Weekly Thought – March 11, 2014
Fred thoroughly understood the paradox of being both wise and gentle. He valued friendships and carefully considered what it meant to make and keep friendships. He wrote a great deal about the nature of business and personal relationships, offering clear thinking and challenge.
Thank you for your encouraging emails. Fred constantly asked the Lord to make him useful – we continue to ask the same. Our goal is to be helpful by bringing you Fred’s thinking.
Interested, but not Curious
The deep, sincere interest in each other as friends does not include curiosity. Personally, I am “turned off” by those who exhibit idle curiosity about me. Interested-yes; curious-no.
Often people confuse interest in people with curiosity about people. The tabloid culture fosters endless curiosity which has no limits – not even boundaries of common courtesy. The desire to know more and more is morbid and indecent. On the other hand, interest has a positive, helpful, outgoing connotation.
Curiosity is self-centered and self-serving. It scratches an itch that is strictly for selfish satisfaction. It has nothing to do with the serving the good of another. Celebrity chasers don’t think about higher aims for they just want to “get the story.”
Interest is founded on the desire to do good, be helpful, participate in growth, and stretch others. It is part of the process of finding ways to serve. These motivations are 180 degrees apart.
Since curiosity is natural in most of us, we must learn to discipline and bridle the urge. Curiosity is often recognized by the questions one asks. Sadly, I think many executives would share more about their business lives if their wives showed more interest and less curiosity. No one wants to feel interrogated.
When we are asked a curious question, we bristle. These make us feel used. They seem like preparation for accusation, insinuation, or threat. I am thoroughly irritated by television interviewers who use curiosity to put guests off guard and to create an adversarial atmosphere.
When used by acquaintances, relatives, or friends the others retreat or just remain silent – not a way to build a relationship.
In healthy friendships there must be a willingness for some questions to go unanswered – or more importantly, go unasked. Undisciplined curiosity can frostbite a friendship.
I want you to be interested in me as my friend because you want the best for me, not curious because you are going to be a broker of what you know about me. Friendship is a disciplined relationship, and its great freedom comes from the natural dignity friends maintain.
Think carefully about: 1) How do I avoid falling into the curiosity trap? 2) Who pushes my buttons by being curious? 3) What is my plan for developing a healthy interest in my friends?
Words of Wisdom: “Friendship is a disciplined relationship, and its great freedom comes from the natural dignity friends maintain.”
Wisdom from the Word: “The righteous person is cautious in his friendship.” (Proverbs 12:26a NET Bible)