MsDora, Certified Christian Counselor, has spent four decades empowering young and adult women to pursue positive, productive womanhood.
Unfriendly Wife, Very Friendly Husband
The unfriendly woman describes herself using terms like "shy," "not talkative," or "busy," depending on the occasion.
Other people would use words like "proud," "unapproachable," or "cold." If she doesn't smile, they add terms like "sour pus" and "stone face."
Her very friendly husband defends her with “She’s real sweet when you get to know her.”
You bet, he's right; but does anybody really want to know her? His female friends are likely to have one of two reactions to this unfriendly woman.
- The conscientious women may choose to avoid both man and wife since it's awkward talking and laughing with him while his wife hangs around looking like she’d rather be elsewhere.
- The callous women may take the wife’s aloofness coupled with the husband’s charisma to mean lack of fun in the union; they want to vote themselves in as the substitute source of pleasure for the husband.
What Is She Hiding?
In the first place, how did her frosty personality manage to attract such a warmhearted companion? She cannot be as uncaring as she would have other people believe.
- She has a fair amount of charm.
- She uses it when she wants to—like when she saw the man she wanted for a husband.
- At the heart of her unfriendliness are qualities like self-centeredness and indifference which allow her to turn her friendliness off and on as she pleases.
That’s her prerogative, but we know that she knows that she’s hiding some of her best qualities. Her husband would benefit from her revelation of the magnetism that pulled him to her. He likes it when he can enjoy the company of his friends without having to make excuses for her unfriendliness. His friends also feel more comfortable when they perceive that she is comfortable.
So let's help out the unfriendly woman with some meaningful advice for her own good. Addressing her directly is not intended for confrontation or attack, but more like a heart-to-heart appeal from a previously un-friendly woman with a very-friendly husband. The author's been there and recommends five proven tips.
(1) Break out of Your Shell
So you’d prefer to stay home alone or with your husband, but he wants to join the crowd. Negotiate. Ask for a limit on the time you’ll be required to spend acting friendly. Then psyche yourself to break out of your shell for that period.
You may have some fear about whether or not his friends will like you. They have the same fear about you. The reasons for fear (on both sides) may soon be disproved when you begin to interact with them.
Give compliments about hairstyles or shoes. Ask questions to keep the talker talking, and pay attention like a good listener. Put in an occasional sentence about something you read or heard on the news. It really doesn’t take much to break your silence. You’ll soon find yourself being friendly without effort, especially if you don’t keep looking at your watch.
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(2) Smile Deliberately
Make eye contact and smile. If you keep looking and walking straight ahead, your smile will not register as genuine.
Smile as if a pleasant thought entered your mind as soon as you saw the person.
You have the ability to generate pleasant thoughts. What were you thinking when you realized that your husband picked you over some of his other friendly female interests?
You don’t have to talk to express friendliness. Let a look of affirmation or approval accompany your smile.
(3) Be Courteous
The opposite of courtesy is rudeness. For example, your husband is speaking with an acquaintance you don’t know and don’t care to know. You interrupt the conversation to remind your husband that it is time to leave; and you ignore the other person. Ignoring her is rude.
Say hello. Even introduce yourself if your husband is not mindful to do the introductions. Smile and apologize for interrupting, which you just had to do because your husband is having so much fun and lost track of the time. (Don't mention the real reason for interrupting him when you do).
Regardless of what else his friends think about you, don’t let them prove that you’re rude.
(4) Play for the Team
You and your husband are a social team of two. Display your closeness while you interact with the friends. Make an effort to listen to someone whose speech or humor interests your husband. Show interest if he is telling the story. Laugh at his jokes. Let them see that you admire him.
Maxwell Anderson, the poet advises “If two stand shoulder to shoulder against the gods happy together, the gods themselves are helpless against them while they stand so.”
It is difficult to see an unbreakable bond between two people when one is usually sweet and the other is usually bland. It helps your image of strength and loyalty when your friends see you sharing each other’s interest.
(5) Be Friendly and Responsible
When the friends finally admit, “You’re really friendlier than we thought,” you can respond with, “Isn’t it funny how much we think alike?” Then release your vulnerability slowly.
To keep the friendships wholesome and happy, set boundaries around the kind and level of interaction you will have with your husband’s friends. Remember that the friends belong to both of you, and that secret sessions with them are never appropriate; neither are private discussions about him or without him. Just a reminder!
Now embrace the new friendships. Greet and entertain the friends with an air of confidence. They will to bring out the best in you and you the best in them. You don’t always have to be available; but when you are, be friendly!
© 2011 Dora Weithers