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10 Simple Things that Make You More Likable

simple things that make you more likable

When we get all caught up in the daily grind it’s easy to overlook some basics regarding our personal conduct. There are certain types of favorable behavior that are not as common as they once were and I think this is a good time to consider a few of them. As it turns out, these are the vary behaviors that make others view you as likable.

We all know the difference between good manners and rudeness, but sometimes we can benefit from a little review of the simple things that make a big difference. Hopefully, this list will remind all of us about those often overlooked simple things that each of us can do to be more likable and to make the world a more pleasant place.

1. Say please and thank you. Simple thing, yet so often overlooked. When you want something, you say please. When someone does something nice for you, you say thank you. This may sound like a minor thing, but when you let people know that you appreciate what they do for you, it helps establish a friendly and respectful rapport. And guess what, they will see you as likable.

2. Be courteous. Usually, this is just a matter of seeing things from another person’s perspective. If you notice something that you can do to make their situation easier, then do it. And yes, it may require that you go a little bit out of your way, but how hard is it to hold the door open for someone or stop your car to let someone cross the street?  Kind deeds have a tendency to repay themselves many times over. It may not happen right away, but there is still a sense of satisfaction that comes from doing the right thing.

3. Follow the Golden Rule. Simply stated, treat others the way you would like to be treated. The beautiful thing about this is how straight forward it is. Think how different everything would be if everyone followed this simple principle. There would be no crime, no war, and no murder. Granted, we cannot control the actions of other people, but we can control how we behave. When you treat others with this level of respect, they will naturally view you as likable?

4. Work with others. There are plenty of opportunities to show cooperation and teamwork in all areas of life. Whether you are in a crowded store or heavy traffic, cooperation will make the experience more manageable. If you are driving a bit slower than some, move to the slow lane and allow others to pass. If you are grocery shopping, don’t leave your cart in the middle of the isle. These are simple things that show increased awareness of those around you. By showing consideration in these little ways you will be more likable

5.Smile often. Never underestimate the power of a smile. The effect is two-fold. It tends to elevate your mood and it lifts the spirits of those you smile at. If you don’t believe me, try this little experiment. For an entire day, before you say a word to anyone, smile first. If you’re walking past them, smile and say hello. Notice their reaction. Most will smile back and when they do, you will feel even better. When you look at other people, who do you view as more likable? Isn’t it true that a person with a smile on their face wins every time?

6. Say I’m sorry. This is one of the first lessons we learn in life, yet some of us quickly forget it as we get older. The principle is very simple. If you wrong someone, or if you make a mistake, or if you hurt another person (intentionally or unintentionally), apologize for it. Don’t waste your time trying to assign blame. Again, simple things like being the first one to say I’m sorry instantly make you more likable.

7. Be honest. Tell the truth, even when it doesn’t seem to be in your best interest to do so. There is a lot to be said for the person who can admit they’re wrong (see above) and come clean with their mistake. It should also be noted that telling a lie doesn’t fix anything. The problem or issue is still there, under the blanket of the lie, and it will stay there until the truth comes out. Honesty is a reflection of one’s self-dignity and integrity. By being honest and tactful, other honest people will find you more likable.

8. Listen. Although it is typically our first instinct to talk first, listening can actually be an advantage. A primary benefit of listening is the amount that can be learned. If we spend most of our time talking then how can we learn anything? One of the best ways to be viewed as more likable is to be a good listener. It’s not always easy, but listening tells others that you are genuinely interested in them as a person, and who doesn’t like that?

9. Be complimentary. Have you ever received an unexpected compliment? How did that make you feel? Everyone likes to be noticed in a good way. In a world that tends to be overly critical, a sincere compliment can be very encouraging. Notice I said a sincere compliment. If our compliments aren’t sincere they could be viewed as patronizing, so when you compliment make sure that you are being truthful. This is guaranteed to make you more likable.

10. Laugh often. Everyone likes to laugh. Laughing releases endorphins that make you feel happy and relaxed. Laughing is both therapeutic and contagious. When you laugh, you will also be encouraging laughter from others. When you contribute to the happiness of others, they can’t help liking you. So never underestimate the value of laughter to contribute to a more fulfilling life for everyone.

It really is the simple things that make you more likable

All of these ideas are simple things that are universally acknowledged as making people more likable. Sadly, many of them seem to have been forgotten in today’s world. At times, the pressures or stress in our lives may cause us to show less consideration or patience for other people.

The truth is that every one of these simple things can make a significant contribution to the quality of our life and the lives of others. Along with making us more likable, they actually reduce stress and make life more enjoyable. They also work equally well for all types of relationships. In fact, it is especially important to consistently apply these practices in your closest  relationships.

Do you feel more likable when you do these things?
What responses have you noticed from other people?
Does their response show that they view you as likable?
The lines are open!

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61 Comments

  1. Tom Sörhannus December 17, 2010 Reply

    Thank you for these thoughts Jonathan. It really is that simple and by following these steps you don´t just make others feel better, you also feel better yourself. Just changing a few nice words with another person can change the day for both him or her and for you. It´s a sign that you have noticed the other person and given him or her your attention. That is something we need more of today.

    • Jonathan December 18, 2010 Reply

      Hi Tom, I totally agree, “It´s a sign that you have noticed the other person and given him or her your attention. That is something we need more of today.” Well said, thanks!

  2. Nea December 17, 2010 Reply

    I’m really happy that you added apologizing to the list. It’s something that a lot of us shy away from. I don’t know why it’s so hard for people to say “I’m sorry.” What I do know is that the willingness to admit when you’re wrong makes you far more admirable than someone who is controlled by pride.

    • Jonathan December 18, 2010 Reply

      So right Nea, even if I am not actually wrong I still like to apologize for anything I might have done to contribute to a misunderstanding. Maybe my words left room for misinterpretation. Perhaps I said something before I knew all the facts. Whatever the case, an apology can work wonders and it really doesn’t cost us anything because humility is an asset, not a liability.

  3. Dandy December 17, 2010 Reply

    Hi Jonathan,
    This list is perfect & it’s all true! I love #5. It’s fun to see people’s reactions when I smile at them. I always get a smile back! Thanks for the lovely post Jonathan!
    ~Dandy

  4. Sandra Lee December 17, 2010 Reply

    Jonathan,
    These are the most perfect yet simple reminders of how to create more pleasantness all around us. Embracing them would surely change the world. I especially like the reminder to say please and thank you and I’m sorry, and the one to listen. Listening is especially apropos for Americans! We tend to be so gung ho that we talk over people from other cultures who are unable to get a word in edgewise!

    • Jonathan December 18, 2010 Reply

      Hi Sandra, I must admit that my wife has really helped me to appreciate the value of saying please and thank you, even for seemingly insignificant requests. Once you get in the habit you start to notice how few people use these once common courtesies.

  5. Mike King December 18, 2010 Reply

    Great article and simple list for sure. It’s amazing how many people do the opposites of these things and then wonder why they struggle in relationships, in meeting people or in simply getting along in the office or work areas. Do these tips and its much easier to get along with people and make friends as well. Then do this with everyone you meet, no matter what they do to you and you have a real recipe!!! Thanks for the list Jonathan, great post!

    • Jonathan December 18, 2010 Reply

      Hey Mike, sometimes the solutions are so simple, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t overlooked. Many of these things were once part of our family heritage, passed down from generation to generation. Sadly, at some point common courtesies became quite uncommon. Happily, with a little practice they can become a natural part of our personality.

  6. Stuart December 18, 2010 Reply

    Great post Jonathan, lots of useful info.

    If I may, I’d add No. 11: Read “How To Win Friends And Influence People”. Amazing book, which covers what you’ve been saying. Thanks :-)

    • Jonathan December 18, 2010 Reply

      Nice add Stuart, thanks for the contribution!

  7. Galen Pearl December 18, 2010 Reply

    I am going to print the list and post it where I can see it! What great advice. And, as you say, there is a double bonus. We will feel better and we will also make those around us feel better. It’s win win.

    The compliment one jumped out at me. Awhile back, someone told me I have a pretty smile. No one ever said that to me before. It made my day. I smiled at everyone! And I made a point to hand out compliments at every opportunity because I could see firsthand what a huge difference that little gesture made.

    Thank you for this great advice. Not only will it make us more likable, but it will make us happier.

    • Jonathan December 18, 2010 Reply

      Thanks Galen for sharing your experience. I love your concluding thought, “Not only will it make us more likable, but it will make us happier.” That’s a lot of benefit for such a tiny (an enjoyable) effort.

  8. jonathanfigaro December 19, 2010 Reply

    It always great to say please and thank you. It allow one to be more likable. Just as Jonathan said. Great post.

    • Jonathan December 25, 2010 Reply

      Thanks Jonathan, if we say please and thank you maybe it will spread.

  9. Steve December 20, 2010 Reply

    Jonathan, I really enjoyed this article. What this article is really about is developing a more ‘self-less’ approach to life. As we grow and mature, hopefully we are becoming more like this. Yet it takes practice, and you have broken it down to easy to understand specifics.

    • Jonathan December 25, 2010 Reply

      Hi Steve, I also think it is important for parents to pass on good manners to their children. If we are trained from youth to be courteous it becomes our natural tendency.

  10. Peter G. James Sinclair December 20, 2010 Reply

    When I do the ‘ten’ that you have highlighted good things happen…..guaranteed. Sunshine shared with others warms their hearts. Thanks Jonathan for reminding us about spreading the sunshine.

    • Jonathan December 25, 2010 Reply

      Hey Peter, I like the comparison to shared sunshine. That is a great metaphor. Now I need to go read your interview with Celes, she is one of my favorites.

  11. Andrzej December 21, 2010 Reply

    Hi Jonathan!
    It’s all so easy and so elusive for same reason. Thanks for making people remember ;)

    Andrzej

    • Jonathan December 25, 2010 Reply

      Hi Andrzej, isn’t it interesting how so many of the strategies that can move our lives in a positive direction are easy. All we need to do is implement them.

  12. Carra December 21, 2010 Reply

    Very informative, great one!

    By my experience, if I was to resume it all – the one key thing in all relations – giving value.

    You probably heard: give and you shall recieve.

    It’s absolutely true. People are drawn towards value, and if you constantly give out value, you shall recieve in return

    By value I mean anything bringing good emotions ( the same door holding too )

    When people see that you’re kind and giving, without expecting anything in return, they will give you back from their sense of justice, but also because all people are kind in their soul too…

    Cheers!
    S.C.

    • Jonathan December 25, 2010 Reply

      Nicely said S.C., showing kindness to others serves as a reminder to their inner desire to be kind and giving.

  13. Rocket Bunny December 25, 2010 Reply

    We all need to be reminded to respect others always and it does make you feel better yourself.

    • Jonathan December 25, 2010 Reply

      Greetings Bunny, that’s so true. There are so many areas where reminders help us stay on course. And so often we feel better for it.

  14. Vid December 27, 2010 Reply

    It is interesting that sometimes we need to put conscious effort to make ourselves more likable to others.
    Great, list, anyways.

    • Jonathan January 4, 2011 Reply

      That’s because we tend to think that others see us the same way we see ourselves. That is a very limiting assumption. We can gain a lot insight from seeing things through the eyes of other people.

  15. Jonathan January 17, 2011 Reply

    Hi Jonathan,

    These are pretty simple yet often neglected acts of kindness. You are right, when we make others feel better, it’s always you that feels great the most. Also, apologizing is one of the most favorite in the list as it’s often difficult yet essential in keeping a harmonious relationship with others.

    • Jonathan January 17, 2011 Reply

      Hi Jonha, yes indeed, learning to apologize will have a big influence on the way others feel about us.

  16. Tracy January 18, 2011 Reply

    All of these are so simple, yet a lot of people don’t follow them. I find it amazing how a simple act can affect yourself and those around you. This is a great list, thanks for sharing!

    • Jonathan February 5, 2011 Reply

      Hi Tracy, over the years I have come to appreciate that some of the most powerful strategies for positive change are also some of the simplest. Complicated solutions might appeal to us intellectually, but there is power in simplicity.

  17. Daniel April 9, 2011 Reply

    Wow, Jonathan. You’re suggesting that we’d be likable if we’re nice and have integrity.

    You radical, you.

    (Just kidding, Jonathan. In a way, it’s kind of sad that these sort of reminders are so necessary.)

    (And you’ve already said “Say please and thank you,” so I don’t really have to suggest “be grateful” as #11 … or #12, if you’re counting Stuart’s suggestion.)

    Thanks for this,

    – Daniel

    • Jonathan April 9, 2011 Reply

      Hi Daniel, I agree that if this culture had it’s head on straight we wouldn’t need these reminders because they would be ingrained in us from childhood and reflected in society as a result. Oh, if only wishing made it so!

  18. Cynthia May 24, 2011 Reply

    I like! Thank you:)

    Practicing #5 = SMILE OFTEN helps me every day — and yes, I have noticed that it helps others, too. Which I suppose makes me more likeable?? Had not thought of that. Was giving a smile as a gift whenever I’ve got one to give.

    blessings in #10-ing,
    Cynthia

  19. Julie November 7, 2011 Reply

    These are great reminders… another one of my personal favorites is to say acknowledge people when they help you or do something nice for you. It is more than just saying “thanks”, although that is good, but to comment on how much what they did means to you can change the course of someone’s day. The word “thanks” often gets said without a passing thought but when someone tags “thanks, that really mad my day” or “thanks, I couldn’t have pulled this off without you” allows the person to know that they truly had a positive impact on your day/life.

  20. Joe February 5, 2012 Reply

    I looked this article up out of curiosity, and was pleasantly surprised to find what kind of an impact these simple techniques have had on my life. As a result, I’ve found it much easier to get along with my friends!

  21. Adeline March 16, 2012 Reply

    Hi Jonathan, after I read your article I decided that you are one of them, a likable person that is. Thanks for encouraging us to be likable. From my point of view, the purpose of this isn’t only to be likable but also to do good deeds for others. This is a characteristic we must have, to live a happy and fulfilling life. Thanks for spreading this good deeds as well.

  22. lucy March 28, 2012 Reply

    I do these things and im still not very liked by many people

    • Jonathan March 29, 2012 Reply

      Hi Lucy, how do you feel about yourself? More specifically, do you like yourself?

  23. abdullah April 20, 2012 Reply

    Those were just really beneficial useful points on how to make the world a more enjoyable place. Thanks a lot i will try to practice this advice starting right now!

  24. Lindsey May 9, 2012 Reply

    Thank you for the posts. I think most people, especially us men, will think if you are polite that you are inherently weak or something. We are obsessed with displaying the tough macho image that we often forget our manners. I had a girl-friend who was very polite and disciplined and I can admit that I always think of her and feel like wow! What a wonderful human being?!

  25. jennelyn May 22, 2012 Reply

    Hi! I love reading your articles! Thank you for enlightening my mind on how to be more likable.

    I will always do this :)

  26. Robert June 5, 2012 Reply

    More than anything, be uplifting. People are put down and discredited too often. We need more people that make the world a better place. Thanks for the tips.

  27. Me July 3, 2012 Reply

    Great article! In a job interview you never want to complain, be cynical or include negativity, but you do want to be likeable because interviewers will recruit people that they like. The same holds true at social events and the logic is simple; people are subconsciously drawn to those who have a likable personality.

    This holds true for your social life as well. One of the most important keys to living a happy, healthy and fulfilling life is having the ability to build meaningful relationships. Many factors influence the connections you have with others, but being a likable person is a key element.

    • RachelCarl October 25, 2012 Reply

      Jonathan, thank you for your article on manners! I was wondering if I could have permission to reprint/reuse it in an upcoming newletter that I will be putting out for a Head Start program? It will come in handy for the coming November and December holiday season! It will go out to community members as well as the families we visit on a daily basis!

      Thank you, Rachel Carl

      • Jonathan October 26, 2012 Reply

        Be my guest Rachel, all I ask is author’s credit and if it is appropriate, a link to Advanced Life Skills.

  28. Kyle November 24, 2012 Reply

    Love the post, thank you! The best way to become likable is to like yourself first and believe in yourself – everything else falls into place after that.

  29. Donnae February 24, 2013 Reply

    To be honest (#7), my mother taught me all these things. I do them, yet people don’t like me much. They forget me and have to ask if they’ve meet me before. I’m not sure why. Perhaps just minding your manners all the time can make you invisible. Or maybe you’re mistaken about the true reasons people are liked or not liked.

  30. Ravi July 15, 2013 Reply

    These simple things make you a wonderful person and people often forget them. Thanks for putting them togather.

  31. Courtney Wilson September 9, 2013 Reply

    It always seems that the most simple things in life have the most impact. Unfortunately it seems like the most basic things like saying please and thank you are becoming a rarity these days.

  32. mariam September 23, 2013 Reply

    I think that those points can be applied in treating one’s own self that being the closest of relationships and the basis on which to build all relationships.

  33. Bellem May 16, 2014 Reply

    If you spread sunshine you can’t help but get some on yourself :)

  34. sherill May 21, 2014 Reply

    Hi, Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us, a simple smile can really brighten someones day. I once read an article and it says ” Laughter is not at all a bad beginning for a friendship, and it is far the best ending for one”. great post.

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