We all want to be liked. Some may argue that they don’t care what people think of them, but let’s be honest, life is a lot easier when people think favorably of you. Ingratiation is the term used for our attempt to get others to like us. To clarify, this is not a guide for kissing up to your professor or being fake to your friends; instead, this is a way to make your terms of endearment all the more endearing. It’s all about sincerity, and when we try too hard, that’s about the last thing that gets conveyed.
So what are some of the best ways to put your best foot forward?
1. Compliment others: When genuine, a kind word can make someone’s day. Something as simple as commenting on someone’s necklace or maybe going a little a deeper and appreciating someone’s character are instantly bonding. Take it slow, though. You don’t want to tell your new classmate that you think they have an amazing personality if you met them ten minutes ago. That might be a little bit daunting. Take it slow.
2. Smile: Everyone loves to see a smile. But again, the key here is that your smile is genuine. Your smile is an indication of your sociability and your willingness to interact with others according to a study by Mehu, Grammer, and Dunbar in 2007. Be careful though; people can very easily discriminate between a sincere and a fake smile. Smile when you mean it, not like you mean it.
3. Be modest: No one likes a braggart who boasts their resume every time you see them. According to the study in 2006 by Rosen, Cochran, and Musser, “people who downplay their successes are generally liked more than people who boast of them.” And while you shouldn’t completely downplay your successes (people may interpret extreme modesty as a sign of low self-esteem or arrogance), it might be better to shout your accomplishments from your bedroom and not the mountaintops.
4. Put your prettiest foot forward: Scientifically speaking, attractive people are more well liked and viewed more favorably than unattractive people according to multiple studies since the early 1990s. But let’s be honest; most of us don’t look like Brad Pitt or Brooklyn Decker. But we can take good care of ourselves so that we look and smell so fresh and so clean. It may be subtle, but people can tell when you respect yourself enough to take care of yourself.
5. Create similarity: You may think opposites attract but it’s actually the opposite: birds of a feather flock together. So try to highlight the similarities that you have with people. Having a common ground with someone can be extremely comforting and it puts people at ease. Making yourself argumentative for the sake of being argumentative doesn’t usually win you friends. And while you can and should disagree with people if
you genuinely do, don’t belittle people for their beliefs. Try to find a common ground.
So keep your acquaintances close and your friends closer. There’s no place for enemies when you are genuinely kind and friendly!