Be Xenodochial

On Being a Modern Gentleman:

Guideline 24: Be Xenodochial

I really had to pore through the ole’ memory in order to find a suitable word. Xenial would work, but several bloggers had intentions to use the same, so I chose a close synonym.

The modern gentleman should be xenodochial, or friendly and receptive to strangers. Xenodochial, from xenodochy, comes from the Greek ξενοδοχή (xenodochē), meaning “stranger’s banquet.” The modern gentleman, amiable and empathetic towards friends, neighbors, and family should also endeavor to be friendly and receptive towards strangers. To paraphrase the Greek, your presence should be a filling banquet for the unfamiliar and not yet introduced.

For most, it’s easy to be friendly to people you know and see frequently. Few have mastered being compassionate and friendly towards strangers; well, some have the “theory” mastered but not the “practice.”

This is an easy task. Smile. Say hello. Give a stranger the “nod”–southerners will understand the gesture. If you feel courageous, engage in conversation with someone on the metro or in the checkout line at the grocery store. My suggestion for you would be to put the phone away and be aware of others. Opportunities to meet and converse with others arise daily, and you shouldn’t miss them just to play a new word in Words with Friends or to stare at Facebook waiting for updated statuses.

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