Most people on planet Earth want to be likable. There are even websites that cater to people who feel they are unlikable. When I search for “how to be unlikable”, the search results included pages for “how to be likable”, as if Google thought I made a mistake and couldn’t believe someone would want to know how to be unlikable. What really got me thinking about being likable is the scene from the Shawshank Redemption, when Red meets Andy. The clip is below, and the phrase that caught me was at the end when Red says “Yeah, I think it would be fair to say…I liked Andy from the start.”

How does one become likable from the start? Do people find me likable from the start? I’m afraid to find out. Or do I come across as snobbish, or boring, or arrogant? Those are definitely attributes of someone who is unlikable. Do I interrupt people’s stories, or humblebrag, or namedrop? I don’t think I do. But maybe instead of looking at unlikability, let me make sure I am doing things to make me likable.

This site has some great body language tips to make anyone instantly like me.  I was looking for something a little quicker, but instantaneous sounds good enough, although some of the tips sound a little suspect, such as not smiling at someone right away but instead, wait a moment and then flash a big smile at them. But I’m game, I’ll give it a try. Other tips include counting the number of my conversation partner’s blinks, which better focuses my eyes on them. I’m afraid though that I’ll get caught up counting blinks and completely miss what they are trying to say.

Another site has tips that a little different in nature. Instead of focusing on physical techniques for making people like you, the site explores mental ways of achieving this. One is the Tom Sawyer hypothesis, which is that when people do favors for you, the act makes them like you more. I like the sound of that idea.

The best site I found was this one. And they are very practical without being weird like counting blinks. To get people to like me more, simply do these things:

  1. Ask questions.
  2. Talk more, not less. This is very true for me. One of my former bosses biggest criticism of me was that I don’t speak enough.
  3. Lighten up. See the humor in things.

To bring it all together for my deliberate actions for today, I’m going to pause then smile, focus on their eyes, ask more questions, speak more, and lighten up.

Photo from Flickr – Zennie Abraham. Some rights reserved.

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