chavezThis is going to be weird.

So, remember Hugo Chávez? The former dictator of Venezuela who died last year?

He, you know, sort of hated the U.S. I realize this is a big generalization, but you know what I mean. In general, he was not a friend of my country.

Well, I had a hard time hating Hugo Chávez because I thought he had a friendly face.

When smiling, he looked like a nice, happy guy. Every time I saw him on TV, I felt conflicted about the fact that as an American, I could’t bring myself to hate/strongly dislike him. I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I felt the same about former Iranian president Ahmadinejad and Henry Kissinger.

There are lots of times I see someone and think they have a friendly face. I realize this is a meaningless distinction, but I wonder what’s going on in my head? What is it that makes someone look “friendly”? In the cases of Chávez and Kissinger, I think it may be that their looks remind me of someone else in my life that I care about.

Susan Cain, author of Quiet, has said that introverts are always looking for “kindred spirits“. When I meet someone, I’m hoping to find a hint of something about them that could make them a kindred spirit. Perhaps they make a comment that really resonates with me, or reveal a kernel of their personality that shows they are considerate and genuine. Or maybe they have a friendly face.

Do you ever see someone–maybe a celebrity or political figure–and instantly feel like they have a “friendly face”?

[Note: This post is not meant to be a political statement or to “take a stand” on anything politically.]