We all know those people who just light up the room. They’re like magnets; everyone wants to be around them. They can also leave others wondering, “How do you become so… likable?”
If you’ve always dreamed of feeling charming and charismatic instead of awkward and uncomfortable in any given situation, there’s hope! There are tricks to learning how to become likable (and yes, it is something you can learn!).
Likable people following certain trends and behaviors that have been validated by numerous studies and research. In this blog, we’ll dive into those studies of behavioral psychology that can help you be an even more compelling person. Let’s get started.
1. A likable person has positive and negative empathy
Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of one another. When you think of empathy, you probably think of feeling sad with someone. For example, when your friend’s dog died, perhaps you drew you on your own experience losing a pet. You felt empathy towards them, and you help memorialize them in a special way because of that experience.
Likable people have a special way of showing empathy through what we call “positive” and “negative” empathy. They share their feelings of excitement with others, and provide comfort depending on what others are experiencing.
An example of positive empathy would be showing excitement for someone deciding to start a new business venture.
An example of negative empathy would be comforting someone who found out that their significant other is in the hospital.
In both scenarios, you’re there for the person, mirroring their emotions and showing support, regardless of what they are going through.
2. A likable person is humble
Humility is an important trait shared by likable people. While it’s okay to be confident, there is a distinct difference between being confident and being arrogant. Likable people do not name drop, show off their awards, or act like they’re better than everyone else.
If you aren’t sure how to be humble, observe the actions of famously humble people, and model your behavior after them. A few examples of humble leaders include Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Barack Obama.
3. A likable person isn’t afraid to be vulnerable
When you’re vulnerable with other people, you really put yourself out there, even though you’re risking embarrassment or judgment. The Pratfall Effect demonstrates why this is a valuable trait. It’s a rule that says, by making a mistake or admitting to a mistake, we become more likable.
People connect with individuals who admit to their flaws. If you seem like you’re perfect all the time, you’ll come across as being harder to bond with. As a result, others won’t find you nearly as charismatic.
4. A likable person stays in the present
If you’re like most of the population, you have a cellphone that’s always vibrating with messages or pinging with notifications from various social media sites.
And, like most people, you may have trouble tuning out your online connections to tune into the present.
Likable people know the value of face-to-face conversations. Being present when you’re with people makes them feel significant and worthy. Giving them your full and undivided attention tells them that you’re serious about spending time with them, and that you genuinely want to be there.
5. A likable person shows genuine interest in everyone they meet
Have you ever met someone who really makes it clear that they want to get to know you?
It’s powerful because it so rarely happens these days. Most people who ask how you are don’t really even want to know.
Likable people don’t just pick and choose who they’re interested in. They know everyone has a story, and they want to hear it.
One way this can be observed is through “The Server Test.” This is a test that people often use during dates or business meetings. Anyone can be courteous to the people they’re trying to impress, but a kind and genuine person will extend that kindness and respect to anyone and everyone, including their server at a restaurant. Think about that the next time you go out to eat!
6. A likable person talks about others before themself
Have you ever heard the adage, “The best way to make friends is to listen more than you talk”?
Too often, people think that the best way to make friends is to talk, talk, and talk some more, just wanting to draw attention to themselves. They want to be funny, the center of attention. And yet, this isn’t what people respond to. Often, people love when others lend an ear and simply listen to them.
So, just don’t talk about yourself.
Focus on the other people you’re around, and ask them open-ended questions to start a conversation. You’ll be amazed at how much more rewarding these interactions are.
7. A likable person reciprocates praise
If you’re like most people, it might be hard to accept praise or compliments. Are you put off when people say, “Oh my gosh! I love your earrings”? Or if someone says “That’s a great hat! I really like your style”?
If so, you’re far from alone, and most people have no idea how to respond. They’re flattered, but embarrassed. A likable person knows that this is an opportunity to reciprocate praise, rather than to just receive it. Most people give compliments without expecting anything in return, but it’s still an ideal opportunity for you to empower someone who wasn’t anticipating any kindness.
So, the next time your coworker says, “Wow! You did such a great job on this presentation,” make sure you say, “Thank you so much, but it was definitely a team effort, and the rest of the team was also crucial to making it look great.”
Learning how to be likable and charismatic can help you feel more confident and more like your true self. We all have a psychological need to belong – there is nothing wrong with learning how to interact in ways that make you feel self-assured and at ease.
Also, remember that smiling and being a little funny can make you be more lovable, as well as helping you connect with more people.
Interested in other methods of self-improvement? Check out our blog on 11 Ways to Train Your Brain. These are tried and true ways to train your brain and make you sharper. You can also check out 4 Real Guide on Instagram for more self-love and self-improvement tips so you can become the best version of you.