By the time you’re an adult you pretty much know whether or not you’re considered “likeable.” You might profess that you don’t really care if people like you, or you know you have some ingrained habits that make you a bit off-putting to others, but the simple truth is that being likeable is a positive attribute that can serve you well in business and in life.
Likeable people share some attributes that can easily be learned. If you don’t feel these are intrinsic to your personality, try making a few of these behavioral adjustments.
We all know people who are referred to as “downers.” These folks always see the glass half empty and dwell on the negative in almost any situation. Really likeable people rarely if ever show that sense of impending gloom and doom. They know how to avoid the depressive tendencies of downers and elevate others moods. At social events and work gatherings their conversation is upbeat.
We can spot a “phony” from a mile away and usually shy away from them as much as possible. Sure they may have a big smile plastered on their face and may even appear enthusiastic or concerned (whatever the “right” response should be) but their attention and reactions are superficial with little substance or follow-through. People appreciate and like their business/personal contacts to be honest and genuine and would rather have an honest reaction and feedback rather than anything that is false.
Likeable people might be interesting, but they are also interested. They ask questions because they are truly curious and make demonstrable efforts to learn about you. They reflect upon your answers, ask some more questions, and before you know it you feel appreciated and important (two basic human wants!).
Likeable people know they can drop their guard and not appear omniscient at all times. We share the human condition and should be able to relax, smile and approach people openly and with confidence, not arrogance.
Everyone likes to smile and laugh, and likeable people have a good sense of humor that they use wisely and to their advantage. Their jokes and patter are not vindictive, and they are able to laugh at themselves as well. They also intrinsically recognize situations when a joke or lighthearted commentary would be inappropriate, consciously avoiding situations which will make others uncomfortable.
There are many more traits of likeable people, and it is all but impossible to determine which are more important than the others. Attributes like flexibility, enthusiasm, and humility, to name a few, are all embraced by likeable people. And as I said, the good news is that with a few adjustments everyone can be likeable or at least “more” likeable. What about you? Are you likeable?
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