How to Become More Likeable


Likeable people do better in life in general. They attract more people to them, along with opportunities and invitations. Some say they are likeable because they get more “breaks” than the average person. I think it’s the opposite, and there is a lot of research to back up my opinion. I wrote about the happiness advantage here. But if likeable people get further in life, can we become more likeable, or are we dealing with an inherited genetic code that has our gregarious dial preset before birth? No matter what our natural predisposition is, I’m certain we all can improve our likeability factor by changing a few key behaviors.

how to become more likeable

Stop talking about yourself. When we meet new people, the natural tendency is to tell them all about us. Likeable people do the opposite. They find a way to engage the other party in talking about themselves. The more someone talks about themselves, the more they will like you. Just don’t be the one doing all the talking.

Smile. It amazes me how many people walk around looking like they are ready to pick a fight. Next time you’re in a crowd of people you don’t know well, try smiling. You’ll find people walk over to you and introduce themselves to you. Just don’t smile and wink at the same time. You’ll attract a whole different type of attention.

Don’t argue. This goes hand in hand with listening more than talking. Likeable people focus on what they have in common with their audience instead of their differences. Argumentative people want to know your political and religious views right off the bat so they can make clear where they stand. If you start there, expect people to slowly walk away from you and your diatribes and join the smiling pleasant guy on the other side of the room.

What other behaviors of pleasant people would you include in this list?


  • Remember the details. If a contact mentions that his daughter is playing in the Little League finals, the next time you see him, ask how they did. It’s a natural, but often overlooked, followup to your first point.

    Lend a hand. Don’t let your offer to help be just an offer.

  • Pc3chris

    Become a “servant” of those you meet. A simple asking someone how you can help them positions you in a posture of mutual submission…. That is highly attractive.

  • jmsierra

    A simple thing as remembering their name at the end of the conversation.

    • There’s something powerful that happens when someone says your name. I agree.

  • Steve Cooper

    You’re likable. Thanks for the thoughts.

  • justinlathrop

    Love this post. I actually just released an Ebook called, Likeability: What social media has taught us about becoming better humans.
    Would love for you to check it out.

  • SLOBeachboy

    Well your heart is in the right place but unfortunately what you are saying is a gross oversimplification of the problem. Likeable people exhibit these traits naturally due to their attitude towards life, and our attitudes are determined by our underlying psychological makeup. An unlikable person cannot become likeable simply by trying to mimic some of the external characteristics of likeable people. For example when you see a child who is always walking around with his head down you can bet that he has some issues. He is probably very introverted and troubled and has few friends. But you cannot simply tell him to walk around with his head held high and expect everything to suddenly be okay. His outward mannerism are just a manifestation of what’s going on deep down inside. And it’s these internal issues that are actually alienating others and making him unhappy, not the outward manifestations of those issues.

    Trying to mask or alter your body language or speech to give people the impression you are different than you really are is fine for a job interview (or if you’re a professional poker player) but if you really want people to like you and you want to be truly happy in life you have to deal with the internal issues that are causing you to exhibit these negative external characteristics in the first place (most people who are not liked by others, somewhere deep down inside don’t think they deserve to be liked).

    Of course there are a few rare people who, when continually put through the motions of mimicking happy people, will change internally to a certain degree to match the external (like in the movie “Yes Man”) but they are the exceptions to the rule. Still I guess it cant hurt to try. I think most people will find it a lot harder than they imagine though. For example if you were to go up and question one of those people walking around with a scowl on their faces you would find that many of them were not even aware they were scowling. And once aware they might consciously try to change it but by the end of the day they would forget all about it and their face would look the same again. These people would have to have a friend shadow them everywhere they went and constantly remind them that they were scowling or looking depressed, or whatever.

    And it’s the same with compulsive talkers (those who talk continuously and don’t give others a chance to talk or even acknowledge what other say to them). These people have a compulsion to talk like this and even if made aware of it it would be impossible for them to alter this behavior for more than a few minutes.

    By the way, when you said “The more someone talks about themselves, the more they will like you” I think what you really meant to say was “The more you show an interest in what a person has to say the more likely they are to like you”.

    As for people who are confrontational and like to argue they are also compelled to be that way and they can only be changed from the inside out

    Anyway you are correct about peoples characters not being determined by the “breaks” they get in life, and in fact we all make our own breaks in life. We are of course greatly effected by our environments, particularly in early childhood but its also true that we are all born as unique individuals and all have varying degrees of immunity to these negative or traumatic environmental factors(Sadly the majority of people on this planet end up being little more than a product of their environments however). Genetics does not even come into though and has absolutely nothing to do with who we are.

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