Friendly people are down to earth, approachable and welcoming. When you are friendly, you make other people feel good about themselves and you also feel more confident in yourself. Friendliness is a win-win no matter how you look at it -- yet many people don't take the time, or feel too shy or fearful, to be friendly and positive in their interactions with others. Being friendly doesn't have to mean changing who you are or "sucking up" -- but rather doing little things to make others comfortable.
Observe Friendliness in Others
If you are not naturally friendly, you might feel awkward when you first try to be more open and welcoming with others. One way to warm up to being friendly is to think of an outgoing person you know and learn to mimic her postures, words and behaviors. For example, neuropsychologist Rick Hanson, in the "Psychology Today" article "Be Friendly," suggests copying movements, gestures and facial expressions of a friendly person you know. Your outgoing friend might lean forward, offer a smile and introduce herself to new people she meets.
Be Kind to Strangers
An easy way to be friendly is to offer a smile or conversation with people you might normally ignore, Hanson says. When you step into an elevator at the mall, smile at the people inside and say, "Wow, it's really crowded in here!" or when you pay for your veggie sub at the food court, make eye contact with the cashier and offer a comment about the weather. Every day there are opportunities to be friendly with strangers -- don't pass up the chance to be warm and make others comfortable.
Meeting new people can be awkward -- but not if you make a point of being friendly. In the article "How to Be More Friendly and Social," author Chris MacLeod, who has worked as a counselor, notes that making new people you meet feel included forms a large part of being friendly. Say hi, introduce yourself and start a conversation, MacLeod says. If someone new tries to chat with you, make an effort to contribute to the conversation instead of giving one-word answers. In a group setting, look out for the person who doesn't seem to know anyone and make a point to include her in the group.
Stay in Touch
Sometimes we neglect to be friendly with the people we know the best -- our close friends and family. Whether you had a falling out with a family member or just haven't seen a friend in a long time, take the opportunity to reach out with a friendly gesture, Hanson says. Send a warm email to let your mother know that you are thinking about her, or text your sister to see what she has been up to. It can be easy to take those closest to you for granted -- which means offering friendliness and warmth is that much more important.
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