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Wondering how to make people like you? The ability to easily connect with new people can be invaluable for your social life and career. Whether you want to get your next promotion or make friends in a new city, learning this skill can help.
We’ve all encountered people who are just likable. They’re a best-selling book that everyone seems to enjoy, and they don’t even have to try. When you meet someone like this, you instantly feel you can trust them.
Maybe it’s your CEO, whose charisma drives the company to success after success. Or maybe you know someone that can walk into a party and leave with a dozen new friends without even trying. Either way, the question is, how did they possibly achieve this level of likability? And, assuming you want to, can you learn how to make people like you?
Making friends doesn’t come naturally to everyone. Even so, we can all become more likable people. With a little guidance, you can start implementing habits to help you get along better with those around you.
Why is human connection so important?
We connect with people every day, whether we want to or not. At work, we collaborate with our coworkers to complete our jobs. On the weekends, we spend time with our best friends. Even a friendly stranger during your commute can transform your entire day.
Wherever you go, you’re likely to try to find common ground with people. Human connection has the power to foster a sense of community and help people feel less alone and alienated. A connection can make us feel more at ease knowing that there are like-minded people around us.
There are many different ways to feel a human connection, from mid-day coffee runs to Zoom calls with old friends. Even social media connects us with others. Staying in touch with your friends who live elsewhere is a great way to connect and boost your mood, too.
No matter who you’re connecting with, it’s clear why you might care about making people like you.
Connecting with others well is a talent that can help you for years to come. Whether you’re networking in your industry or giving a big presentation at work, it’s worth improving your social skills.
How to make people like you
You can’t magically make everyone like you the second you walk into a room. You don't need to either. Think about what your goals are: to make a new friend, to have a meaningful conversation, to experience a satisfying human connection.
Unless you're trying to win votes, most people don't need to make everyone like them. However, you can implement some new habits to help you stand out and make others comfortable around you.
Here are 10 tips to help make people like you:
- Use positive body language and make eye contact
- Be a good listener
- Ask questions about someone’s passions and interests
- Share stories about yourself
- Have a sense of humor and show people that you like to have fun
- Give and receive constructive feedback
- Be generous, but don’t let people take advantage of you
- Remember people’s names and how to pronounce them
- Have proper hygiene
- Acknowledge other people’s accomplishments and value
But should you try to make everyone like you?
Before you implement these tips, we need to talk about the downsides of learning how to make everyone like you. Becoming obsessed with people’s opinions of you isn’t healthy. Plus, seeking this kind of validation from others isn’t sustainable, and it doesn’t build true confidence.
Learning how to win friends and influence people might satisfy you temporarily. However, you could be winning the affection of people who don’t care for you as true friends should.
Not to mention, if you have social anxiety or another mental health disorder, it can be hard to learn how to make people like you. If this sounds like you, a platform like BetterUp can provide the guidance and support you need. Remember to give yourself compassion as you learn to improve your social skills.
5 ways to make people like you
Want to know the first step to learning how to make people like you? Improve your ability to communicate.
We can thank our communication skills for all our connections and how we interact with people. When we can’t convey our feelings, instructions, or basic interests, we can’t expect to form solid connections. This can keep us from getting ahead at work, deepening our friendships, and so much more.
Here are five ways to strengthen your communication skills in your personal and professional life:
1. Don’t ramble when you’re speaking
Being articulate takes you places. When communicating with people, we want them to understand us the first time, not the second or third. Choose your words wisely rather than rambling on and using words that don’t have a purpose. Be brief but specific, and drop unnecessary words. This will all help your public speaking and even small talk abilities.
2. Treat people with respect
Treating others respectfully may seem like an obvious way to make people like you. However, sometimes we lose respect for others — especially when emotions are running high. If you can learn to consistently show others courtesy, even when times are tough, you’ll become more likable.
For example, if you’re firing someone or having a difficult conversation at work, do so privately. Or if someone’s busy and you need help with a work project, you can respect their time by not interrupting them unless it is absolutely urgent. Everyone in your life will appreciate your ability to choose the right place and context in which to communicate.
3. Know when to stop and listen
An important part of communicating is actively listening to what the other person has to say. Communicating isn’t a one-way street. A good listener listens with intent, asks follow-up questions, and gives the other person their full attention.
These habits show people that we care about what they have to say. These days, we’re constantly distracted by social media, texts, and more. Becoming a better listener will truly make you stand out and help others like you more.
4. Proofread written messages
We all slip up and make grammar mistakes here and there. But when our mistakes make our communication more confusing, it’s the worst. We often waste time clarifying what we meant because of a simple slip on the keyboard.
Next time you’re writing a work email or working on a presentation, take a moment to proofread your messages carefully. Read them out loud and look for things that sound questionable or anything you’ve misspelled. This will also help you look more trustworthy to others.
5. Be conscious of body language
Are you aware of all the ways you communicate nonverbally? Our body language conveys our interests and emotions just like words do. Plus, facial expressions can tell people quickly if they’re interested in what they have to say.
Next time you’re making small talk, focus on your nonverbal cues. Can you lean in, nod along with what the other person is saying, or give an encouraging smile? If you do this consistently, you’ll quickly see how many more people like you.
Can you make people like you if you’re shy?
Shy people often struggle with being outgoing and making new friends. However, even if you’re an introvert at heart, you can make people like you. It just takes a few new habits and a will you put yourself out there. Remember, it’s okay to take things at your own pace.
If you’re shy, here are four tips to help people like you more:
- Begin to become comfortable leaving your comfort zone
- Keep things positive, from what you say to others to your self-talk
- Be confident in yourself and remember your strengths
- Focus on the person you’re engaging with, and don’t become distracted by your insecurities
5 extra tips to make people like you at work
Making friends in your personal life is different than making connections at work. In the office, you need to be professional and keep things appropriate. That said, there’s great value in making people like you more at work.
Maybe you want a promotion or to become a manager. You could also be looking to build your professional network for the future. Regardless, your social skills play a big part in your career success.
Here are five ways to make people like you more at work:
- Ask people questions about their work and what they enjoy about it
- Admit your weaknesses and when you need help
- Respect people’s boundaries and don’t be pushy
- Show that you’re invested in building a positive work culture
- Keep things professional, but try to connect on a fun and personal level, too
Moving forward: be yourself
Trying too hard to make friends can feel risky. You may try too hard to be someone you aren’t when really, we should never forget to be ourselves. Authentic interactions with people are much better than pretending to be someone we aren’t just for the sake of fitting in.
That said, “be yourself” can feel like useless advice. How do you authentically be yourself all the time?
Expressing yourself honestly and consistently will make you feel more connected with yourself Trying to keep up a persona we can’t truly relate to is exhausting. You’ll know meaningful connections when you make them because these friends won’t pressure you to change. Rather, they’ll celebrate who you are.
It takes confidence to be ourselves rather than succumbing to peer pressure. And knowing how to make people like you isn’t always obvious. By using a platform like BetterUp, you can get the support you need to build your self-confidence and prioritize your well-being long term.
Content Marketing Manager, ACC