship).”
Imam Ali

“A friend is devoted at all times.”
Proverbs 17:17

 

Books:

How Do Dinosaurs Play with Their Friends?

 

How to Be a Friend: A Guide to Making Friends and Keeping Them

 

Owen & Mzee: The True Story of a Remarkable Friendship

 

Speak Up and Get Along!: Learn the Mighty Might, Thought Chop, and More Tools to Make Friends, Stop Teasing, and Feel Good About Yourself

 

How to Make & Keep Friends: Tips for Kids to Overcome 50 Common Social Challenges

 

The Family Virtues Guide: Simple Ways to Bring Out the Best in Our Children and Ourselves

 

Building Moral Intelligence: The Seven Essential Virtues that Teach Kids to Do the Right Thing

 

What Do You Stand For? For Kids: A Guide to Building Character

 

 

Loving Plan of Action

 

Talk to your child about friendliness and friendship. Ask her questions and tell her a few of your own stories about friendship, specially of when you where her age.

 

Sweet Idea

 

If your child has a hard time making friends or being friendly in general, do some role playing with him. Make up situations in which he can make new friends and show him a few options on how to do it, and what mindset he needs to have to be successful.

Sources:

*Kavelin Popov, Linda, Dan Popov, and John Kavelin. “Defining the Virtues.” The Virtues Project. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Aug. 2012. <http://www.virtuesproject.com/virtuesdef.html#>.

Soulful Mamahood’s Short Articles about Virtues

Virtues are good and desirable qualities or traits that we develop throughout our life. Virtues are the fruits that we manifest  after careful and constant care of the spiritual seeds that we are born with. Virtues, like honesty, courage and perseverance,  are the highest manifestations of our soul and are the greatest assets we can acquire in life. They open up opportunities for us, they bring us happiness and wellbeing. The more we use them, the stronger they become. They cause our character to find oneness with our own soul and with our Divine Source.

Is it easy to acquire virtues? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. However,  that’s okay because the end result will always be a good one. All we need to do is NOT GIVE UP! For example if we are working to become more FRIENDLY, and it’s really hard for us to be friendly to people we really do not like, if we keep trying, in the most genuine way, even though it might be very difficult, eventually we will be generally friendly, regardless of who the recipient of our virtue is. If we are not giving the practice of this virtue all of our intention, we might think “oh, I just can’t do it… so and so is just a terrible person and I just can’t be friendly with him!” This might seem like a good justification to give up, or to make the recipients of the virtue exclusively those we like, and this might fly for a while, but we know, deep inside that this in no way confirms any illusion that this cannot be done. It CAN be done. We CAN be friendly with those we do not like.

Through these short articles, I intend to open up the door for you to further investigate each and every one of the spiritual virtues, and to help us, and our children, stay in the upward spiral of inner development.

The information you find here is based on my personal experience and opinion, and supported by the writings of brilliant and dedicated authors to whom I make direct reference when their work is included.

Remember this: the more we use these virtues, the stronger they become.

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Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing! I love this blog so much :) Would love to be connected!

  2. Hi Yumei, thank YOU for your sweet comment and for stopping by. Let’s connect! :)

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