What’s Your Friendliness Score?

I’ve mentioned it before, but I moved around a lot as a kid. Most of the time it was in the same town, however, during my early childhood and primary education years, we moved from city to city a couple times. My Dad is a developer. Which means that when he builds something, its for profit only, not for sentimental reasons, which is why every home we ever lived in was inhabited by us for only a couple years.

It was hard.

I remember seeing all my friends who lived in the SAME house ALL their, what seemed to me, very long lives and here I was, only 8 years old and on our 5th home. I don’t know why this bothered me, but it did. Silly, really, since my parents always have gorgeous homes and every one we lived in was beautiful…but true to my character I cared less about beauty and more about sentiment. So it affected me at the time.

When I was in 3rd grade, we moved to Santa Rosa. I was so nervous. This was the 4th school I had gone to throughout my lifetime and I really worried I wouldn’t have any friends. And to be honest, I probably had reason to worry. Santa Rosa was {still is} a small town and most of the people at my new private school had been going to school together since Pre-K…their parents knew each other, their grandparents knew it each other, most of them went to the same church…it was a closed knit circle. I will never forget that the teacher allowed me to bring my cabbage patch doll to the first day of school, and I clutched the life out of that thing. I think I must have had a melt down on the second day when my parents informed I could not take it back. ha.

To make things even more interesting, my parents are not gigantic social bugs. My dad is an EXTREME introvert and would much rather be in his garage working on his cars than sitting and having coffee with the parents of his kids school mates. My mom is very social and made sure she tried to connect with other moms, but thanks to my dad’s shy behavior, they didn’t have people over much. Our next door neighbors were my parents closest friends…thankfully the dad was a commercial airline pilot like my dad once was so they had a lot in common and the mom and my mom hit it off. They were over at least once a week and vice a versa.

It took me some time and courage to have friends over. My mom quoted Proverbs 18:24 to me CONSTANTLY: “A man who has friends must show himself friendly”. I took it to heart…but still, I knew my home life was different and I was self conscious about it. We lived on a gigantic piece of property with a tennis court, swimming pool and three houses. Never mind that this property was my dad’s JOB…when people saw it they flipped and for some strange reason it made the kids make fun of me. They automatically assumed that we were in a separate category of life. {NEVER judge a book by its cover, you have NO IDEA what is really going on behind the scenes} Now that I am older I see it for it is but at the time I took it very personally and became awkward, insecure and shy about it. I was trying so hard to be NORMAL, and it was killing me.

We moved once again my senior year of high school to another small private school and this time I wasn’t about to let my insecurities get the best of me. I was determined that this was it…my last year of high school and my only chance to really give this friendliness thing a shot. So I plastered on a smile every day, invited people over, talked to everyone and loved on the popular and the unpopular.

This time it worked. I made friends. Lots of them.

I learned a REALLY good lesson. The core of my lesson was BE KIND TO OTHERS. ALWAYS. I can’t emphasis this enough. There is NO ONE who isn’t worthy of our kindness. I mean come on people…we’re Christians here. We of all people should be kind. Who cares if you have different social economic backgrounds, or life style differences or personal preferences, or denominational differences…it doesn’t matter! Friendliness is important. Period.

I recently went to the amazing Snap conference in Utah. I went by myself {yes, I’ve come a long way, and no I didn’t take my cabbage patch doll, ha}…and I’m not going to lie, I was nervous about it. My friend Ashley texted me a couple weeks before and told me to make sure we connected, and then my friend Shari and I emailed back and forth, so I knew I would have someone to hang out with {as it turns out we were stuck like glue, ha}, and my friend Heather was going to be there too…but I was still a bit worried. But the moment I stepped foot off the plane and on the air porter van, I struck up an instant friendship with another girl there. FRIENDLINESS WORKS. It was like that most of the trip.

You know, I read a lot of blogs, and many of the blogs I read were represented at the Snap Conference. I met several of the people who I have communicated with over the last couple years via blogging. Most of the people were AWESOME and so stinking friendly. It was like we had never NOT known each other. But want the truth?

A COUPLE OF THEM WERE PLAIN RUDE. Yup.

I was shocked at some of the girls who blog these amazing blogs and seem so sweet and sincere. Uh, no. They were NOT NICE, AT ALL. God forgive me for saying this, but it’s true. Why did I feel that way? BECAUSE THEY WEREN’T THE LEAST BIT FRIENDLY. And many of these people I would call “blog friends”. I hope and pray I was not like this to other people trying to met me. Dear God, I hope.

So here’s my point: BE REAL. Be who you really are. If you are brat in real life, you will be found out someday. If you are kind, make sure you portray that. Want to know one of my biggest fears? That I will meet some of you in public and you find that I’m not kind, friendly or sincere. It’s my biggest fear. And it should be. Because I need to be who I am at all times, not just on this blog.

We recently moved back to Santa Rosa. I haven’t lived here for almost 10 years. Things have changed, but not that much. It’s still a small town. My kids are in the same school I went to, and I’m not going to lie, it was hard that Jake didn’t go to school there last year. The moms all knew each other already and many go to church together. I was faced with the same insecurities I had as a 3rd grader…except this time I was smarter. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by this, we just smiled, and tried to be friendly. Most of the moms were friendly back. Yay! My son fit in just fine and we are having all the moms and kids over for an end of the year play date next week. I’m a little nervous about it {confession, sorry moms of Jake’s playmates if you’re reading this, haha}, as we haven’t really had anyone over this year and you worry, you know? What if they don’t like me, or my home, or the way my kids interact, or blah, blah. But you know, who cares! I’m excited to connect with these sweet moms. I hope I can be friendly, even if they aren’t {which they are, thank God}. And I hope to teach my kids the same thing.

So I ask you, what is your friendliness score? Are you kind to others? Do you love with all your heart? Do you make new people feel welcomed? Do you open your home to those who are around you? When you talk to people, are you REALLY interested in their life, or do you act bored? Take account of yourself and hold yourself accountable to the image you present either online or in public. Make sure it’s the same.¬†And remember TO BE A LIGHT. So many people are counting on you. Don’t let them down.

Let’s do this together friends…because I still have a long way to go. I pray we excel at this friendliness thing!! Big hugs. xoxo

3 thoughts on “What’s Your Friendliness Score?

  1. 1
    Stephanie says:

    Sweet Amy, it amazes me how in many ways we are alike. Now I did not come from a family of means at all, and I have moved over 40+ times in my almost 28yrs. I on the other hand came from the home of a single parent mom who tried her darn best to keep a roof on my head and clothes on my back. We lived in the same home, a home my mom owned until I was 8 and the first huge wave of forclosers hit California back in the early 90′s…from then on it was moving one place to another until the would raise the rent and my father would slack in his child support payments. I never lived in homes that I would even want my friends coming into, although my mom did raise me that you can be poor but you must be clean. We never had much, but it was always clean. I was in and out of Christian school depending on when Mom could actually afford it. It was embarrassing to have to tell the kids why I wasn’t going from one enrollment to the next. Then we tried public school and I was teased becaus of my long hair and skirts, so home schooling became my only option. This was ok, except I went from little friends to no friends. Fast forward to now, I have ‘friends’ but still find making them hard. I don’t have siblings and very little family so makes very little to talk about. And it seems fake is the new trend these days sadly :/ I have changed my focus on friends and just focus on my husband and my babies at least I know thy are real and I am comforted in that :) But Amy I love that you are so real, in person and in your blogs. What you see and read is the real deal. Always, always stay that way it’s an admirable trait in a world of fakes ! Much love, Stephanie

  2. 2
    caroline says:

    I strive daily to be “real” on my blog. It is a hard task… but I DO NOT EVER want to be one of “those” girls you speak of… because I know exactly what you’re talking about!! YOU, my friend, are kind and genuine just as you portray on your blog. I am so happy to have met you! :)

    xo,
    Caroline

  3. 3
    Amy says:

    If you ask most people who know me, they would say I am a pretty outgoing person. I am a “joiner” who loves to get involved in lots of different groups. I’m even President of our local Woman’s Club. But I am EXTREMELY shy! I’m guessing it sometimes comes off as “stuck up” but really I have a lot of social anxiety. I never know what to say or how to approach people in social situation. I’ve had to take a “fake it ’til you make it” approach to socializing. I think that is why I like blogging so much.

    I live right down the road from you in Petaluma. I hope we get to meet “in real life” sometime!!!

    -Amy

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