As mentioned in my post a few weeks ago, connections with life-giving people serve an important role in maintaining healthy personal energy. While some develop relationships with ease, others struggle to develop or maintain them. The difference might seem inborn, but the factors of a friend-attracting personality can actually be cultivated. If you’d like to amply your positive interactions with others, here are a few simple tips.
- Smile. Seems simple, but a smile has more power to bridge the gap with strangers than most people realize. Natural expressions when we’re tired or distracted tend to reflect a negative mood. The brain initially interprets any expression other than a smile as belying potential dangers, and unconsciously triggers avoidant attitudes. So, if you don’t make a point of smiling at others, they will feel reluctant to engage with you even if they don’t know why.
- Joke. Don’t underestimate the connective power of humor. Family and friends who laugh and play together with grow closer. Laughter has a medicinal effect upon the brain and body, so offering it to others will bless them. People who enjoy and benefit from your company will naturally tend to seek it more often. Avoid excessive sarcasm, jokes at others’ expense, or couching repetitive self-deprecation in humor. Negative forms of humor can make others feel less comfortable around you.
- Show Compassion. Friendable people demonstrate concern for others. Ask questions to show you’re interested in their experiences, preferences, and lifestyles. Be sincere when you ask how someone’s doing today by observing their expressions. If they’re not doing so well, respond to their needs. Offer help, prayer, or a hug.
- Watch your Language (spoken and unspoken). Effective communication means you’re sending messages in a way others will receive them as you intended. Certain elements can shut others out, like vulgarity or complex vocabulary. Less obvious disconnects occur in non-verbal language. Open posture expresses a non-threatening, non-defensive stance and invites friendly interactions. Leaning in slightly demonstrates interest and concern when listening. Voice tone also makes a difference. Too loud or brash, and the receiver can experience a subconscious threat. Too quiet, and listeners feel you don’t value the conversation with them enough to speak up. A confident, but even voice tone serves to bless the ears of those around you and boost your friendability.
- Share. Find common ground with others and share your heart. Talk about the weather, current conditions in the room, favorite upcoming events. Join groups of like-minded people to study a subject or support a worthy cause. Sharing time and emotions starts off with light and fun discussions. It’s normal to start off in the shallows, but great friendships can wade deeper as you spend quality time together.
How friend-able are you? Share in the comments below which of the above factors you can work on this week to improve your friend-ability factor. I look forward to hearing from you!