Everyone likes to be liked. And yet, though most will visit the gym to improve their physical appeal, fewer will work to improve their personality. This is a shame, since by following a few simple rules, anyone can make themselves more popular.
1) Cheer people up. Most people find life difficult. They know the world is full of sadness and pain. They know about climate change, rising sea levels, and overpopulation, and they do not wish to be reminded, nor do they wish to hear about your neighbor’s terminal cancer or your friend’s crippling depression. Be cheerful. People seek out those who make them feel better about life, and avoid those who make them feel worse.
2) Make them feel better about themselves. Many people struggle with self-esteem, so the better you can make them feel about themselves, the more they will enjoy your company. Never forget, self-esteem depends on how people feel they compare with others. When you boast, you threaten the other person’s self-image, making them prickly and defensive. Gentle self-mockery is far more attractive.
3) Consider your basic attitude toward people. Never underestimate people. No matter how you try to hide it, if you believe you are funnier, smarter, or better educated than others, they will sense it. Try and see the best in people. Approach them with sympathy, curiosity, and an open heart. Above all, do not run others down behind their back. Not only does it seem nasty, sneaky, and petty, but the person you are talking to will wonder if you do the same to them as well.
4) Find their passion. If you like somebody and hope to strike up a friendship, spend time getting to know their passion. Perhaps they love French cinema or British comedy, or martial arts or medieval poetry. If you wish to make a friend, take an interest in this passion. Ask them about it and watch their eyes sparkle and their face glow.
5) Don’t talk about yourself. It may be hard to accept, but that year you spent backpacking around South America is of interest only to those planning to do the same. And be wary of anecdotes (you truly did have to be there to appreciate how funny it was).
6) Work on your conversation skills. The “lost art” of conversation, perfected in the literary salons of 18th- and 19th-century Europe, involved a degree of civilized restraint. Don’t boast, interrupt, or monopolize the conversation, and avoid any hint of pomposity or superiority. And never treat the other person as an audience; conversation should be a two-way exchange. The best conversationalists listen as well as speak.
7) Work on your voice. People judge one another on how they look and sound more than on what they say. A dreary, monotonous voice will spoil even the most dazzling and scintillating of conversations. So when you are home alone, try reading aloud from great poetry and prose, varying the tone and speed of your voice.
8) Be friendly. Smile, laugh, maintain eye contact, and keep your body language open and welcoming. Before you moan about the unfriendliness of others, consider just how friendly you are to others.
9) Be your own person. Everyone dislikes a fake. And no one wishes to befriend someone without a personality of their own.
10) Don’t try too hard. Learn to do the above without seeming to try. A needy wish to be liked is unattractive. However, be careful not to seem arrogant or aloof; give people the impression that you like them but don’t need them.
You will never be liked by everyone of course, but if practice the 10 aforementioned tips, you will be more popular than ever.