As I’ve sat with clients this past year, I’m reflecting on how many of us are secretly insecure that no one likes us. This is a big hindrance to our happiness because we are so bent on appearing “chill” that we lose ourselves in the process. Beating to our own drum—as weird and quirky as that may be—is how we embrace what brings us joy in this life.
But what does make for a likeable person per say? I was recently asked about this. As I reflect on this, there are a few key takeaways that I’ve learned. Yes, we have to own our little idiosyncrasies but there are also general things we can do to connect more with others.
Here are a few key points:
1. People love a clutz: You wouldn’t expect it but we find perfection annoying. When someone is too scripted and put together, it appears insincere and phony. We love someone who can be a little goofy and isn’t afraid to self-deprecate a bit. Take Jennifer Lawrence for example, her Academy Awards fall made her that much more famous and lovable. People like a person who is relatable.
2. People prefer someone who is agreeable rather than confrontational: This doesn’t mean you should be a pansy and bend over backwards when you strongly disagree. However, people often feel uncomfortable when someone is argumentative and finds disagreement over whether there are two clouds in the sky or four. Point being, when it comes to menial matters, it’s not worth it to pick a bone with people.
3. Take the time to listen: While people love to talk about themselves, they also get frustrated if you ask a question that you asked five minutes ago. Have a few key questions in your back pocket when you run into that dead silence and be ready to engage in a conversation. The majority of people don’t enjoy awkward silence and while you don’t have to be the comedian of the group, you will be likeable if you can show interest in the person rather than your phone.
The reality is that not everyone is going to like us and we are not going to like everyone. The second we relieve ourselves of this burden, the more we can enjoy the genuine company of the people that we do feel comfortable with. When you have those awkward moments, just own them. Laugh about it. Life is only awkward if you make it often!
At the end of the day, I hope you know that you are more than likeable—you are lovable!