6 Things Likable People Do

Small talk. Eurgh. It’s an awkward part of life but we’ve all got to do it at some point; before a meeting, at an interview, when you’re stuck in works kitchen with a stranger at lunch.

But of course, you want to make a good impression and get people to like you. Here’s how remarkably likeable people do it:

1. They chill out

You are taught to stand tall, square your shoulders and shake hands with a firm grip to make that perfect first impression. This is great when you are hoping to display self-confidence and awareness. But sometimes people can go too far, and this makes the first impression seem as though you’re trying to establish your own importance – and no one likes arrogance.

Next time you meet someone – relax! Take a step forward with a smile and bend forward slightly (a clear sign of respect in almost all cultures), and show them that you’re the one who is honoured by the introduction.

This shows that you are genuinely happy to meet the person, and they will reflect this behaviour allowing you to calm your nerves and be yourself.

2. They touch

Touch can break down natural barriers, can influence behaviour and makes the person doing the touching seem more attractive and friendly.

Don’t make your touch threatening or unsuitable though. When you shake someone’s hand, use your free hand to touch their forearm – this makes you seem genuine and likeable.

Does this put you off? Try something smaller until you are comfortable. The next time you walk up behind someone you know, lightly touch their shoulder as you walk past. This makes the greeting feel more genuine.

3. They ask questions

A master of social jiu-jitsu uses their interest, their politeness and social graces to cast an immediate spell on you. And you like them. They get you to talk about yourself throughout the conversation and you walk away and realise you have learned nothing about them.

Play them at their own game. Next time you notice someone doing all the asking, and you all the answering follow these steps. Ask how, or why, or who. Ask open ended questions to get them talking as well.

Asking questions shows you are interested and you respect the other person’s opinion – and therefore the person.

4. They are genuine

Everyone is better than you at something – yes, even you. And this is ok – let them be better than you.

Many people will compare themselves with others upon their first meeting, and will engage in some kind of competition. Don’t try and win the ‘getting to know someone’ competition.

Be humble, complimentary and be impressed. Admit a failing or weakness. But don’t go too far. People may be momentarily impressed by the artificial, but like genuine people more. People will like the real you.

5. They are selfless

You’ll know this moment too well; you’re getting along swimmingly with someone and all of a sudden they play the networking card. And it all changes.

Try to put away your ‘always on’ persona, and see if you can find a way to help the other person without thinking about what they can do for you.

6. They leave the conversation in a genuine way

As you part you say ‘Nice to meet you’ – and you are forgotten. Say something genuine – ‘I am really glad I met you’ or ‘It was lovely speaking with you today’, and you’ll be remembered.

The first impression counts, but so does the last one.


All of this isn’t ground breaking information, but if you’re shy it can be hard to step out of your comfort zone and try something different with new people.

Being genuine, a little more vulnerable and more complimentary will feel risky, but you’ll be making people feel good about themselves and they will like you for it. And you might even like yourself more too.

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