We have now looked at Trustworthy, Loyal and Helpful. Remember we have to be these things, not just check them off. It has to come from a genuine love for people, and the love of causes we endorse. How does Friendliness fit into this then? Being a friend involves mutual vulnerability. You know your friends’ faults and shortcomings, and they know yours. You know your friends’ strengths and abilities, and they know yours. To have friends, you have to be a friend. Being friendly, then, is inviting the people you meet to get to know you better and your getting to know them better as well. This does not mean sharing your life’s story with everyone you stand next to in the Walmart line. It means you ask strategic questions: Do you live in the area? How long? Do you have family here? What do you do? Basically you are showing an interest in them. What is most everyone’s favorite topic to talk about? Themselves of course!
Why is it important for someone to be friendly when they’re looking at a leadership position? If you are a manager of a large corporation, and you are friendly with the employees, doesn’t your effectiveness go down? There is no evidence to support that assumption. Does it improve your effectiveness? It might. Of the people that leave their jobs voluntarily–the ones that quit, most cite conflicts with the boss as the primary incentive to give up their position and security and move to another job. So it seems that employees take unfriendliness or apathy on the part of management as a personal affront. Friendliness would be a step in lower turn over rates in the market place. How would it affect voluntary organizations? It helps to bring others in. If the beliefs or causes are similar to the newcomer’s own, the deciding factor would be how welcome they feel in the company of the other members. If the members are not as friendly, the beliefs or causes would have to exactly match the newcomer’s own. The probability of that happening would be much lower.
One of the things most misconstrued about friendliness is social interaction. Being friendly does not entail weekly parties. What it means is that people will feel comfortable with each other. As you learn more and more about each other, it becomes clear that it doesn’t matter what happens in their life or yours, you remain friends. Let’s face it. It is much easier to trust someone and be loyal to someone that treats you well (helpful) and is friendly. The focus is on the other person again, not on yourself. Are we beginning to see a trend here? mmmmmmmm Maybe…
All the commandments, all the laws, all the manners you learn growing up can fit into 2 main ideas: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, Love your neighbor as yourself. You cannot act on these qualities if you don’t have these qualities. No one can act that well! Love is hard work. It isn’t chemistry. It isn’t that warm fuzzy feeling when you’re near someone. You can’t just love the people that are nice to you, the ones that are generous to you, the ones that like you. Anyone can do that. You have to love people in general–warts and all. You have to be truthful with everyone, loyal to your ideals and your philosophy and those people and organizations that embody those qualities, helpful to everyone, and friendly to everyone. It is difficult to be loyal to everyone since they may have a different set of ideals or philosophy, but you must not disparage them. Feel free to convert them to your point of view, but use logic and emotion and evidence instead of bombastic attacks and disrespectful behavior. Friendliness invites change, fear and threats coerce change and the change only lasts as long as the fear and the threats continue. Friendliness promotes community effort, a sense of team, a sense of belonging. It is vital to the basic needs of people.
If you read the New Testament in the Bible, you can watch how Jesus goes through several stages. At first, he invites, he’s very very friendly. He tells things very plainly to the few that are following him. As he gets more well known, he starts sensing dissension among the religious leaders and starts being more obtuse in his teaching, using more parables. He remains friendly to the great mobs of people that follow him, healing (helping) and teaching them. When he senses that the pot is ready to boil, he starts teaching the hard lessons and the mobs get smaller, and the disciples ask more questions. He knows the plan, and if he remains friendly to the chief priests and the religious leaders, (whose minds have now been fixed on killing him) the rest of the plan will not come into place according to the schedule. He now openly attacks the religious leaders and exposes their faulty philosophy, comparing what they say and do to what is proscribed by the books of Moses. They now have a choice: Let him continue to attack their beliefs and their traditions or get rid of him. These are not the only choices. They could change their practices and have a revival of the books and teachings of Moses, David, Solomon, Joshua etc. But they choose to eliminate the critic. And that was the plan that Jesus was part of. It wasn’t that He didn’t love the Chief Priests, the Sadducees, the Pharisees, or the religious leaders, it was that He loved them enough to die for them, and He couldn’t die if they didn’t kill Him.
We are not planning on dying for anyone, since that has already been accomplished. Therefore, we should be friendly to everyone. Next? Courtesy!
Read John, I Corinthians and II Corinthians, Maxwell’s “How to be a Person of Influence”