Being likeable is an incredibly useful blessing and something that can make many aspects of your day-to-day life much more pleasant and straightforward. If you are likeable for instance then this will mean that people will be more likely to want to help you and more likely to want to make sure things go well for you. If you have a problem but you’re someone that people like, then you’ll find that more people rush to your aid and that more people offer up their support.
Likewise, if you’re likeable you’ll find you can get away with more and you’ll be more likely to be forgiven when something goes wrong or when you make a mistake. And of course likeable people are the ones we want to spend time with and the ones that we want to do well which means that a likeable personality is likely to have more friends and may even find things go better for them in their career (why would your boss hire you to work in their office if they don’t like you?).
Likeability is something that we are born with or not to a degree. Much like charisma it seems that some people are blessed with likeability and that life is an easier ride for them as a result. That’s not to say however that some of the traits that likeable people exhibit can’t be emulated, and that you can’t become more likeable with a bit of effort. So let’s look at what you need to do to start enjoying an easier life…
One of the simplest and easiest ways to be more likeable is to smile, and this means smiling with your whole face in a genuine and friendly way. Smiling immediately conveys to people that you are approachable, that you are in a good mood, and that you have no gripes with them. At the same time though, when we smile this also causes other people to smile thanks to something called ‘mirror neurons’ which fire when we see someone pull a certain expression (this is also true if you scowl in which case you put people in a bad mood). Then when those mirror neurons smile and that other person finds themselves smiling back, this will cause another effect caused ‘facial feedback’ wherein the simple act of smiling causes the release of happiness hormones like dopamine and serotonin.
In other words, when you smile at someone this causes chemical changes in their brain which causes them to become happier as a result. And if someone feels good when they spend time around you, that becomes a positive association and they start wanting to spend time around you more.
Be Agreeable and Laid Back
One way you can quickly get on people’s nerves, particularly if it’s on holiday or at work, is to find problems with everything. You know when everyone thinks it’s a great idea to go out tonight but you then moan that you don’t really want to and why should you have to stay at the hotel alone? Or when everyone says they’ll happily work an extra hour a day to help complete work on time for the deadline and you say that you don’t really want to. Such people quickly become branded as difficult and buzz killers and surprise to surprise no one really wants to spend all that much time with them.
If you want to be more likeable then, something you can do is to be more laid back and agreeable – and to go along with the majority when it’s not a big deal. Surely you shouldn’t become a push over either (it’s a fine line to walk), but when it’s a small matter try just letting other people win for a change and don’t raise issues unless it’s something you really feel passionate about.
What’s worse than being awkward and difficult all the time is being awkward and difficult some of the time and making a big fuss when no one expects it. If you want to be as liked as possible then it’s important to try and remain as predictable and as reliable as you can be – not to fly off the handle at the slightest provocation and don’t say one thing one minute and another the next.
Don’t Gossip or Judge
There are times when it seems like everyone in your friendship group or office has been forced to take a side over some petty argument or other. Here two people will fall out and it will often cause the entire group to fall out as a result. Otherwise it might be that everyone turns on one person or becomes critical of them and starts jumping on the band wagon.
If you want to be liked by as many people as possible though, then it makes sense to try and remain as neutral as possible and to stay out of it. If you are judging people then you make enemies out of them, but at the same time the person you are talking to will wonder what you say about them when their back is turned. Likewise if you gossip then people aren’t going to want to share secrets with you and they’ll think of you as two faced and untrustworthy. There’s something incredibly refreshing about someone who sees the best in everyone and who sticks up for people. Learn to be able to say ‘it’s not what I would do, but I’m sure they’re doing what they thinks best and we all have our own opinions’. As a result, people will see you as a friend that can be trusted with everyone and they’ll value your innocence and seeming naivety.
Manners in many ways are a dying art, but even though many of us don’t consider them as we once did they are actually greatly appreciated by almost everyone. Say thank you and people will know that you aren’t taking their kindness for gratitude, say sorry and people will know you didn’t mean them any harm. Stop to hold open a door and they will see that you have the capacity to put others first and have thought about them – which always goes appreciated. Manners can take you a long way in life.
Be Kind and Helpful
There are books and books written on how to win friends and influence people, and mostly these tend to involve things like ‘building a rapport’ or using the subtle language cues in the correct way. In reality though it’s actually much, much simpler than that (and actually many people see through these techniques as sleazy or desperate) – all it takes is to be as kind and helpful as you can and to go out of your way to make others feel at ease. It’s not complicated, but if you help others then they’ll want to help you back and more to the point they’ll like you.