It's human nature to want to be liked and to want to surround yourself with people that you like. As a little kid, I would bring special cookies to school in hopes that the other kids would like me and include me in their jump rope game. As we get older, we learn that, while cookies can be helpful in the liking game, there are many other small things you can do to get more people to like you.
In this quest, it's important to also go back to childhood habits and state that when I talk about like, I mean pure enjoyment or affection. I'm not talking about the romantic. ("Do you like me? Or like-like me?") My book club has been mulling one question for all of our years together — can you like a book if you don't like the main character, or any characters at all? I'm working on a novel that centers around the theme of people liking people who smile more. That's all about fiction, but it translates into real life.
Ultimately, one hopes that people will get to know you and like you for yourself, but it can be important to make a good first impression and get off on the likable foot. Some of it is confidence. People often gravitate toward someone who seems sure of themselves. Of course, it's a fine line because someone who is too sure of themselves can be intimidating. Knowing all of that, there have to be small shortcuts one can take to put other people at ease and make them feel good enough to feel like they like me. My partner is a pro at this. He knows how to ask people questions and get them talking about themselves. He's always upbeat and people enjoy that. And he's funny. Funny is a great thing to be. If you can laugh with someone and make them laugh, well, you're heading straight for "the like zone." Here are 23 more little ways to get there:
1. Use The Right Words
There are some words that just make people like you more. According to Inc, saying things like "You're welcome," or "How can I help?" or even referring to someone as "Sir" or "Ma'am" can set you on a conversational path to affinity. Even something as simple as, "Here's what's happening" before you proceed to explain something will put people more at ease.
When you smile at someone, it instantly signals that you are friendly and approachable. According to Health Guidance, seeing someone smile doesn't just make you feel good, but your "mirror neurons" fire, causing you to smile, too.
3. Include Them In A Conversation
There's nothing more awkward than standing in a group of people and no one talking to you. If someone at a party grabs me and includes me in their conversation, I'll love them forever.
4. Laugh At Their Jokes
Even if you have to fake laugh (though try to make it seem genuine), people feel very good if they've made someone else laugh. According to Gretchen Rubin of The Happiness Project, people prefer to wow you with their humor than to have you try to wow them.
5. Employ Self-Deprecation
Arrogance turns me off, but I can relate right away to a person who'll tell me their faults. In fact, I typically like self-deprecating people much better than overly confident ones. Being able to criticize yourself or make jokes at your own expense often sets people at ease in your presence, as there's less pressure to be perfect.
I spend much of my day competing with screens for the attention of my family or even strangers on the street. When someone listens, truly listens to me, they have my instant affection.
7. Don't Keep Looking Around The Room While Talking
Okay, so maybe there are many more things of interest in the room than me, but it sure feels awful when the person you are talking with keeps looking around the room. If you keep your focus on the person you are talking with, they will like you much more.
8. "Like" Posts On Social Media
I'll like you if you like me. When I post on social media, part of me is eager for likes (okay, a big part of me). It's validating when someone likes something you find funny, cute, or important. My theory is likes are free, so why not be liberal with them and use them for any posts that catches your eye, amuses you, or engages you? According to the American Medical Association, getting likes on a social media post releases dopamine, the hormone that makes you feel good. It's just like getting a virtual hug.
9. Ask Questions
Questions are great ice breakers in two ways, as reported in Time. The first is that people love to talk about themselves, so asking them getting-to-know-you questions makes them feel good. People also like to be able to help, so questions that require assistance, like, "How do I download this app?" or, "What time is the train due?" make people feel needed.
10. Offer Help
For free. With no request of payback or strings attached.
11. Say "I Don't Know"
No one likes a know-it-all. Sometimes saying "I don't know" shows a vulnerable side of you that people like. And then they can jump in and help with the answer, which empowers them to feel good about themselves, according to Time.
12. Go With The Flow
Being pushy and demanding doesn't exactly endear you to others. As noted in the aforementioned Time article, learning to chill and allowing others to make the decisions can go a long way in friendships, especially early ones.
Saying you are sorry for things that aren't even your fault can make people like you more, according to a study done by Harvard Business School. Researchers sent people to the train station and had them ask to borrow a stranger's cellphone. The ones who apologized for the bad weather before they asked the favor had a higher rate of success than the ones who simply asked the favor.
14. Trade Confessions
If someone tells you something personal about themselves, the best thing you can do is share something personal right back. According to a 2013 study published in the Journal of Social Psychology, "participants who disclosed reciprocally reported greater liking, closeness, perceived similarity, and enjoyment of the interaction after the ﬁrst interaction than participants who disclosed non-reciprocally."
15. Make Eye Contact During Someone Else's Joke
Laughter is a shared experience. According to Entrepreneur, when someone makes a joke, people try to make eye contact with the person they feel closest. Seek out someone in the group and make that connection.
16. Nod Your Head During a Conversation
Nodding your head shows that you are present (if even you aren't). People want to be listened to, so they are going to like someone who is doing that.
17. Use Someone's Name When You First Meet
According to Entrepreneur, repeating someone's name three times in the first five minutes of conversation will totally soften them up to you. Be careful not to make it looked too forced or to look like you are grasping to remember their name.
18. Show Excitement
People respond to positive people and if you are excited about something, it's very likely the person you are with will see you as likable. According to a study conducted by Ohio University and the University of Hawaii, people reflect the emotion of those around them, so if you are projecting positivity, people will feel more positive about you.
Mimicking someone's body movements can actually cause them to like you more — this is known as the Chameleon Effect. According to Explorable, researchers from NYU studied this effect, and found that when they imitated the movements of some of their study subjects, those study subjects reported a higher incidence of liking the researcher.
20. Spend More Time Together
Seeing someone again and again and again can make you like them more, as another useful "effect" is the "Exposure Effect." In 1990, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh sent four women into a lecture class over the course of a semester. Each woman was there a different amount of times and then members of the class were shown their photos and asked if they liked them. The woman who had attended class most often was named as the one the students liked.
If you describe someone as kind or generous, they are likely to feel the same way about you. According to Business Insider, Spontaneous Trait Transference is a phenomenon where one person associates another person with the qualities the other person uses to describe them. This works even if the the person doesn't believe they really have those qualities. So tell a new acquaintance how nice they are and they will likely believe the same about you.
22. Seek Out Commonalities
We're more alike as people than different. Start a conversation by seeking out things you might have in common. According to psychologist Robert Cialdini in Forbes, one of the most overlooked strategies in getting people to like you is to is to "rapidly seek out commonalities with the person you’re meeting, which creates a level of shared trust."
"The connection doesn’t have to be that unique or meaningful — perhaps you’re both runners, or you both grew up in the Midwest," he added. "But it serves a powerful psychological purpose and can dramatically enhance your chances of being liked immediately."
23. Don't Be Fake
Most people have pretty high BS detectors and can tell when someone they meet is snowing them. Even with all of the advice above, you need to be as genuine as possible about it all.
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