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Monday, February 26, 2018

Introduce Yourself: Some Thoughts on Friendship

It’s happening all the time: at parties, at gatherings, and at churches.

I sincerely don’t understand. Maybe it’s because I live in another country. Maybe it’s because in this culture, it’s considered very unmannerly to walk into anywhere and not greet people. Maybe it’s because I have antiquated ideas of what’s proper and what isn’t.

What’s the problem?

It’s that people can be in the same room and not mingle with anyone outside of their very tiny circle of friends. People don’t introduce themselves to others around them. They ignore others. They don’t even say “hi.”

In my childhood and all my growing up, and in Spain where I live, that is considered incredibly rude. You always say “hi.” You always greet people. That is just basic.

But now, kids refuse to say “hello” to anyone. Young couples can’t even greet the old people in the room. Families go to a party and don’t mix with the other side of the family. What is going on? Have the rules changed?

I read a short, true post from a person who entered a church. No one said “hi.” No one smiled. No one did anything—besides ignore him.

It happens all the time.

It happened years ago to my husband and me—and we were members of the church. It happened in our home church. Granted, most people don’t know us, since we’ve lived overseas almost all the time and aren’t home that much. So, okay, they don’t know us.

This is what happened: we were assigned to a small group Sunday school class. The first Sunday, we went in, sat down, and not a soul—in a group of maybe ten couples our age—said hello. We went to the church service afterwards and sat with my parents. Some of their friends (elderly people) came over and said hello after the service. That was better.

My husband and I talked privately about what had happened in Sunday school, and we decided that, if anything were going to change, it would change with us. The next Sunday, we walked into the same small class and shook hands and introduced ourselves to everyone in the room, including the teacher. Shock showed on many faces. Were we offending them by saying “hi”? Remember, we were the “visitors.” They didn’t know we were missionaries sent from their church. They didn’t know us from Adam and Eve. But, they found it awkward to meet someone they didn’t know.

Something’s wrong with unfriendliness. The Bible says, A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly (Proverbs 18:24).

Yet, in many Christian circles, we aren’t friendly. We don’t look for the wallflower person. We don’t even look at the person beside us.

People can walk into and out of our churches, and they don’t get so much as a good morning from anyone besides the door greeters. That is a crying shame!

We want to reach others for Christ.

Seriously? Then, at least say “hi.”

Friendship begins with being friendly. Friendship begins with showing someone else he is valued. Friendship is one person reaching out to another.

Is it so hard to say, “Hello, my name is Judy. It’s nice to see you today” or whatever’s appropriate for the occasion? At a party: “Hi, I’m Judy. I am Fred’s sister-in-law.”

If you are the host, at least introduce your guests to one another. Remember the protocol: older to younger. “Grandma, please meet my neighbor, Tessa.” You could also go around the room stating names and relationships. That works, too.

In a very large group, I love it when people wear nametags with first names on them. It is so helpful to be able to place a name with a face—or to refresh your memory when it has been a long time.

It’s not so difficult to be friendly.

All it takes is a Christ-like attitude towards others. Think about Jesus, for a second or two. He left heaven to come—because of incredible love—and live among a bunch of no-good sinners and help, heal, and preach righteousness to them. He let them know He was the promised Messiah, and then He died a sacrificial but completely unjust, horrible death to provide salvation for those same sinners—and for you and me.

Jesus was asked what the top commandment of the law would be. Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets (Matthew 22:37-40).
  1. Love God with everything you have.
  2. Love others as our selves.

There are a few other verses that come to mind:
  • And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise (Luke 6:31).
  • Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another. Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits (Romans 12:10, 16).
  • Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves (Philippians 2:3).

Esteeming others means acknowledging them. It means—at the very least—caring enough to say “hello.”

It’s a reflection of our relationship with God.

Just introduce yourself. You can make a friend today.


  1. Well Amen, Lou Ann! This was a much needed message. Church especially should be a warm, welcoming refuge.


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