Are friendly people friendlier than mean people

Friendliness pays off, even if it's only pretend

Friendliness pays off, even if it's only pretend

With friendliness and compliments you get the bigger bites in the kebab shop. Scientists have found that out. In Switzerland, friendliness can easily be improved.

"My philosophy is kindness." When the Dalai Lama utters this sentence, you can see how convinced he is of it. In Switzerland, however, unfriendliness ranks second behind noise pollution of all things that are perceived as annoying to the neighbor. Still, nobody changes anything about it. At the same time, friendliness does not only offer rich financial returns.

Do you get bigger portions in the kebab shop with friendliness? The Austrian economists Michael Kirchler and Stefan Palan investigated this question and sent their students to kebab takeaways in Graz, Innsbruck and Munich, where they bought 800 kebabs. You should place your order either factually correct with a short “Please” and “Thank you” or in a particularly friendly manner by telling the stall owner with “Your kebab is the best in town” and “I like it best with you” Expressing praise.

It turned out that around ten percent more meat was packed into their flatbread for the friendly buyers. When the experiment was carried out again, this time with the purchase of cornets at the gelateria, the same result: the customer could look forward to ten percent more ice cream if he had submitted a friendly compliment to the seller beforehand.

The friendly gets more

For Kirchler, it is clear that the principle “The friendly gets more” also applies to salary negotiations and even million dollar deals in big business, because it is deeply anchored in human beings. "Praise and recognition were important to our earliest ancestors," emphasizes the scientist. "They testified to a high status and thus brought advantages in nutrition and reproduction." Because those who can afford to appear generous, appreciative and supportive towards their fellow human beings are expressing their higher social position - and that brings them respect and courtesy.

So friendly people usually get bigger pieces of the cake. But that's not all: you can also count on more happiness and health. Studies have shown that even spontaneous acts of kindness activate the vagus nerve, i.e. that part of the autonomic nervous system that downshifts the body and the release of stress hormones. So being kind has a relaxing effect in a similar way to yoga.

The effects on life satisfaction are also considerable. The University of California's psychology professor Sonja Lyubomirsky set her students the task of performing five random, but not everyday, actions of kindness a week. It was recognized when someone helped a primary school student with homework or bought a hamburger for a homeless person. Simply saying thank you in the restaurant was not one of them.

After six weeks it became clear that the friendly actions made the test subjects feel much more comfortable and satisfied with their lives. Interesting: This effect was strongest in those who completed their kindness dose in one day. Which is probably due to the high "degree of infection" of this strategy. "A lot of friendliness on one day means that the positive feedback from our fellow human beings is better memorized," explains Lyubomirsky, "and that in turn means that we also develop a little more friendliness on the other days." Which is the main reason for the feel-good effect of friendliness: It also makes our fellow human beings friendly, so that we feel cared for, understood and accepted. And this is extremely important for people with their fine social antennae.

It doesn't have to be honest

You should develop a real, not a false, friendliness. Most of us would share this attitude. However, this requirement for authenticity cannot be scientifically proven. On the contrary. Both the compliments of the Austrian doner kebab test buyers and the five good weekly deeds of the US students did not come from the heart, but were given to them. But the result was positive in both cases. So friendliness does not have to be honest and authentic; it is enough if other people believe that.

In addition, the fact that it also appears inauthentic means that friendliness can be learned easily. Because if she had honesty as her prerequisite, one would also have to work on it, which would make the path to friendly people much more difficult. Just get started: Once the friendliness is there, it will take hold of our hearts at some point.

This could be difficult in this country. Because according to a survey by pollsters from “InterNations”, Switzerland ranks fourth among the most unfriendly nations. Far ahead of Germany and Austria. Only in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Denmark are non-locals consider the population to be even less friendly than in Switzerland.