What are attractive qualities in a person? Why do people who want friends look for these qualities?
Just like with romantic relationships, people are attracted to certain qualities they look for in friends. Jack Schafer and Marvin Karlins’s book The Like Switch provide a list of qualities you can inherit that people will find attractive.
To get a better sense of these attractive qualities in a person, keep reading.
Qualities That Attract New Friends
When you’re looking for potential friends, you may find it difficult to capture people’s attention. The authors describe a list of attractive qualities in a person that will better your chances of attracting new connections.
1. Inspiring curiosity. Have you ever noticed someone doing something in public that made you want to stop and ask them about it, like drawing a picture or filming a video? Curiosity naturally draws us to people. If you show off your unique hobbies, interests, and quirks, you’ll likely connect with people simply because they can’t resist finding out why you’re doing what you’re doing.
(Shortform note: Schafer and Karlins suggest you showcase a unique hobby or skill to make friends in the real world. You can do the same to attract dates using your profile picture in dating apps. According to experts, choosing a profile picture that inspires a sense of mystery and curiosity in potential matches will bring you success by enticing people to find out more about you. Maybe you’re a weekend woodworker, a film enthusiast, or an expert kayaker. Whatever hobby you choose to display, this picture will be your first impression on potential dates, so pick one that will inspire curious conversation openers.)
2. Being good-looking. Schafer and Karlin argue that being attractive (according to society’s beauty standards) makes it easier to make friends. Attractiveness involves more than your basic physical features—the way you dress, the way you hold yourself, and how you act can also impact it. We attribute more positive qualities, like intelligence and honesty, to attractive people, so more people will want to be around you if you’re judged as such.
(Shortform note: As the authors assert, we often attribute positive traits, like good health, kindness, and intelligence, to conventionally good-looking people. However, being attractive also comes with some disadvantageous assumptions that can stall the development of interpersonal relationships. Being physically attractive may make people seem intimidating and unapproachable. Attractive people are also often unfairly judged as entitled, self-centered, and incompetent, traits that most of us would want to avoid in friends. )
3. Making people laugh. The funnier you are, the more likely you’ll attract friends. If you’re able to keep interactions lighthearted and relaxed with appropriate use of humor, people will find it easier to open up to you. Your relationships will then progress more quickly. Laughter also releases endorphins, which help people associate good feelings with your presence.
4. Having high self-esteem. When you’re confident in yourself, you’re more likely to find it easy to talk to others and share personal information. Sharing helps to build intimacy and rapport in relationships, so the more you’re able to do this, the more people will want to be your friend.
How to Make Others Happy With Your Laughter
Schafer and Karlins argue that humor can be a great way to bring people together and make yourself (and others) feel good. Gretchen Rubin argues the same in The Happiness Project. According to Rubin, laughter lowers blood pressure, decreases stress levels, and helps to soothe conflicts.
In addition to making other people happy by making them laugh, Rubin asserts that you can increase the happiness of others with your laughter. She states that you should always oblige when other people try to make you laugh: Making you laugh will make them feel good. Force laughter if you have to—the resulting positive feelings the other person experiences will reflect back to you and make you feel genuinely good in turn.
What to Do When You Struggle With Low Self-Esteem
It’s true that when you love and respect yourself, it’s much easier to build healthy relationships with others. However, many people struggle with their self-esteem, which is a very attractive quality in a person. Here’s some advice to help you value and accept yourself.
First, when you make positive choices (such as exercising, eating healthy foods, or taking up a new hobby), don’t do so because you’re trying to make yourself appear “better” to others. Making changes because you think they’ll make you worthy of others’ love and acceptance won’t improve your self-esteem. Instead, make healthy choices from the perspective of loving and caring for yourself.
To combat low self-esteem, you also need to identify where it comes from. Maybe you were raised by highly critical parents or you experienced bullying in school. If you identify the source of your low self-esteem, you can learn to recognize that there’s nothing inherently wrong with you: Your circumstances merely conditioned you to believe that there is.
Finally, note that people with low self-esteem often attract people who reinforce their negative perception of themselves. Therefore, to avoid your self-esteem getting lower, regularly evaluate your current relationships for unhealthy patterns.
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Here's what you'll find in our full The Like Switch summary:
- How to cultivate the qualities you need to attract and connect with new friends
- How to have meaningful, smooth conversations with friends
- How you can productively manage conflict in relationships