The Blog

Likeability 101

So you want to get invited to parties. You want to be likable and have people want you around. I've been doing research into this subject for some of my clients and feel as though I've come to a conclusion. Obviously, different people have differing opinions on what they like or dislike in others, but I think there are some on which we can all agree. Three things kept popping up time and again in my search for what makes a person likable. They are humility, curiosity and empathy.

#1. Humility- This one is more about what turns people off than what turns people on. Almost no one is going to like you if you think or especially act like you're better than they are. People who are humble are almost always likable because they make it easy for you to be on their level. It's easy to see eye-to-eye and connect with someone when they have this trait. Humility gives a person a leg up when it comes to likeability because you don't have to prove yourself to feel worthy of their attention. Obviously, self-confidence is attractive, but humility is not a lack of self-confidence, it's a lack of pompousness.

#2. Curiosity- People who have this trait are likable because they are interesting. They are growing and learning all the time. They'll have stories to share and are interested in the stories of others as well. Curious people know how to ask good open-ended questions and are good conversationalists as a result. They ask the right questions and truly listen to your answers because they are curious about what you are going to say. True curiosity is infectious. When you are excited about knowing or learning something, that excitement spreads. It makes you fun, fresh and likable.

#3-Empathy- Empathy is at the core of most, if not all, of the social skills. Empathy brings people closer, and makes others feel understood and less alone. Almost all human beings long for connection and empathy is the personality trait that best affords this to others. Genuinely caring about others makes you likable because people want and need to be cared about. Understanding the emotions of others takes empathy and when people feel understood, they feel connected. They like you.

Likeability is not about popularity. That's a whole other subject and not one that I want to get into. People make all kinds of bad choices to be popular, but likeability is a whole other thing. By having these three traits of likeability, you can not only make yourself more likable, but also just make yourself a better person. With humility comes a proper perspective where you can accurately see your place in the world. With curiosity comes the joy of learning and the fun of living. Lastly, with empathy comes a deeper understanding of and connection to the people that you want to like you. These traits will also, just as an added benefit, make it easier for you to like yourself.