Thursday, February 07, 2013

What Does "Being Friendly" Mean?

My teenage daughter has been having great days at school recently. While talking about it, I asked her what made the days so great. She said that it was because everyone was "friendly." So what did that mean? It meant that everyone was in a good mood and no one was talking badly about others. Cheerfulness and kindness were her definitions of friendliness. I don't think that's universal.

To me, it's all about shared experiences and shared interests. It doesn't have to be shared passions, but you've got to be able to at least appreciate mine and I have to appreciate yours. For example, my wife will sit and watch EPL soccer with me, she knows what's going on and enjoys the games. She wouldn't be watching it if it weren't for me, but she does it with me. I watch Project Runway with her and have learned a lot about the fashion industry from it. We sit and discuss the designs and challenges as we watch even though I would never watch it without her.

I love it when people can share this with me.

The problem is that if people have different definitions of "friendly," you can end up thinking you're being friendly, but missing the mark by a wide margin. Someone who is cheerful, but can't appreciate my passions is at best indifferent to me. By the same token, if my daughter and I both enjoy watching Jeopardy, but I talk about people behind their backs, I'm not very "friendly" to her.

What's your definition?*

* - Posts that end with questions almost never seem to generate a response on this blog. It's an act of pure optimism to try it yet again. :-)


tim eisele said...

Well, I think that you need both pieces for things to be considered friendly. Appreciating each other's interests while being kind of nasty in your interactions isn't friendly, and being pleasant while ignoring what the other person is actually doing isn't very friendly either.

Jedi Master Ivyan said...

Behaving in a friendly manner is something like your daughter was indicating: harmony. For me, there should be something additional like an attempt to connect or find common ground.

I think you are talking about behaving like a friend. This is a step farther down the road. It entails spending time together, sharing interests, and being supportive in hard times.

And I think from you post, I could guess that your love language is "quality time" (Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman).

Foxfier said...

"Willing and able to talk without the point being gain, their own satisfaction or Making A Statement."

Some folks can't not talk, no matter how much someone doesn't want to; some radiate "I will stab you in the back" and some seem to want to be heard, not talk.