How to Be Likable: 5 Ways to Unleash Your Inner Charm

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Can you learn how to be likable? What qualities are deemed likable by most people?

Likability is not an attribute that you either have or don’t have—anyone can cultivate it. One of the distinguishing traits of likable people is that they show genuine friendship and kindness to others.

Without further ado, here are five tips on how to be likable.

5 Tips to Become More Likable

Likability is a factor in all aspects of your life, especially your career. If have the technical skills for a new job but you’re deemed unlikable, you won’t get the position. You have to fit in with other people to achieve success. 

You can’t fake likability or bribe your way into others’ good graces; you’ll end up just creating contempt in the people whose support you’re trying to gain.

If you want to learn how to be likable, follow these five tips:

  1. Take the initiative to build new friendships.
  2. Don’t expect perfection in other people.
  3. Tune in to “Channel P” and not “Channel N.” 
  4. Don’t monopolize the conversation. Let others talk.
  5. Don’t blame others when there’s a setback.

1) Take the Initiative to Build New Friendships

When you take the initiative to introduce yourself to other people, you build more friendships and relationships, gaining more support. 

Successful people go out of their way to meet people and put others at ease. There are six ways to emulate this:

  1. Introduce yourself to other people at every opportunity, whether it’s a work event, on an airplane or on an elevator.
  2. Make sure the other person hears and knows your name.
  3. Make sure you know the other person’s name. Know how to pronounce it correctly.
  4. Make sure you know how to spell the other person’s name. Write it down.
  5. Follow up with a note (email or text if appropriate). If you want to know them better, it’s important to follow through and take the next step.
  6. Say nice things to strangers. Offer sincere compliments. 

Average people wait for others to introduce themselves. Successful people take the initiative, finding out who the other person is—and making sure that other person knows who they are.

2) Don’t Expect Perfection in Other People

The perfect person doesn’t exist; we’re all human. When you expect perfection from others — coworkers, superiors, family, partners, friends — you set yourself up for disappointment and diminish your likability.

Learn to go easy on other people:

  • Understand that no one is perfect. We’re all just human beings who make mistakes.
  • Recognize that others can be very different from you. We all have our own life experiences, habits, cultures, religions. You don’t have to approve of everything someone else does, but you must not dislike him for it.
  • Don’t try to change other people’s opinions or beliefs. It’s not up to you to reform. Instead, live and let live respectfully.

3) Tune in to Channel P When Dealing With Other People

Picture your mind as a mental broadcasting station with two powerful channels, Channel P (positive) and Channel N (negative). You filter other people through the antenna of Channel P or Channel N.

  • Say your boss calls you into her office for a review. She has positive things to say, but also offers feedback on ways you could improve. 
    • If you’re tuned into Channel N, you view this encounter as a beatdown; you’ve been attacked for your work. The boss is unreasonable.
    • If you’re tuned to Channel P, you reflect on the good input and appreciate the improvement advice; you can now grow and advance. Your boss is a thoughtful leader trying to help you.

To grow as a likable successful person, keep your antenna tuned to Channel P. Guard against being sucked into Channel N when others spew negativity. Change the subject and stay tuned to Channel P.

4) Don’t Monopolize the Conversation

Listen in on conversations around you. Who is doing the most talking — the more successful person or the least successful person? Successful people let others do the talking. They practice “conversation generosity,” encouraging the other person to speak up about her family, views, and issues. 

Conversation generosity is important to likability: 

  • It helps you win friends; the other person sees you as an interested, excellent listener — plus people like talking about themselves. 
  • It helps you learn about other people; the more you know about other people, the better you can influence them. 
    • For example, if you’re an advertising writer, listening to what people do and don’t like about a product can help you write effective copy. 

As a bonus, when you spend more time listening  you may become genuinely fascinated by the person’s opinions and worldview (recall that to build an “I’m Activated” attitude, you should learn more about something you find uninteresting). 

5) Don’t Blame Others When There’s a Setback

Dealing with others is easy when everything is going great. The real test comes when things go wrong. But how you think when you lose has a direct effect on when you’ll win again.

When things don’t go your way, don’t blame others. Instead, ask yourself what you can do to improve and better your chances when the next opportunity arises.

Don’t beat yourself up after a setback, either. Learn from the setback and move on with grace. Stay positive and look toward your next opportunity for success.

How to Be Likable: 5 Ways to Unleash Your Inner Charm

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Darya Sinusoid

Darya’s love for reading started with fantasy novels (The LOTR trilogy is still her all-time-favorite). Growing up, however, she found herself transitioning to non-fiction, psychological, and self-help books. She has a degree in Psychology and a deep passion for the subject. She likes reading research-informed books that distill the workings of the human brain/mind/consciousness and thinking of ways to apply the insights to her own life. Some of her favorites include Thinking, Fast and Slow, How We Decide, and The Wisdom of the Enneagram.

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