Recently we have been experiencing a lot of kind friendliness. This is a term Nan uses when I am grumpy. She will say “I need your kind friendliness.” I know what she means. My grumpiness tends to translate into a more critical or negative behavior.
We have been dealing with quite a few new people as we set up a vacation cabin. What we have experienced is a lot of genuinely nice people. What makes them that way? Is it just good customer service training? I don’t think so. I believe it goes deeper than that.
The attitude might be a result of living in a less densely populated area. Or perhaps it might be the result of being in a community where people need to rely on each other much more because of fewer options. We have experienced this kind of attitude in rural Hawaii also. The people take time with each other. They are not in a hurry to move on. As our pastor would say, there is not the mindset of “chop, chop, get it done!” In Hawaii they pause to “talk story.”
I experience this “kind friendliness” at church all the time. I believe it is because we genuinely like our church community and we have intentionally cultivated this attitude towards each other. I am not sure we have slowed down to the extent that we have been enjoying at the cabin location, but it seems a marked contrast to the busy Los Angeles culture.
I wonder how many relationships lack kind friendliness? Yes, I am talking about the romantic types, but also other kinds as well. Sometimes I treat strangers better than I do family members. I smile more and am more patient with them. I might respond defensively that I am more “real” with people that are closer to me, but does that actually mean that I should treat them with less kindness or respect?
It is true that close relationships require us to develop more resiliency. The more intimate the relationship, the more necessary it will be to give and receive forgiveness readily, particularly for small offenses. But I want to draw as little on the goodwill that exists as I am able.
Things I can do to promote kind friendliness:
- Ask for what I want, not what I don’t want or like.
- Watch my tone. Do I sound harsh, critical or cold?
- Use the “sandwich” technique: affirmation – request – affirmation.
- Smile, make eye contact while communicating, assume positive intent from the other person.
Holiday seasons are particularly vulnerable to stress related behavior. It’s a great time to practice kind friendliness.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NLT) “So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.”