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Farm management: Friendliness can be trained

By Rolf Leicher, Heidelberg

Friendliness is the ability to treat others in an appreciative, respectful and benevolent manner and to create an appreciative atmosphere through your own behaviour. If you impress the person you are talking to in this way, you can convince them more easily and achieve your goal without pressure or stress. This doesn't make a lot of work any less, but a friendly attitude makes a lot of things easier. 

Friendliness is a form of self-control

Some people are born friendly, others have to make an effort. After all, friendliness improves interpersonal relationships. But do you have to become "Everybodys darling"?

Admittedly, it is not easy to let an affront or provocation roll off your back and (benevolently) question the behaviour and its motives. Nor is it easy to jump over one's own shadow and remember that our counterpart may not be responsible for the acute frustration and does not deserve to be abused as an outlet and self-therapeutic bruiser. This makes it all the more important to keep disciplining and reminding ourselves to learn, practise and exercise kindness - no matter how difficult it is.

Positive attitude - turbo for good emotions

Use the technique of smiling. After all, a smile quickly puts you in a better mood and gives you a positive outlook on your circumstances. Try it out right away. Can you feel the immediate effect? What's more, smiling has an effect on those around you: you appear more open and positive - and gain sympathy and trust in return.

Being friendly, smiling and thinking positively does not mean making light of negative things or putting on rose-tinted glasses, but rather putting problems into perspective and leaving the church in the village. Positive thinkers have one thing in common: they only look at the past in order to learn from it. What drives them is their ambition to become even better in the future. Firstly, they accept the situation as it is. Then ask yourself with every defeat, after every setback: What is the good thing that happened to me? Mistakes are allowed and are the best way to develop further. Every failure makes you stronger!

Why it pays to learn friendliness

There are now several studies that show that friendliness not only makes others happy, but above all yourself. The reason: when we are kind to others, our body releases more of the neurotransmitter serotonin. Effect:

  • We view ourselves and the world more optimistically.
  • Our self-image improves and we feel better.

Only a fraction of our fears actually materialise

An optimistic attitude is a question of how you perceive problems. Negative things are processed much more thoroughly in the brain, which is why we need to spend more time dealing with the positive and increase our contact with positive people.

So-called "self-communication" has proved its worth. You give yourself unspoken instructions to accept the situation and control negative feelings. This is because regulating your own feelings is a prerequisite for treating others with kindness. However, natural friendliness never arises under pressure ("I have to be friendly now"). A fake smile is perceived as a "grin" and devalues your charisma. It's exhausting and you won't be able to keep it up for long.

Rainy weather during the harvest, breakdown of the most important machine at an inopportune time, the excited person walking at the edge of the field - sometimes you already suspect that there will be an annoying situation. Consciously trying to remain calm even then is the top priority. And often things don't turn out as badly as you think or fear. And even if it turns out badly, the situation won't improve if you get worked up about it.

A positive mood is created by the right inner attitude. It all depends on one question: How do you interpret a particular situation?

Empathy is seen as an intensification  of sympathy

The word "empathy" comes from the Greek and means the ability and willingness to recognise, understand and empathise with the feelings, emotions, thoughts, motives and personality traits of another person. Empathy allows you to recognise the thoughts and feelings of the other person without prejudice.

That sounds easier than it is. Because in order to understand others, you have to take a step back yourself. If you view the behaviour of others primarily from your own perspective, you are not showing empathy and will not gain empathy.

Eight steps for more empathy

  1. Show empathy for the other person's problems
  2. Express yourself kindly, fairly and openly
  3. Giving right instead of keeping right
  4. Demonstrate listening by questioning
  5. Have a positive attitude
  6. Use positive formulations, avoid negative judgements
  7. Acceptance of the situation (e.g. stress, hectic pace)
  8. Remain natural, down-to-earth and authentic


Friendliness can open many doors, lead to important contacts, improve the working atmosphere and increase general satisfaction. And, of course, you are more likely to be liked by others and less likely to find yourself in confrontations.