In today’s society, many people measure their popularity in terms of how many “likes” they get on Instagram or Facebook. However, this can give a somewhat misleading picture of reality and at the same time it can also lead to a dissatisfaction with oneself and one’s personality if one really uses this as one of the yardsticks. How many of those you interact with on social media do you really know personally?
A much more important measure is the reality you live in, with real interactions between people. While it’s important to be yourself, you also need to be able to adapt to others in order to function in a society – especially if you want to be liked.
Of course, it is not possible to be liked by everyone. In some contexts, you will come across people who have such widely differing values about most things that it is simply not possible to get along.
What qualities make us liked by other people?
However, there are certain rules that increase the likelihood of being liked by others. Dale Carnegie’s 1936 masterpiece How to Win Friends and Influence People mentions at least the following 9 rules on how to handle human relationships and thus become more liked. You can also test how well-liked you are among other people.
Don’t criticize, don’t condemn and don’t complain.
There are good and bad ways to criticise. We also have different ways of dealing with criticism. Since it can be difficult to know exactly how other people will react, it is rarely a good strategy to be too blunt in your criticism. It is better to try to be diplomatic and instead make suggestions for improvement or discuss any problems. No one likes a person who complains about everything in life. Such a person becomes difficult to deal with in the long run. Showing a compassionate side and avoiding condemning others also gives you the confidence in others that shows you are a good person.
Show your appreciation.
For fear of appearing condescending, we too rarely express our appreciation to others. If you are truly sincere in your opinion, you should express it because kind words can really matter. One should never BELIEVE something solely on the basis of how someone reacts. Show empathy, be kind, give compliments and express gratitude. Words mean much more than you think.
Put yourself in the shoes of others
To get to know another person learn to see things from the other person’s perspective. Most people are too busy with their own lives to try to figure out what’s going on in other people’s heads. By asking others about their interests and desires, we can learn a lot about life. It’s also a good way to network and possibly achieve common goals in both work and private life.
Become genuinely interested in other people
Following on from the last point, there is a quote in the book that says you can make more friends in two months by being interested in other people, than by spending two years trying to get them interested in you. One of the few ways to create long-lasting friendships is to be genuinely interested in other people and their interests.
Smile and be happy in the company of others
Happiness rarely depends on external circumstances – rather, it is our own attitude and expectations that determine how we view life. A smile has a rare ability to act as a mood enhancer in a company. This is something that too few people think about when they talk about how body language affects how others see us. Often a simple smile is more significant than how you act with the rest of your body.
Use names when addressing people
For most people, their own name is special and one of the most important sounds in their world. Surely we have all been in situations where we have heard our name mentioned in discussions where in the noise it should be impossible to hear anything. That says something about how well programmed your own name is in your brain. Use the name of the person you are addressing often to make him/her feel special.
Be a good listener and encourage others
We’ve mentioned this several times here on Gentleman’s Guide. The easiest way to get good at conversations is to be a good listener. This includes really listening to what others have to say and not just letting them talk. Often the most important thing is to have someone listening, rather than an entertaining interlocutor. Most of us are too worried about not being interesting enough, which leads us to talk too much about ourselves. Instead, focus on your interlocutor and don’t be so afraid of silence in conversation.
Talk about other people’s interests
When it comes to the actual content of conversations, a golden rule is that you are welcome to talk about the interests of the person you are talking to. What are they passionate about? If you show that you are interested in what they are doing, they will feel appreciated and therefore they are also likely to appreciate you as a person.
Make other people feel important
You could sum up all the points with the following rule; treat others as you would like to be treated. Everyone wants to feel important and if you can do this, there is a high probability that you will be liked by many people around you.