Photo (cc) by Matthew Fang
Most everyone wants to be more likeable, but it’s not always easy to pull off. Simple advice like “be nice” or “be a good listener” can only get you so far.
If you’d like more friends, or just want to ace your next interview, here’s a mix of proven yet unconventional ways to make others like you…
1. Embrace your embarrassing moments
In embarrassing moments, you might worry that others will think less of you. But that may be the opposite of what really happens, according to research that shows there are upsides to embarrassing moments.
Based on research from the University of California, Berkeley, showing embarrassment demonstrates you want to fit in and get along with others, which in turn makes those witnesses your embarrassment like you. From the research abstract…
Observers recognize the expression of embarrassment as a signal of prosociality and commitment to social relationships. In turn, observers respond with affiliative behaviors toward the signaler, including greater trust and desire to affiliate with the embarrassed individual.
So next time you trip and fall in front of someone, don’t try to hide your red face. Study results also reported people who showed little embarrassment might actually be seen as less trustworthy and more selfish.
2. Be a skilled schmoozer
No one likes feeling manipulated, but a little schmoozing might be a good thing. When interviewing for a job, just the right amount of schmoozing can make you more likeable as well as more likely to be hired.
According to research published by the American Psychological Association, using ingratiation (the psychological term for trying to make yourself more likeable) during an interview by praising the company, building rapport with the interviewer, and maintaining good eye contact resulted in a better interview. On the other hand, self-promotional tactics like listing off one’s skills and accomplishments were ineffective.
Lesson learned: You can smooth-talk your way to a job, but do it by praising, not bragging.
3. Flaunt designer logos
Nice clothes may make an impression, but designer logos are what really make the difference in others’ opinions.
Researchers at Tilburg University in the Netherlands tested how displaying designer logos increased cooperation with and influenced observers’ views of the subject. In one case, study volunteers collecting money for charity brought in an average of twice as much at each house they visited when wearing designer shirts with logos compared to shirts without. In another experiment, volunteer observers rated men appearing in photos with designer logos like Lacoste and Tommy Hilfiger higher for status and wealth.
4. Mimic others’ body language
We like others more who mimic our body language, according to a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Specifically, the authors pointed out that “mimicry facilitates the smoothness of interactions and increases liking between interaction partners.”
So if you want others to like you, try subtly copying their gestures and posture. Even if you find this hard to consciously do, there’s good news: You might already do this subconsciously. The study found that touching one’s own face and shaking one’s foot increased among study participants when they observed a stranger displaying these mannerisms while completing a task together.
5. Tilt your head
A subtle tilt of your head may make the difference between whether others see you as a friend or foe, and could even make you appear more attractive.
Tilting your head, which exposes your carotid artery, gives off the appearance that you’re more vulnerable and therefore not a threat to observers. This makes you appear friendlier and more approachable.
Once you’re talking, tilting your head – which also exposes your ear – shows you’re listening and fully engaged in the conversation.
Head tilt affects how attractive we appear to others too. A study published in the journal Evolutionary Psychology showed men appeared more masculine to study participants when they angled their head upward. For women, their perceived attractiveness increased when they shifted their heads downward.
6. Request a favor
Doing favors for others may garner appreciation, but research actually shows that asking others to do favors for you garners likeability.
The reason this works: We generally reserve favors for those we like. So when you ask someone to do a favor for you, this tricks their subconscious into thinking they like you even if that wasn’t the case before.
Just don’t forget the final, crucial step: Make sure that you thank the person that provided the favor to receive the full benefit.