Being Friendly is a Sign of Healthy Emotional Attunement
I have learned more recently in my life that being friendly with folks makes me feel better. When I was younger 20s and 30s I didn't really think too much about being friendly, I just went about my own business. Actually, I was very quiet, some folks thought I was shy, but I just didn't feel I had anything to say.
I realize now that I put a lot of people off because I seemed unapproachable. I'm sure seemed really uptight. I know now that I lost a lot of opportunities because of my behavior. It wasn't that I didn't want to be liked, or that I didn't like anyone. I was too cool to risk being a fool.
Truth is I acted the fool by trying not to be a fool. Now, I say hi to the person across the counter at the coffee shop and I make a point of getting to know the people I see on a regular basis, like at the grocery store, the gas station, or anywhere that I frequent.
Sometimes I get perks for these relationships like free coffee, or discounts, but the real benefit is how I feel about who I am now. People say hi to me now, before I say anything sometimes. That never happened before.
Have you ever felt like life was not working for you?
It made me think about friendliness, and how it affects our lives. I also notice that many, if not a majority, of people that I see out and about a not very friendly. I literally feel bad for them, because they don't realize what they're missing.
Numerous studies have shown that positive interaction with other human being is good for the health of your heart, it slows the aging process, and it promotes general happiness in life. The problem with friendly is it can't be faked. Most people can see through phony niceties and it might be worse than saying nothing at all.
True friendliness stems from good emotional attunement. Emotional attunement is learned in early childhood. One who is emotionally attuned deals well with stress, is aware of how the people around him/her are feeling, they express their own feelings appropriately, they form good healthy long lasting intimate relationships, their have clear personal boundaries, and they are usually successful in their endeavors.
Amazon has a Plethora of Books on the Subject of Emotional Attunement
If you think you could be more friendly and you feel like you can't do it then it is probable that you are emotionally out of attunement. If you're depressed and lonely, struggling with your relationships, feeling like you're not doing well in life, or even if you just don't feel happy then you are emotionally out of attunement.
Everybody goes through times when life is hard. Any kind of change will cause stress, and there is always those grieving periods when we lose something or someone close to us. No one should ever expect life to be easy and smooth. That would be boring and uneventful. But there are ways of coping with these bumps in the road of life that are healthy and rewarding.
This does not mean that these people don't get upset or yell or get angry. What it means is that they recognize their feelings and they take full responsibility for them. They also realize that their behavior has a deep impact on everyone who is witness to these emotional responses. They will never blame someone else for their emotional reactions.
Knowing oneself is one of the most difficult processes in human existence. We have so many stories that we've been told and chosen to believe about ourselves. Or we have created stories to rationalize certain things about ourselves. I overeat because... I drink too much because... I smoke because... I get angry when... I'm leaving my wife because... I can't stand my son because... None of these statements is a statement that an emotionally attuned and healthy person would say.
This is when we have the opportunity to see ourselves, when we notice that we are defending our position for some reason and trying to make the world behave the way we want it to. We all do it to some extent, no one is perfect, but we can work toward emotional attunement by literally catching ourselves in our own stories.
Someone who is trained to help us see our dysfunction, which is what 'believing our own stories' is after all, can really be a big help in this endeavor. This is what therapy is in a nut shell. But awareness is the first step in the journey toward healthy emotional attunement.