How to be more likable?
Simple. Be the loudest one in the room.
Brag about how well you are doing in your life, cut people off who don’t share your views, and always always take everything personally. Right?
Sure. If you are a self-serving narcissist, these might sound music to your ear.
But I believe you are not one. And thus, looking for some practical ways to be more likable. If that’s the case, here’s what you need to know.
Being more likable has less to do with yourself and more with those you are trying to connect with, in any given situation.
For example, the same tricks that make you the life of the party might not work well in a high stake corporate meeting.
Even worse, if you are an introvert, you might find both scenarios life-threatening.
Don’t worry. Here are five effortless disciplines to be far more likable than the loudmouth around the corner.
1. Don’t Make It All About Yourself
Is it just me, or is everyone trying to one-up each other?
Be it a social gathering, family function, office meeting, or even on social media. Everyone is convinced about how awesome they are and what they have to say about things they have no idea about.
What’s missing is the genuine intention to connect with our fellow humans — to share our love, passion, emotions, and struggles.
Tell me. How does it work at the end of the day? Not very well, I guess. Here’s something you need to know.
The people who never shut up about their own awesomeness are merely overcompensating for their hidden insecurities.
Do you see the irony here? Let me spell it out for you.
You can’t be likable to others if you aren’t at peace with your imperfections. That’s where the true confidence comes from.
So whenever you feel the need to make everything about yourself, stop. You are doing it all wrong.
2. Let Others Finish What They Are Saying
I don’t know about you, but allowing me to finish what I’m saying (uninterrupted) is a surefire way to be more likable to me.
I mean, why wouldn’t you do that? Why do people feel the need to cut the other person off? It’s plain rude.
Let’s be honest. Listening is much easier than we can it out to be. Just put your ego aside and let it in. That’s all you need to do. Yet, most people suck at it. Not only that, ‘we don’t listen,’ but even when we do, we do it while waiting for our turn to talk back.
That’s what leaves an opening for you. In an era when everyone is compulsively interrupting each other, you can turn it around by being a patient listener.
It makes you more likable to others. Sure. But most importantly, it also helps you read them beyond their words.
Here’s how to do it well.
3. Be Curious & Encouraging and Not Indifferent & Dismissive
Listening? Sure, when the other guy is charismatic, we can do that. You can spend an entire day listening to Robert Downy Junior. Your history teacher? Meh! Not so much.
It begs the question. How do you listen to someone when they are boring?
Again. It’s more about you and not who is speaking. As Kate Murphy puts it in her book, You’re Not Listening:
The most valuable lesson I’ve learned as a journalist is that everybody is interesting if you ask the right questions. If someone is dull or uninteresting, it’s on you.
So when you are trying to get people to like you, it’s far more effective to cater to their interests than your own. Why so? Let me quote Dale Carnegie from his cult classic How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Personally I am very fond of strawberries and cream, but I have found that for some strange reason, fish prefer worms. So when I went fishing, I didn’t think about what I wanted. I thought about what they wanted. I didn’t bait the hook with strawberries and cream. Rather, I dangled a worm or grasshopper in front of the fish and said: “Wouldn’t you like to have that?”
Why not use the same common sense when fishing for people?
To put it in simple words, if you want to be interesting, first, be interested.
When you share a genuine interest and encouraging attitude towards other people’s passion, they can’t help but feel drawn to you. Use this trick, and you will never have to rely on lame ice breakers ever.
4. Stop Getting Offended by Different Point-of-Views
Intolerance isn’t charming.
I was 8 when Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man(2002) came out. It was the first big-budget live-action superhero movie I had ever seen. Besides, I was growing up watching the 90’s Spider-man animated series.
So understandably, I was fascinated with the character.
My friends, on the other hand, were fans of different superheroes like Wolverine, Batman, and of course, Superman.
Let’s say we spent our recesses expressing our disagreements. By which I mean pulling hairs, punching in the faces, and kicking each other in the dust.
Now, after about twenty long years, it’s good to see the culture finally catch up to our 8-year-old offended selves.
Jokes apart, we (at least most of us) are not children. So it’s high time to stop taking other people’s opinions as a direct insult to our own existence.
As human beings, we all are the products of our past experiences, conditionings, and different personalities. Each of us sees the world in a different light. That’s what makes us unique.
However, what we have here nowadays is:
- people (be it celebrities, billionaires, or the general public) mistaking their opinions for hard facts
- and taking an unearned moral high ground because of it.
Do yourself a favor. Don’t do that.
Other people do have the right to have their own opinions and live their lives the way they want. Sometimes, it may not align with your beliefs and preferences. It’s okay.
You can disagree with someone and still be respectful and cordial. And the more accepting you are of differing opinions, the more accessible you are to a broader pool of people.
5. Be The Person You Will Like to Rely on
Suppose you have two friends, Tom & Jeff.
Tom is reckless and refuses to take responsibility for the things he does and their consequences. He is quick to blame others and always finds an easy way out when you need him the most.
On the contrary, there is Jeff. He doesn’t back bitch about anyone. He knows what he does and why he does it. Most of all, you can count on him.
Whom would you trust more?
I guess we both know the answer.
Honesty and reliability might be old school, but they still are the basic elements behind one’s likability.
That’s where most people falter. Most of us come from a scarcity mindset. Therefore, life becomes a zero-sum game for us. For us to win, there have to be others who lose.
So instead of being cooperative and reliable, we chose to become conniving and boastful. Sure, you can hide it with flashy suits and gelled hair. But sooner or later, people learn to see you for who you are.
It should not be a surprise that the ultimate key to becoming more likable is to have a more reliable, respectable character.
It isn’t fun to be unpopular. I get it. But being a vein attention seeker isn’t the solution either. It doesn’t help you be more likable. If anything, it makes you look desperate.
After all, you can’t force people to like you. What you can do is be a better company to others. And using these five tips will help you do just that.