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What is the difference between being friendly and friendship?

What is the difference between being friendly and friendship?

I was asked this question recently.  I was at a convenience store getting something to drink and fueling up the vehicle.  As the clerk was scanning my drinks, he said to me, ” Do you think there is a difference between being friendly and being a friend”?  I replied, well yes, there is a difference.  He looked at me and said that is what a co-worker said to him.  “I was just being friendly”.  I could tell what was said to him, truly hurt him and he was visibly upset, by the expression on his face.  He had assumed his co-worker was his friend, but it turned out they weren’t.

Has this happened to you?  You thought someone was your friend, but later found out they really weren’t.  What was your reaction?  How did you handle it?

What is true friendship?  How do you know if someone is truly your friend or not?  What are the warning signs they are not a friend?  What indications reflect they are a friend?

I think everyone has a different viewpoint of what friendship means and what being friendly means.  Let’s look at the definitions of friendship and friendly.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary Definition of Friendship

Definition of Friendship

  • the state of being friends they have a long-standing friendship

  • the quality or state of being friendly :friendliness the friendship shown him by his coworkers

Merriam-Webster Dictionary Definition of Friendly

Definition of Friendly 

  • Relating to, or befitting a friend: such as:  showing kindly interest and goodwill friendly neighbors: not hostile friendly merger offeralsoinvolving or coming from actions of one’s own forces friendly fire :  cheerfulcomforting the friendly glow of the fire.

What is friendship?

A friend is a good listener and responds back truthfully.

A friendship is about supporting each other through the good, bad and ugly.

A friend accepts you as who you are.

A true friend will make time for you.

A real friend will encourage you.

A true friend won’t use your friendship for their personal gain.

A real friend gives unconditionally and doesn’t expect anything in return.

A true friend is loyal to you even when things are at there worst.

A friend forgives you when you make a mistake and your apology is sincere.


A friend is one who overlooks your broken fence and admires the flowers in your garden. ~ Unknown

What is being friendly?

Being polite to someone using common manners.  Examples: Saying good morning, thank you, you’re welcome and it’s my pleasure.

A friendly person is down to earth, welcoming, approachable, smiles, includes others, and creates a positive atmosphere.

A friendly person is considerate, kind and compassionate towards others.

A friendly person talks to people at the grocery store, holds doors open for others, says hi, nods and smiles.


Don’t wait for people to be friendly, show them how. ~ Unknown

The world truly needs more friendly people.  People in general need trusted friendships.  I believe if people were more friendly, polite, compassionate and less judgmental, harsh, back-stabbing, criticizing, and self-serving; the world would be a much more peaceful place and just maybe more friendship would come to be!

Reflection Question:

What does being a friend mean to you?

Call to Action:

Take your answer to this question and become a better friend.

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