People. All kinds of people: Lonely people. Displaced people. Beautiful people. But there’s one group that I think we should hear more of: friendly people. We too easily overlook the impact of friendliness. A man waves you to go in front of him in a line of traffic. You pass strangers on a sidewalk and they smile. You receive a compliment on how you look. Someone sitting at the table next to you at Barnes & Noble strikes up a conversation. Small incidents that won’t alter the course of our existence, but they make life more pleasant and cost us NOTHING.
Friendly people aren’t necessarily church people. Christians have no corner on the market when it comes to friendliness. There is no 11th Commandment that says Thou shalt be friendly but verses that exhort us to be kind and compassionate flood the Scriptures. And the greatest commandment of all is to love. I think of friendliness as a kind of second cousin to love. So maybe it’s to our discredit that believers aren’t distinctly known more for being friendly.
Of course I’m not talking about the kind of “fake friendly” that occurs so commonly. The have a nice day from the cashier who doesn’t even make eye contact. The girl who smiles during your conversation but whose eyes dart around the room. The forced grins of salesmen whose only motivation is to make a buck.
No one is drawn to that kind of “friendliness.” But people are drawn to the real thing. True friendliness, even if momentarily, distracts us from the stress of life. It makes a brief connection and for some folks, a brief connection may be all they experience in a day. We all have a yearning to live a significant life, to make a difference. Typically we think in terms of doing something “big.” But why not nurture a culture of kindness by practicing friendliness on the smallest level? Like with a smile…
My grandpa used to tell me God must have created us to smile because it takes a lot more muscles to frown than to smile. Maybe if we simply smiled more, we really could make the world a better place. Maybe the old song was spot on…
When you’re smiling, when you’re smiling, the whole world smiles with you.
Why don’t you try it?