by Ernest Liu
about the author

  • Random Sniplets
  • The Art of Being Less Friendly

    One Friday night, I visited a fellowship in SoCal. I was taking the weekend to hang out with a bunch of friends at Disneyland, and decided to attend a fellowship I once previously enjoyed. I met a lot of cool people that night, including this one girl…

    Okay, wait. Hold on. No.

    I am not implying that I had a thing for her. And I didn’t. But she seemed very friendly and extroverted, so when she mentioned that she had a Disneyland pass, I invited her to come join us the following day. After all, we had seven people in our group, the worst number for ride distribution. In my mind, I loved the logistical outcome of an additional park goer, and I’d get to hang out with a new friend!

    But for the rest of the night, I thought to myself… “I better not engage in conversation with her, or even look at her, or I’ll accidentally lead her on.” So I proceeded with caution. And everything went pretty well. We ended up in a group together one last time before I left, and as I made my way to the car, I reminded her that she was welcome to join. She said she’d think about it. She was probably thinking, “Nnnnnnnope.”

    In the car, I turned to my friend Laurence and asked, “Do you think Mary (or whatever her name was) thinks I was coming on to her?” He answered with a pretty quick “No.” After he affirmed that he knew I was just being friendly, he later changed his mind and said, “Okay, maybe she thought something was up after you invited her a second time.”

    Later, we also talked about how Laurence was talking to a girl (since there was no one else to talk to) when her boyfriend swooped in to give her a hug. It looked like the guy was saving her from creeper Laurence, or trying to send a message that she’s taken and he can stop trying.

    Oh, the things we have to deal with.

    Sometimes it bothers me, though. In my mind, in a sinless and perfect world, we could be as friendly as we want to one another. No one would have the fear of being engaged by someone with ulterior motives. Friendships would abound, and if romantic interests developed, there would be no fear of the dreaded friend zone.

    But sin is abundant in the world, so friendships get stifled. We guard ourselves in case a fellow human being wants something from us. We take time to judge whether or not someone genuinely wants to be our friend. On the other end, we often climb the friendship ladder slowly so we don’t send the wrong message. It’s like we have to perfect the art of being less friendly.

    Learning to be An Extrovert

    In the past couple of years, I’ve been training myself to be more extroverted in my interactions. To be more welcoming and amicable. It probably started when my friend Veronica began asking me to greet new guys at church, and I have to say, it was a good push to get me out of my comfort zone.

    But now that I’m more comfortable with cold turkey contact, I’ve noticed that I need to pull back. Mainly when approaching girls. Actually, pretty much only when approaching girls. (With guys, it’s easy to dive deep, even after only meeting them once.) And honestly, I strongly dislike the need to hold back just so I don’t creep people out. But I see why it’s necessary. And don’t get me wrong. I’m not blaming girls for being careful around guys. I’m just irked by how sin has inhibited many potential, fruitful friendships.

    Eventually, in Heaven, we won’t be ravaged with this problem. We’ll all be in a perfect state, able to interact without fear of any sort, and that is the world I long to live in.

    3 Thoughts

    1. Kindness is a Fruit of the Spirit – that should never cease. You are called to emulate Christ in every way. I believe the real issue is our expectations of how people respond to us. We can’t change how people respond to us. We can only change whether we are kind like Christ.

      Don’t change who you are. We love you as you are.

    2. Aww, thanks Pastor Steve! Wise words from a wise man.

    3. Ernest, you have an extraordinarily analytical mind which your writing reveals. It’s clear you are concerned with how people should treat one another on the deepest level. I hope you can develop your mental model for self-actualization from both personal experience && empirical observation. Nothing else will give you satisfaction in any life. No matter what obstacle you are challenged, the only constant is change over time (it’s called evolution). Adjust for this. Stay kind. Stay caring. Be smart. Get smarter, Get stronger. You are already exceptionally caring. Don’t be afraid to make your mark and show a woman how much she means to you. Adapt. This is a wise old friend speaking. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. Wisdom dispensed.

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