You don’t need to be exceptionally good looking or have more money than God to be well liked. Likability comes from a series of behaviors that anyone can develop with enough practice. Researchers at UCLA polled subjects to determine which adjectives were considered most indicative of the likability of a person. Surprisingly, the most popular words weren’t related to external characteristics like intelligence or good looks; most subjects chose such qualities as transparency, sincerity and the ability to understand other people. All of these descriptions are indicative of people who are emotionally and socially intelligent. If you want to become more likable, start doing the following:
1. Ask more questions.
Most people think being a good listener means being silent when someone is talking to them. As a result, any questions they might have about the topic being talked about are usually ignored. This leads to an inefficient exchange of information.
Instead, try to ask questions whenever you are unsure about something that the other person is saying. Asking questions not only improves your understanding of the subject, but it also shows the other person that you are actively paying attention.
2. Don’t look at your phone when you’re talking to someone.
There are few things that can derail a conversation more quickly than someone incessantly staring at their phone while they’re talking or being talked to. When you are talking to someone, keep your phone away. This shows them that you are more invested in the conversation, and it makes the whole experience more enriching for all parties involved.
3. Be yourself.
This might sound like a cliché, but it is one of the most misunderstood aspects of behavior. Being yourself doesn’t mean trying to act like a version of yourself that you think will be appreciated by someone else. Being yourself means being authentic, knowing what your views and opinions are, and sticking to them. Even if you have to disagree occasionally with your friends or people you interact with, sticking to your beliefs lends you a more trustworthy vibe. If people see that you stick to your guns even in unfavorable situations, they will gravitate towards you. They will see that you are someone who knows what they want, and doesn’t worry about pleasing other people all the time.
4. Don’t be judgmental.
Too many of us make snap judgments about people whose lifestyle choices or opinions are different from our own. Instead, try to be more open-minded. This way, you will be more approachable and you can have stimulating conversations about people whose views are different from your own. A big part of learning and becoming better as a person is the ability to let go of preconceived notions or biases. Even if you don’t agree with someone’s choices, you must develop the ability to put yourself in their shoes and understand their viewpoint.
5. Don’t try too hard to gain attention.
You don’t have to be boisterous, wear weird clothes or manufacture emotional drama to become likable. Neediness is an unattractive quality. Simply being affable and friendly can get you further than eccentricity. State your opinions with confidence and without embellishments. People will realize you are a straight shooter, and you will gain respect and attention automatically.
6. Maintain good, confident body language.
Confident people rarely have bad body language. Simple things like adapting an upright posture and maintaining eye contact will have a profound effect on the way people perceive you. Try to be more enthusiastic in conversations. Open your arms and take up more space where you are sitting. These body language cues denote social intelligence and are attractive to other people.
7. Make an unforgettable first impression.
Studies have shown that people form lasting opinions of you within seven seconds of meeting you. Once this opinion has been formed, they will spend the rest of the interaction trying to prove this opinion right. Don’t be alarmed by this phenomenon. You can use it in your favor. Smile, broaden your shoulders and shake hands firmly with whoever you are meeting for the first time.
8. Remember people’s names.
Everyone loves hearing the sound of their own name, especially when other people say it. Make it a point to remember people’s names and use them every time you meet them. Sprinkling people’s names into a conversation you might be having with them is also a good idea. If you’re not very good at remembering names or faces, look up some memory exercises which will help you.
9. Smile more.
Who doesn’t like to be around a bunch of smiling people? This doesn’t mean you should maintain a psychotic, Joker-like grin on your face throughout the day. But when you’re talking to someone, make it a point to smile at then every now and then. It will make both of you feel more at ease.
10. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable.
Strong people aren’t the ones who have absolutely no problems in their life. On the contrary, true strength lies in being able to admit when you are working through some issues. Make sure you know when to open up, however. If you burden someone with your tale of woe the first time you’re having a conversation, you will quickly be labeled as someone to avoid.
11. Know when and where to touch people.
Touching is a great way to establish intimacy. Even something as innocuous as a nudge on the shoulder or a touch of the arm goes a long way towards establishing a deeper connection. This is because when someone touches you, your brain releases a chemical called oxytocin, which is responsible for generating feelings of intimacy. Just make sure you have the appropriate context established first. You don’t want to become the creepy person in your social circle.
12. Work on your passion.
People who are passionate about what they are doing in life are intoxicating to be around. They give off energy that other people find attractive. Figure out what you love to do, and devote more time in your life to pursuing them.
13. Show interest in other people’s lives.
Sure, discovering that your coworker just had a baby might not be particularly exciting for you. But for the person in question, it is one of the most significant experiences of their life. Take a few moments to have meaningful interactions with people around you. You don’t need to indulge in gossip, but showing that you remember something one of your friends said to you last week shows that you value your relationship with them.
Likable people are the life-force of a group. They inspire other people and lighten up a room when they walk in. With a few easy behavioral tweaks, you too can be one of these people. Adopt the habits mentioned above to become the person everyone wants to be around.
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