According to Merriam Webster, the first definition of Friendly is “showing kindly interest and goodwill.” What is implied is toward others. Being friendly requires interaction with others — and it often (but not always) involves initiating that interaction. If you are not being friendly, you are withdrawn into yourself and your own thoughts — perhaps to the point that you are not aware of the presence of others around you. In order to build this character strength, one must first recognize the interconnectedness between people, and be mindful to pay attention to the surroundings. It’s also important to hold others in positive regard; it’s impossible to be simultaneously wary and genuinely friendly.
This week’s Challenge: This week, I will strive to make connections by making eye contact, smiling, and saying, “Hello” to at least one person a day whom I don’t know well.
Avoiding being Flippant (overuse): If you overuse being friendly, you are no longer authentic and you come off as flippant or fawning. At that point, being friendly is no longer about making a connection and is more about something you expect to receive in return. If you notice you may be overusing friendliness, simply try to ease off being friendly by 5% and observe what impact that has on you and those around you.
Commendable Trait: Friendly
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