Among the countless hangouts at neighbourhood 'tongs', making friends at school never quite seemed like a big deal. Yet, the minute you hit adulthood, genuine friendships become a rare sight. Yes, you get better at small talk during social gatherings, but as you find yourself too tangled in the urbanite life to actually make time for friends, your bonds weaken and friendships fade out.
So, exactly what is the line between being friendly and actually being friends?
Imagine meeting someone at an art fest. You two instantly hit it off and have intense conversations regarding artworks, from Zainul to Picasso. Both of you can sense the mutual likability, and yet, at that moment, you two are just being friendly!
People we meet have the potential to be transformed into friendships, but that is not a thumb rule; there are times when two people are not even interested to take their acquaintanceship to a higher level.
If you have ever noticed how children make friends, you shall see that toddlers simply walk up to another child and start a conversation. Clearly, it turns out that the older you get, the more you are anxious about the impression you make on others.
So, for most adults, making friends (or to be more accurate, meeting friendly people) become a game of chance meet-ups and social norms.
A genuine smile and a welcoming attitude is often enough to assess the friendliness of a person. Friendly people have a positive aura that instantly draws others towards them. However, friendships are not just based on being friendly. Friends share a much deeper connection, and that having a genuine wish to share multiple aspects of one's life with the other.
You have probably heard enough of the 'go out more!' and 'join groups of interest'. All that does is help you meet friendly people, but for you to actually make friends, you have to initiate plans and be interested in their lives.
Ask potential friends out for coffee, or go to a concert together. If making new friends seem too daunting, why not send a Facebook message to your old college buddy? Rekindling old relationships is another great way to finding genuine friendships.
“Why exactly is this distinction important?” you may ask? See, without this, you would just end up cultivating half-hearted relationships that have no real chance of getting past initial acquaintanceships. However, friendly people can and do become genuine friends, just as friends sometimes, thanks to the multiple struggles life throws at us, become just friendly.