We often confuse likability with sociability. However, the two are not inextricably linked. Your likability has nothing to do with whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert.
Rather, likable people take a genuine interest in others and create a positive environment around themselves. The good news? Likability can be learned, practiced, and achieved by anyone.
These five habits are easy to implement in your daily interactions and will help improve your likeability!
- Smile. As humans, we are biologically wired to scan our environment for threats. Right away, you can use body language like smiling to set others at ease and start an interaction off on the right foot. What’s more, smiling can help improve your mood and the mood of those around you since smiles are contagious! As an extra bonus, smiling and positive expressions can even increase the chances someone will remember you. Try smiling at someone when you wouldn’t normally and note how your mood, their mood, and your interaction shifts.
- Make eye contact and listen. Maintaining eye contact during a conversation shows you are interested in what they are saying and can increase trust. Take notes in a notebook, instead of on your laptop or phone, since the screen can act as a barrier. Active listening requires your full attention and NOT thinking of the next thing you’re going to say. So, if an important thought or question enters your mind, jot it down in your notebook so you can continue giving your full attention to the speaker. It sounds easy, but active listening takes practice. It’s rare and noticeable when a person does it well and others appreciate it.
- Ask thoughtful, open-ended questions. Asking questions not only shows you are listening, but it shows you are interested and care enough to want to know more. Jot down personal details about people you meet and ask them more about them the next time you converse. A brief exchange with an acquaintance, in which you inquire about something or someone they’ve mentioned to you previously, can be endearing and unexpected. What’s more, studies show people love to talk about themselves, and they will associate you with the positive feelings they experience from doing it.
- Have a sense of humor. Research shows that we gravitate towards people who are enjoying themselves, and humor plays an important role in this. Particularly during a tough time at work or a stressful project, injecting a bit of tasteful humor can help ease tension and create a positive environment around you. Even if you don’t think of yourself as being funny, mentioning something silly your kids did over the weekend or laughing at yourself after making a mistake can lighten the mood and put others at ease.
- Say good things about others. You know the saying, “If you can’t saying anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” Likable people live by it. While you might have scenarios, in which honest feedback is required, you can provide it without being negative. When you’ve been wronged or irritated, it’s tempting to vent, but don’t. When you say negative things about others, people may wonder what you say about them when they’re not around. In contrast, research suggests that when you say positive things about others, people will associate you with those positive traits.
Practice these five habits daily and notice how it changes your interactions, relationships, and mood. In practice, keep your mind on how you can serve others, rather than how you can make them like you. Your actions will be more genuine and better received. Likability will follow.