Make it impossible for them to not like you! Maybe even – hate it that they like you…
Author: Daniel J Bockman
While it may seem odd that I am writing an article about “how to make people like you” when my wife and kids make fun of me that I have no friends! But mostly, my life is very full for having regular friendships. I do have skills that create good business and friendships and I have found business sales relationships skills translate over to personal relationships very well.
I believe that one of the biggest hurdles most people have to get over is their need for other people to like them. We are social animals with advanced methods of communication and personality so it’s only natural to want people to like you. I argue that rather than just wanting people to like you, make it impossible for them to not like you! Maybe even – hate it that they like you…
Here’s a peak into the human psyche of what makes people like you.
1. Express your self-confidence
I could do a 2 week course on building someone’s self-confidence but in short, people like to be around confident people. Notice I didn’t say cocky (all though, cockiness has its place). When meeting people for the first time or meeting up with someone you haven’t seen in a while, your self-confidence drives the initiative. Stand or sit in a way that you will lean into the other person’s interest and conversation. Being self-confident and at the same time, fully interested in the other person’s interest is an incredible effective combination. Really work to revolve the conversation around the other person. If they try to make the conversation about you, redirect it back to topics about them. An old trick to making new friends and getting people to like you is, – you will make more friends in two days promoting others interest than you will make in two months promoting your own.
2. Say their name
During the conversation, say their name over and over. Start each sentence with their name.
“Joe, I hear you’re working…
Joe, how’s your wife Marry doing?”
Joe, I always remember you…”
Subconsciously people love to hear their name being said. Saying a person’s name connects with their pleasure and reward centers of the brain. Find other ways to work their name into the conversation but don’t make it too obvious or awkward. Use your emotional intelligence to know when to let up on the name usage.
3. Your own vulnerability is magical
Self-confidence is a wonderful way to start out a meeting but to show a little of your own vulnerability is nothing short of magical when connecting with people. People do not like perfect people. People want to know we are all human and have mistakes in our past or vices we enjoy. We all have little quirks and harmless secrets about us. In the age of filtered Instagram photos and Stories, we want to be careful we do not want to hit people envy centers of their brains.
Find a way to tell the other person something about yourself that humanizes the conversation. If you can, make your humanization connect with the other person, “Back in school, I had a huge crush on you” or “I’ll admit, I follow your blog and use a lot of your strategies for my own business.” I once had a business friend tell me that my website looked really good. I thanked him but I told him that I actually went to his site and copied his search engine title and pasted it into mine because it was so good.
See how I did that, I reverses the dynamic of the conversation to make a connection with him. He walked away feeling he had a part in the success of my website.
4. Create some humor into the conversation
Humor is great and if you can work some humor into your conversation it’s a sure win. A little self-deprecating humor or something a little embarrassing about yourself can really hit that humanizing effect but be careful not to sound depressing. No one likes drudgery or depressing people. Try saying something like this, “Sure, let’s go golfing next week but I have to warn you, I have an awful handicap.” If someone is complimenting your cooking, reveal a secret that is funny about your recipe, even if it’s not all that true,
Them: “your sauce is amazing, what’s your secret?”
You: “Honestly, I use store-bought packs but… I spice it up a little!”
This reveals something humorous that you are not actually making it all from scratch, (even if you do) but also makes it human again.
5. Let people be wrong!
I know this is going to be a hard one for all you right-fighters and grammar police especially if you are a very smart person, but stick with me here, you need this one!
While attending a dinner party with some friends one night, Dale Carnegie overheard a distinguished man misquote a verse he claimed was from the bible. Carnegie knew the quote was from Shakespeare and he knew the man knew it as well but was just mistaken or misspeaking about it. Dale corrected him and told him that the quote was from Shakespeare. The man did not back down and continued to argue it was a bible quote. As tensions grew, one of Carnegies other friends kick Dale under the table and said, “The man is correct, the verse is from the bible.”
On the car ride home from the dinner party, Dale was fuming about the conversation and ask his friend why he kicked him and worsted of all, why he was agreeing with the man that was clearly misquoting the verse. Carnegie said, “You know as well as I do that verse was from Shakespeare!” His friend said, “Yes, I know that, but what good was it to prove that man wrong in front of all those other people?”
For a man that became famous for “Winning friends and influencing people” Carnegie sure got a taste of his own medicine that night. It was a lesson that Carnegie never forgot and in fact, this story has been told by Carnegie for years. No one likes to be corrected. From the spelling and grammar police to casual conversation, it is always best to just let people be wrong or make mistakes. Ask yourself the next time you feel the need to correct someone, are you helping them, or just embarrassing them? I now correcting someone is just dripping with good intentions because you don’t want them to look silly or dumb but look at the end game. Are they going to come back and thank you for interjection and look smarter by being corrected or did you just point out publicly that they look dumb? Fight back your instincts to correct and just let it be! You will make a lot more friends if you’re not always trying to be right.
6. Learn how to accept compliments
Accepting a compliment with grace is an art. Don’t downplay your amazing accomplishments but also, don’t brag about glamor either. Eventually you will be in a conversation that revolves around your achievements. People want to compliment you and recognize you for what you have done. Don’t delegitimize or minimize their opinions of the great things you’ve done. It’s in our nature to scoff off complements and say, “Oh it was nothing” or give too much credit to those who helped you.
We all do amazing things and we need to be able to accept compliments with grace. We do not want to look vain or arrogant so our natural reaction is to make it seem like it was nothing. But this makes other people feel like their opinions about you are nothing. It also shows you are not comfortable with your success! Acknowledge the persons complement so they know what they are saying is important to you. Say, “Oh yes, thank you. We worked really hard on that project. It means a lot to me that you said that.” As the conversation continues about your achievements, rather than talking about the glamorous side of it, talk about a funny human side of it that the other person can relate to. Say, “The project was a success but at first, we weren’t sure if anyone was going to like it. We failed so many times trying to get to this point.” This kind of response shows you are just like everyone else. You too, roll up your sleeves and work as hard as anyone.
Admit to human mistakes in your journey – Remember, only the Gods are flawless. You just never know, maybe you will inspire someone to do the same.