Let’s be honest: we all want to be liked. Even the most headstrong and independent of us don’t want other people to think badly of them.
And being likable is closely correlated to success in life.
Think about it. We all want to help a likable person achieve their goals.
So it’s not hard to see why being likable is a highly desirable thing to be. Fortunately, to at least some extent, it’s a skill you can master.
Sometimes, it’s the little things that make people like you. Cultivate these small habits, and you’ll find people won’t be able to keep themselves from being charmed by you.
1) Don’t judge people
Nobody likes to feel judged. Therefore, one of the keys to being likable is to not be a judgmental person.
We all have opinions about the behavior of others. But it’s important to remember that none of us are perfect, and we all do things that other people would question from time to time.
Not being judgmental doesn’t mean that you tolerate evil. But it does mean that you appreciate that nobody is perfect.
It also means understanding that people have their own motivations and reasons for behaving the way they do. If you walked a mile in their shoes, maybe you would behave the same way.
As psychologist Barbara Markway writes, judgment is a natural instinct. But we can resist our urge to judge by:
- Resisting the temptation to feel threatened by others
- Being mindful before saying anything judgmental
- Not taking things personally
- Looking for the good in others
- Remembering that we are more alike than we are different
- Reframing people’s behavior to remind yourself that they have their reasons for acting the way they do
People can often tell if you are judging them even if you don’t say anything. And they can also tell when people aren’t being judgmental.
Often, this lack of judgment makes people warm up to you much quicker than they normally would.
2) Make people feel good about themselves
Psychologist and former FBI special agent Jack Schafer has literally written the book on how to be likable, and he argues that the golden rule of friendship is that if you make people feel good about themselves, they will like you.
There are lots of different ways to do this. One is by sympathizing with them and finding common ground. Another can be complimenting them on what they are wearing or something they have done.
The key thing is to find some positive attribute of the person you’re dealing with and let them know you’ve noticed it.
It’s not being manipulative, so long as you focus on something that’s actually true. It’s just making someone feel good about themselves, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
At the same time, don’t make the mistake of talking only about yourself.
It’s unavoidably true that many people’s favorite subject is themselves. And people will like you a lot more if they feel like you are listening to the things they say.
That means being fully present. Actually, listen to what they are saying, and ask questions about the things they tell you. Resist the temptation to check notifications on your phone or zone out of the conversation.
UCLA Behavioral Sciences professor Robert J. Maurer writes that attention is crucial to all of our closest relationships. Successful couples are the ones that pay attention to one another.
And that’s even true of people you have just met, too.
In other words, if you want someone to like you, pay attention to them.
4) Use people’s names
This is so simple that it can seem almost like a kind of relationship hack. However, it’s a very effective way to get people to like you.
Remembering somebody’s name makes them feel like they matter as a person to you, rather than just as a means to an end. Remembering their name is also a sign of respect and thoughtfulness.
To help you remember people’s names on a first meeting, try to repeat their names as soon you hear them. This will help to implant it in your brain for the next time you meet.
5) Learn from them
Everybody has something to teach you.
It could be something huge, like how to move forward in your career, or something that is just mildly interesting, like the fact that Australia once lost a war against emus.
Being open and ready to learn from others is a clear sign that you respect their intelligence and knowledge. It makes people feel good to teach somebody else something they didn’t know, and it’s a great way to learn things yourself as well as make people like you.
6) Ask them for a favor
This one is really counterintuitive. But its effectiveness has been proven time and time again.
Sometimes called the Benjamin Franklin effect, this is a psychological quirk that psychologists have extensively studied since the famous inventor and statesman wrote about it in his autobiography.
Ask someone for a small favor if you want them to like you. It could be something simple like helping you put your jacket on, or lending you something you want to borrow.
The theory behind it is that the person doing the favor tells themselves that they must like the person they are doing the favor for, or else why would they do it?
And this little mind trick can be surprisingly effective in making people like you.
7) Don’t seek attention
Nobody likes a show-off. So, if you want people to like you, it’s important not to engage in attention-seeking behavior.
That doesn’t mean you have to be quiet and meek. In fact, being too quiet can make people dislike you, as they may think you are standoffish.
Instead, treat everyone you meet as though they are just as important as you. And if you are praised for something, make sure you acknowledge how other people have contributed to your success.
You don’t have to downplay yourself or your achievements. But by shifting the focus away from yourself, you will make people like you more.
8) Be consistent
While this is less useful when you first meet someone, it is an important part of getting people to like you in the early stages of a relationship.
Show up when you say you are going to show up. Be on time, or let them know if you are running late. Be consistent in the way you talk to people and the way you treat them.
People like it when they know what to expect from you. And being consistent in the way you act towards others lets people know where they stand.
This makes you a much more likable person, and can really help a relationship blossom.
9) Be passionate
Nothing lights a person up like a genuine passion. And people like those that they can tell are passionate about something.
Often, it doesn’t even matter what they are passionate about.
Our enthusiasm can light up a room when we talk about something we care about. So if you want to be liked, find a topic of conversation that you are passionate about and show the other person that side of yourself.
At the same time, you don’t want to be too intense. Your passion should show itself in a fun and engaging way, rather than coming across as being angry or obsessive.
Quite simply, people like you more when you talk about what you love rather than what you don’t like.
10) Be open about yourself
This might not be obvious, but it’s actually a powerful way to make somebody like you.
As psychology professor Gwendolyn Seidman points out, we like people we have something in common with. And one of the best ways to find common ground is to be open about yourself.
In fact, as this study shows, people find others more likable when they tell them about themselves.
This doesn’t mean telling your whole life story to everyone you meet. But it does mean that people will like you more if you don’t seem like you are hiding your true nature from them.
It sounds like lame advice to “just be yourself, and everyone will like you.” And unfortunately, it isn’t always true.
On the other hand, it is true that if people feel like they’re getting to know the real you, they will like you a lot more.
It isn’t easy being likable
If you aren’t blessed with a natural store of charisma, it can be difficult to know how to get people to like you, especially on a first meeting.
On the other hand, these small habits can add up in a big way. Develop these characteristics, and you’ll find that people respond much more positively to you.
Before you know it, you’ll find yourself well-liked by just about everyone.