Relationships Smart Not Hard: 11 Simple Hacks to Become a More Likeable Individual
When people enjoy your presence, you glide through life as easily as a hot knife through melted butter.
At the same time, likeability is by far not a gift from heaven; it’s a finely honed skill derived from your willingness to make small daily efforts towards other humans.
If you’ve clicked on this article, you most likely understand the importance of it. Solitude can be a wonderful thing. At times. But we were born as social animals and by the dictate of the laws of nature, we need each other for survival. Whether one likes it or not.
Undergoing an absolute transformation into an irresistibly charming and popular creature is not a matter of a single wave of a magic wand. However, becoming just a tad more likeable is very possible, by introducing a few easy fixes into your everyday communication:
1. When people talk to you, don’t let your eyes wander off to any kind of screen.
This is without question the number one annoying habit of most people living in the digital age. It’s extremely hard to get rid of it, but as far as human communication goes, there’s nothing more worth trying.
It kills connection. It kills relationships. And we’re all guilty.
Every time you look away from the eyes of the person you’re talking to in order to check a screen, you’re sending a clear message:
“You’re not important enough for me right now!”
2. Look directly into people’s eyes when saying hello or goodbye.
With regard to social interactions, namely casual greetings, genuine eye contact makes a world of difference, even if we’re passing by a stranger. Simply put: you notice and you are noticed.
“Eye contact is way more intimate than words will ever be.”
~ Faraaz Kazi
3. Flash a smile when saying hello or goodbye.
Turn this into an automatic routine. When looking at the person you’re meeting or passing by, smile as if you were truly happy to see them.
And yes, a fabricated smile is better than no smile at all. If you do it right, i.e., by engaging not only the corners of your mouth but also the muscles around your eyes (see Duchenne smile vs. Botox smile), not only will you send a positive signal towards the other person, but you yourself will profit, as your own body receives an instruction to alter the emotions you’re experiencing and reduce mental tension.
4. Don’t complain every single time you’re asked: “How are you doing?”
People have enough on their plates. Instead of unloading your burdens on them, ask good questions about what they care about, and listen (!).
Good question = relevant + high-priority + specific
Listening = switching off your internal dialogue and focusing 100% on the other person’s words and body language
5. Offer a firm handshake.
Firm handshake equals firm character. Weak handshake equals weak character. Period.
6. Call people by their names when addressing them.
When we hear our name, we become more alert. We tune in.
Moreover, when we’re called by the name we like (see the following point), we are more inclined to open up.
7. Ask people how to pronounce their names correctly.
This should be a no-brainer, but many people would rather take a guess, hence mispronounce. If you’re not sure, ask straight away. Even better, ask: “How do you like to be called?”
Maybe everyone in the office calls your colleague “Maggie” and maybe she loathes it and prefers to go by her full name “Margaret”.
Be the one who cares enough to find out.
8. Don’t mess up people’s names when addressing them in writing.
If your email starts with the recipient’s misspelled name, your expectations of receiving the desired answer should be substantially lower.
9. Don’t gossip.
Imagine that one person you know who everyone wants to be friends with. They are usually those who never talk behind people’s backs.
One the other hand, those who like to gossip are the same ones whose own lives are empty and uninspiring. Don’t be like them.
“Strong minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, weak minds discuss people.”
10. Respect and keep secrets.
When you’re told: “Don’t tell anyone!” — don’t tell anyone. And that includes your best friend, mother, husband, or your cat.
11. Notice what others don’t see.
Pay attention to what’s going on with people.
Is she wearing new glasses? Does he seem nervous about something? Did she score a big win with an important client? Has he been missing from the office for a while?
Sharing a few appreciative words or showing concern doesn’t cost you anything but it can mean loads to the other person that they’re seen.
Likeability is certainly not rocket science: Care about people and they will care back.
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