Are You a Likable Person?

E.B. Johnson

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by: E.B. Johnson (Image via Twenty20.com)

We are living through unprecedented times. Through the advent of social media and the growing trend of “individualism at all costs” — we have found ourselves in a place where we can feel more personally important than ever before. While feeling ourselves is great, it can come at the cost of likability. Are you someone who is easy to connect with? Or are you far less friendly than you think? Getting the answer requires embracing radical self-awareness.

Signs you’re not as likable as you think you are.

Are you truly a likable person? Or are you a little more rough around the edges than you think? When we have a low level of likability, it can make it hard for others to see us for who we truly are. Want to build better, happier, and more stable relationships with friends, family, and even co-workers? Beware of these behaviors and the way they push others away.

You like to brag a lot

Are you someone who likes to brag a lot? Think back to your last 3 casual phone conversations. How much of that time was spent telling your friend or loved one about your latest victory? Did you go on-and-on about your accomplishments? What happened when you were done? Did you leave any room for them to talk about their own victories? People who brag too much are repulsive, and they don’t particularly make for solid, reliable friends either.

You always put yourself first

Someone who always puts themselves first is not generally someone with a high level of likability. That’s why politicians make their campaigns all about “the people”. We like people that we think are also looking out for us. When someone proves that they only care about their own happiness, it can cause us to distrust them or dislike them. If you want better friendships and better relationships, you have to learn to put others first, sometimes too (when appropriate).

You rip others apart

Have you ever been around a mean-spirited person? Ever listened while they ripped apart someone’s latest win or proud achievement? It’s not fun to hang around people who tear others down. It’s especially unpleasant when they do it just to make themselves look or feel superior. Are you someone who likes to negate everything good in the lives of your friends or family? It’s an unlikable quality and one that’s likely to get you nowhere in life (or love).

You’re always negative

Negativity is powerful and addictive, and it can undermine the quality of our lives in a number of ways. Chief among these is the way in which it destroys our relationships and our ability to connect with new friends. When you’re always negative, it pushes people away from you. It’s hard to get close when spending time on someone only results in bad emotions and negative energy. To truly connect with others, we have to learn to see the brighter side in them and in ourselves too.

You don’t make any room

How much room do you make in your life for your loved ones? Is there ever a time when it’s all about them? Or do you dominate every horizon of your relationship? Do you demand that all attentions be focused on you and the drama you’re dealing with in life? When we don’t make room for others to talk, share experiences, or even enjoy themselves around us — we fall into a pattern of being unlikable. This causes you to see your friends and loved ones more as accessories, or courtiers, whose soul purpose is to make you look better in whatever facet you desire.

How to improve the way you connect with others.

Do you want to increase your likability? Do you want to make it easier for your loved ones to open up to you (Guadagno, 2013? Do you want to finally find your tribe? By learning to be more kind to ourselves, we can learn to be more kind to others. Don’t change who you are. Focus on building compassion and an interest in other people (and their victories) instead.

1. Create more compassion

Compassion is a great starting place when it comes to increasing likability. The most abrasive and unlikable people are often that way because of a deep-seated dislike of self (or insecurity and fear of getting close). To overcome that, we have to look inward and find the compassion and kindness we’ve denied to ourselves and to others. After all, how can you show anyone else compassion if you don’t even know how to show it to yourself?

Tap into that basic sense of compassion that you’ve been turning your back on. Start first by extending it to yourself. Drop the constant self-criticizing and drop the endless comparisons too. You are a loved and loving individual. Embrace that. Be kind to yourself and it will be easier to be kind to others.

Once you’ve mastered the art of self-compassion, extend your outer empathy. Connect with the people that you value and put yourself in their shoes. What did it feel like the last time you got angry? The last time someone hurt you? Know that every single person around you is living their own version of that same story. Empathize with their journey and know that your pain is felt by those that matter too. The greater your compassion, the greater your likability.

2. Embrace greater self-awareness

It’s impossible to deny the transformative power of self-awareness and the ways in which it can make us better people, partners, and friends. Moving through life without situational and emotional awareness will guarantee you heartache and an ever-expanding sea of regrets and mistakes. By becoming aware of how you affect yourself and others, you become better equipped to identify your needs and the ways in which you best connect with the world around you.

Focus in on building an awareness of emotions, behaviors, beliefs, and how they come together to shape who you are. Once you’ve identified these factors, turn inward again and look at the way in which they have affected your ability to connect with and relate to others.

Self-awareness is a superpower tool that can enhance the quality of our lives when we open the door to it. Cultivating self-awareness is hard, though. To build it, you have to confront all your emotions (even the bad ones) as well as the experiences that bring those emotions up. Then you have to look outward and admit how you’ve helped people and how you’ve hurt them to. Once you become aware of self, you will see these same patterns in others. Therein lies the power to increase likability and connect on more authentic levels.

3. Seek to create a 50/50 split

A great cause of being disliked as a friend or even a spouse commonly comes from a lack of reciprocal care. When you don’t return the love your loved ones give, they get turned off and start to feel as though they aren’t appreciated by you. When this becomes a pattern, it becomes repulsive to the new people who attempt to come into our lives. If you want to better connect with others, you have to get out of your own way and give back the same effort you receive.

Instead of talking about yourself all the time, stop and ask questions about the people that you care for (or are interested in). Make as much room as possible for your special people and their emotions. Mindfully and consciously return to them all the love, respect, time, and energy they give to you. Listen actively to the information they choose to share with you.

Make your friendship, your marriage, your partnership a 50/50 split. Be intentional in your acts of affection and be intentional in the way in which you make room for the people in your life. When you welcome people into your world, they will feel welcomed. The relationships we share with others are not built to pay tribute to us. They’re built to make this difficult life more enjoyable. So enjoy your relationships and place them appropriately in your life.

4. Focus on the brighter side

It’s easy to get caught up in all the chaos of the world. In the last decade we’ve been exposed to a sharp decline in our quality of life, and it’s had a lasting effect on who we are and how we connect with others. If we want to find any spark of light in the darkness of it all, we have to learn to find the brighter side. We do this through gratitude and an intentional determination to be more positive in our lives and our relationships.

Unless you want to spend the rest of your life losing friends (or attracting equally negative ones) you’ve got to learn how to dwell on the brighter side of life from time-to-time. Sure, the world is a tough place, but we don’t have to make our relationships tough too.

Positive people attract positive people. Therefore, we can assume that the opposite is also true. You need to learn to confront the worst in yourself, expecting those around you to do better. Through darkness comes light. Get your head out of the storm clouds and look for things you can appreciate in your life and your current relationships. Finding simple points of gratitude is a powerful way to transform both our outlook and the way we present to others in this life.

5. Celebrate the people you love

One of the biggest reasons people find us unlikable is our obsession with self. Many of us easily celebrate our own wins in life, but we don’t always do the same for our friends, family, and spouses. If you value these people — and you want to keep them in your life — then you have to give them what they give you. You have to want them to be happy. You have to want them to thrive, and you have to celebrate with them when they do.

Get outside of your ego for a little while and focus on the people who brighten your life or give you their time. Make sure they know that they’re special in your life. Celebrate their wins with them. Want them to triumph as badly as you want yourself to triumph and overcome the adversity you’re facing.

People like us when we’re nice to them. They like us when we want the best for them, and when we want it simply because they hold a special place in our heart. Instead of running to your friends and family only when you want something, go out of your way to celebrate them simply for being a part of your life. Friendships become easy when we stop making each other work for every bit of connection we achieve.

Putting it all together…

Are you a likable person? For many, it’s an important question to ask. When we’re likable, we’re able to connect with people who enrich our lives in several ways. It’s not about changing who we are, it’s simply about being the person we would want to be around.

One of the best ways to connect with others is to cultivate more compassion in your life. Start by extending this compassion to yourself and being kinder to yourself when you mess up or make mistakes. As you become less critical, you will become more pleasurable to be around. Embrace a greater self-awareness and notice how your moods and your pain are affecting those around you. Seek to create a greater split of time and effort in the relationships you cherish. Ask questions. Be interested in the people you bring into your life. Positivity, too, can be a powerful tool in increasing likability and our ability to connect with others. Focus on the lighter side of yourself and the lighter side of your relationships with those you love. Lift people up around you and celebrate their wins with them.

  • Guadagno, R. E., Muscanell, N. L., Rice, L. M., & Roberts, N. (2013). Social influence online: The impact of social validation and likability on compliance. Psychology of Popular Media Culture, 2(1), 51–60. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0030592

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Writer. Host. Certified coach. Host of the Practical Growth Pod. Master Practitioner NLP. Get all my books and resources at the link below.

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