5 Ways to Become a More Likable Person

We crave human affection.
As the 3rd tier in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, we are psychologically wired to desire a sense of love and belongingness through friends and intimate relationships. While we don’t need 100+ friends to be happy, it certainly doesn’t hurt to become “likable” to a wider range of people.
While we often tend to think that becoming more likable requires some type of big sacrifice or compromise of beliefs, that’s actually far from true. In reality, making a few small, conscious lifestyle and mentality shifts can drastically improve our ability to establish healthy relationships. Here are 5 ways I’ve found to make this an easier process:

  • Start actually caring about other people

If you are serious about becoming more likable, then the very first thing you need to do is eliminate all the excuses you have for not being real with yourself. Once you can be intellectually honest, ask yourself this question: “Do I actually care about the people with which I regularly interact?”
If your answer is “no” here, then you can go ahead and stop the experiment. You WILL NOT become more likable to people who you do not care about without being a fake version of yourself.
If you answered “yes” to this question, then the follow-up question should be, “Do I show these people that I care?” This is important because it is a vital baseline for any positive relationship; the idea that both parties CARE about each other. Actively show people you care by checking in on them, showing interest in their lives, and not only talking about yourself. This is step #1 and is really difficult to skip if we want to become more likable.

  • Listen to understand, then speak

I’ve mentioned this principle from Stephen Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” Covey discusses the human tendency to listen with the intention to speak rather than the desire to understand our peers. He says in this chapter, “If I were to summarize in one sentence the single most important principle I have learned in the field of interpersonal relations, it would be this: Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”
We filter everything we hear through our own paradigms as we interpret information, and it is very easy to listen with the intent to give our opinion. However, there is serious power in developing the habit of truly seeking to understand another person before trying to respond.
How many times have we immediately disagreed with someone or disregarded what they said, only to later find out that they were right or there was a miscommunication? How many times would that have been avoided had we simply taken the time to fully understand the situation? It’s easier said than done, and something I have been practicing every day. 

  • Practice an open mindset

It is great to be a person of principle. It is an excellent characteristic to have some backbone, some moxie, some basis behind the things you believe. In some cases, it is even appropriate to be radical about your convictions, whether that be a particular cause, organization, etc.
It is a great pleasure to be able to formulate your own opinions, and it is okay to have strong ones! However, what is not okay is to be so steadfast in your opinions that you become blind and/or ignorant to facts. No one likes the one person who can’t just go with the flow of a conversation, who cannot tolerate hearing opinions which disagree with theirs, etc.
Open your mind to seek truth and facts, then formulate your opinion. If these facts disagree with your opinion, that’s when we get to learn something new!
The key: Being too set in our own ways stunts our growth, and inhibits our ability to become more likeable

  • Take life a little less seriously

Starting a new job. Proposing to your significant other. Raising a child. Paying your taxes.
There are some things that we should DEFINITELY take seriously! Life brings along a series of challenges which we must face head on, and we should be willing to do just that! That being said, we do not want to fall into the trap of taking EVERYTHING too seriously.
That gets tiring- many times for yourself, but USUALLY for the people around you. If every good thing that happens to you is the greatest thing in the world, or if every bad thing is the end of the world, that quickly becomes annoying to those around you (as someone who is notorious for over-exaggerating to tell a better story, trust me: I had to learn this one myself).
Be passionate. Be outspoken. Stand for something!! But, don’t stand for everything. Everything isn’t THAT important, and taking life a little less seriously will enhance yours and those of your peers.

  • Be sincere in your verbal and nonverbal language

Ladies and gentlemen, if this blog isn’t speaking to you, then it’s at least tearing into me! Because I genuinely struggle with this one, and yet it is imperative to our reputation in business, as well as among friends and family.
As I mentioned, I have been practicing Covey’s “Seek First to Understand, Then Be Understood” habit recently, and have seen some good results. This, along with “taking life less seriously” is a formula I have really enjoyed. However, we have to be careful that we don’t overdo this to the point where we just passively agree with what everyone says, regardless of if we actually agree.
If we lack sincerity in our words and actions, then we will lead others to think of us as insincere and undependable. No one wants to confide in a person in whom they cannot trust, which as you can imagine leads to relationships being shallow and lacking substance. This is not a label we want to carry, and we can fight it by choosing to be honest in our verbal and nonverbal language.
Have you experienced any of these points to be true in your own life? What OTHER ways would you add that can make a person become more likable? Let me know! #5MinuteMission


5 Ways to Be Taken More Seriously

  • Don’t speak confidently on topics you don’t deeply understand

The quickest way to look foolish is to act like you’re informed on a topic when you clearly aren’t. It’s okay to be ignorant of a subject, but pretending to be an expert in fields which you are a novice will get annoying to your peers very quickly. If you do it often, you will develop a reputation around that. You DO NOT want that.

This is something I take very seriously regarding 5 Minute Mission. I often cover interesting topics, but certainly not areas in which I’m an expert (I’m probably not an ‘expert’ at anything haha). This doesn’t mean that I cannot write/talk about things I haven’t experienced, but rather that I must do research and keep an open mind. That’s really what this whole thing is about- growing together as a community who haven’t figured it out yet.

My hope is that anyone reading this realizes that we can grow exponentially just by having an open mind. Part of that is learning new things, but not being naïve about how much we don’t truly know. It’s a process!

  • Take yourself more seriously

Perhaps this should be point #1, but regardless it’s paramount to your end goal of being taken seriously by others. Speak with purpose, dress well (or at least appropriately), be on time, and have a general sense of respect and integrity in the things you do.

It’s a simple concept, but so many of us demand respect from others when we aren’t even respecting ourselves. Just like you wouldn’t take fitness advice from a morbidly obese person, you tend to not respect those who clearly don’t respect themselves or value their own time. Key thought: Want respect? Become respectable. If you’re looking to improve, ask those closest to you how to do that. Odds are, they’ll know exactly where you fall short.

  • Listen to understand, then respond

Your co-workers, friends, and family will take what you say more seriously if they know that you are speaking from a place of understanding. Be willing to deeply listen and understand others before speaking into their lives. If they don’t think you understand them, they will not take your words seriously, whether that be advice or anything else.

Listening before speaking shows people that you care about their thoughts, which automatically makes them more interested in what you have to say. Take what they say seriously, and most people will reciprocate. To further understand this idea, I highly recommend you check out Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, specifically habit #5.

  • Don’t make excuses for your shortcomings

Everyone has faults- own them! Seriously, there’s no need to skirt around your idiosyncrasies just to put on the façade of perfection, and you shouldn’t blame shift your shortcomings onto your environment, lack of training, or any other excuse we use. Own up to your faults, and double down on your strengths.

People are smarter than you think, and while it may not be immediately apparent, eventually “faking it until you make it” isn’t going to work out for you. People close to you will see through your attempts to mask your weak areas, and you will lose respect in the process. If you suck at something, there’s nothing wrong with that!! You can either get better at that thing, or outsource it. There’s no 1 right answer, but THE wrong answer is to make excuses.

  • Eliminate filler words from your vocabulary

Constantly using “like”, “um”, or “uh” is an immediate sign that the person speaking is not confident (or at least not well practiced) in what they are saying. Think back to the most powerful presentation you’ve ever seen. Re-watch it on YouTube if you have to; I guarantee you’ll notice that they use no filler words, but rather powerful pauses.
This one is very tough, and something I struggle with consistently. I’m under 25, so my go-to filler word is “like.” Don’t know why, but I just love to throw that word in about 2 or 3 times per sentence. Eliminating these unnecessary words can be difficult, but recognizing where you can improve is the first step in doing so. Becoming conscious of an issue allows you to notice when it happens, and begin taking measures to prevent it.
Want to be taken more seriously?
– DON’T “front” on topics you don’t understand
– DO start taking yourself more seriously
– DON’T always talk over people. Listen!
– DON’T make excuses, learn and execute
– DO become more confident by eliminating unnecessary filler words from your speech