Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Importance of Being Friendly

The Importance of Being Friendly

By Susan Leigh

Modern life is often stressed, busy, lived at a fast time. Often there can seem to be no time available for the niceties of life, the pleasantries and the interested follow-up conversations once the essential matters have been dealt with. But those subsequent moments that are taken to smile, chat, and enquire after someone's health, holiday, cat or mother are often the moments that stay with the other person long after any business has been completed.

Being friendly builds relationships. It enhances any personal connection and turns an acquaintance or a colleague into something more meaningful. Many business people talk of networking. They spend hours attending breakfast, lunch and evening meetings to meet, greet and build relationships with other professionals for the purpose of improving future contacts. All the networking in the world will not help build a relationship of any lasting depth if there is no friendliness there.

Newly single people, newcomers to an area, people attending a place for the first time in the hope of making new friendships and meeting like-minded people all have to learn the value of making pleasant small talk and being interested and friendly with other people.

Being friendly adds a positive dimension to relationships.

- It helps ease stress in tense situations. When there is a friendly atmosphere people relax and are more able to be themselves. People are less fearful or tense if they feel that people around them are friendly.

- It gets the best out of everyone. Whether playing a game or involved in a piece of work, if the atmosphere is unfriendly then people become nervous and stressed, fearful of making a mistake or of doing something wrong. A friendly atmosphere encourages people to have a go and be less self-conscious about the outcome.

- Better contacts are made for the future. Relationships develop, people enjoy each other's company and try harder to support and help each other when they feel friendly towards each other. People will often bend over backwards when they like someone. They enjoy helping a friendly person.

- It improves confidence. People are happier to mix with others, take more chances, be more motivated when they feel friendly towards each other. Everyone benefits. Nervous people improve in confidence and find the courage to have a go, confident people often become more generous and supportive of others. People learn more about each other and it often be surprising to discover how much relationships can improve.

- People are often happier to make more of an effort, work longer hours, be more resourceful when the atmosphere is friendly. Appreciation, recognition and thanks often come with a friendly environment. People are more inclined to do their best work and be more enthusiastic. Job satisfaction increases as a result. A by-product is that sick leave and clock-watching is often reduced.

- Complaints are often more speedily resolved if the complainant has a friendly manner. Think of an angry, irate customer, shouting and swearing, perhaps threatening in manner. They may well get results, but better results come from calmly explaining the problem and being friendly towards the person who is trying to resolve the matter. They are more likely to put themselves out and think of ways around the problem when they are treated in a friendly manner.

It seems hard to imagine that so much good can come from such little effort, but being friendly improves every area of our life.

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