- Elon Musk, Investor & Entrepreneur
Everyone knows someone who’s just easy to like. They’re the people everyone wants to be friends with, the coworker everyone wants to have lunch with. But what is it that makes them so likable? And how can you harness that skill?
It turns out there are some simple things any person can do to make themselves more likable in any situation – at work, among friends, even when meeting someone new.
KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE
Before getting into any other tips, the most important thing to remember is context. You would have a different conversation with a coworker in the break room than you would have with a mutual friend at happy hour. Be attentive to the environment you’re in, the network you’re participating in, and what you already know about the person you’re meeting.
Once you have an idea of the appropriate context for your relationship with another person, the general strategies will be pretty similar!
BE A LISTENER
People love to talk about themselves. Tap into that natural tendency when starting a conversation by giving the other person ample opportunity to share their experience. Encourage them by asking questions about themselves and their interests – and then follow up on those questions. Show interest in what they’re saying and respond to it, rather than just waiting for your turn to talk about yourself.
As you’re listening, show that you’re actively listening. This means nodding along, making eye contact, and showing appropriate facial expressions. The other person should be able to see that you’re interested in their story, but you can build on this by repeating words and phrases they’ve used. This will show that you care about what they have to say, and they’ll feel more comfortable in the conversation.
When it’s time, don’t hesitate to share a little about yourself. Give them a chance to get to know you by using your active listening to connect your experience back to theirs. You’ll find that the more you listen, the more you have in common! Find a balance between listening and talking that gives everyone ample time to connect.
(And remember your context. The kinds of questions you’d ask a coworker will be different from the kinds you’d ask a social connection.)
Have you ever just felt happier after talking with someone? That person was probably focusing on the positive. Being positive is more than just rose-colored glasses or optimism, it’s making the people around you generally feel better. At work, it could look like being solutions-minded and collaborating, with friends it might look like skipping the gossip to share a positive reflection.
To be a positive person, give people reasons to be positive. When appropriate, tell jokes and laugh at the jokes of others. Share genuine compliments, focusing on personal values and priorities. Think about the difference between telling someone “I like your shirt,” and “That tie is so unique! I really admire your style,” or “You have such a great sense of humor!” While everyone likes to hear that they look nice, it’s more impactful to share your appreciation for their personality, letting them share more of themselves and further the conversation.
Most people mirror the emotions of the people they’re with. By sharing positive stories, opinions, and responses, you make those around you feel more positively. And when you give people a positive feeling, they’ll be more likely to seek you out in the future.
This goes for your body language too: the more you smile, the more those around you will smile as well. Everyone will leave happier, with a positive reflection on the whole interaction. The next time you see them, they’ll be reminded of that experience and like you more as a result.
This might be the hardest part. Showing vulnerability can bring out a lot of anxiety, but it can also be a game-changer in getting people to like you.
Don’t be afraid to admit mistakes or laugh at yourself when you do. After all, everyone makes them, and studies show that people will like you more after you’ve made a humanizing mistake. And if you balance out your mistakes with a positive, solution-focused mindset, the people around you will see you as competent and effective (and human).
No one has the solutions all the time. When you can, ask others for advice. Not only will it show you value their opinion, but it will also illustrate your humanity. We all know that “nobody’s perfect,” but it shows great strength to be willing to admit it to others. By sharing your hurt or a mistake and asking for counsel on resolving it, the people around you will feel more helpful and appreciated while seeing you as more human and positive.
Being vulnerable can be scary, but sharing vulnerability with others creates stronger, more affirming friendships on both sides.
The central factor in getting someone to like you is being yourself. You’re more likely to be liked if you come across as genuine, and it can be exhausting to keep up a pretense that isn’t true to yourself.
Trying to connect with someone who likes horseback riding? If that’s not in your wheelhouse, then use it as a learning opportunity rather than pretending to like it as well. Asking questions about another person’s interest, again, is a great way to encourage them to share more of themselves.
When you show that you’re authentic, the people around you feel more comfortable being authentic themselves. This leads to more positivity all around and encourages others to like you more.
In any context, it can be challenging to get someone to like you. There might be personal or professional stakes, you might feel unsure or afraid of rejection. But by listening actively, sharing positivity, letting your vulnerability show, and being yourself, you can be seen as more likable and foster more meaningful relationships in all areas of your life.
Stay up to date
Want to know anything else?
We’re an open book so hit us up if we’ve missed anything here or if there’s something else you’d like to know.
Thought leaders & celebrities share their tactics for success on the Lisnic podcast by Lisa Teh & Nick Bell