I think it’s human nature to wonder what others think of us. Not in the comparison or “I need to be absolutely perfect”, but more the “I need to work on myself” kind of way. First, you want to make sure you’re being a good friend, but it can be a little strange to ask out of nowhere, “Hey, am I a good friend?” Not to mention, if your friend has feedback, all the sudden you’re taking critism you might not be prepared for and things can just GO SOUTH! At this point in life, I feel we’ve had our wonderful friends for a while……so, it may be a bit easier to approach this topic and hear what they have to say.
Whenever I feel like I could use some feedback, I like to do a little self-assessment. Rather than looking to others to tell me what I might be doing wrong, I ask myself, what characteristics do really likable people have in common and am I exemplifying these qualities? The list below is what I came up with the last time I assessed myself and I thought maybe you would be interested in it, too!
It’s not about trying to be the STEPFORD (for those too young to remember this movie…..it’s about an entire “perfect, polite, unrealistic” community) friend, girlfriend, roommate, etc, but that’s not realistic. But more about trying to be a good human. And who doesn’t want to be better at that? And, being likable (while still being YOURSELF, which is key), can honestly make life easier. From being better at networking or in interviews to getting along better with others, and so on, being likable is a good thing as long as you’re finding that balance between being YOU and NOT getting too wrapped up in what others are thinking about you. There is a great little book, “What Others Think About Me is None of My Business” by Terry Whitaker that deals with this exact topic.
So……here are a few I came up with when considering likable traits. Eager to hear what you think about this post – and whether you disagree, agree, or have more to add to the list. Give me a shout and let me know in comments!
USE YOUR EARS MORE THAN YOUR MOUTH
When I find myself in a conversation with a friend (or a family member) and I realize I’ve done more talking than listening, I try to correct quickly. Sometimes it’s appropriate to talk more, for example, if you’re telling a specific story or maybe in an emotional situation, but I think it’s SO important to simply listen and then respond without talking about yourself.
THEY HAVE SWAGGER……BUT, NOT TOO MUCH
The people I find truly likable seem to have mastered a perfect balance of being confident, but not arrogant or cocky. They also don’t speak badly about themselves, which makes them more fun to be around because they’re always focusing on the positive. Bottom line, you feel GOOD hanging out with them. We all know people who just bring smiles and good things, good conversations, into our life.
ACCENTUATE THE POSITIVE….
Speaking of focusing on the positive. I don’t think anyone wants to hang with a negative Nancy, so this is something I’ve been working on lately (not that I think I’m negative, but trying to improve). Whenever I’m tempted to complain about something or think something negative about myself or a situation, I ask myself, “What is being negative right now going to accomplish?” I’ll tell you one thing, so far, every time I’ve paused to ask myself this, the answer is always NOTHING. Being positive makes such a difference!
THEIR BODY LANGUAGE IS SPOT-ON!
My body language wasn’t really something I was very aware of until I was a bit older and had observed people for a while. Things like eye contact, posture, smiling, facial expression, etc. are all very important when trying to make connections with people. If you’re missing the mark with these things, it can put people off before even talking to you. Even if it feels awkward, look people in the eye when shaking their hand, give a smile and be sure you’re standing up straight. Your first impression points will skyrocket and you’ll make people feel more comfortable.
NO EXCUSES ALLOWED
I think this is one of the most important characteristics of a likable person, in my opinion. Nobody likes it when someone comes at them with all the reasons they couldn’t follow through on something. Don’t overthink it – just be honest here. Don’t bail all the time or always be that person with some random excuse why you didn’t follow through or show up. Instead, commit or don’t (and of course, when life does get in the way, people will understand!). I promise life will be so much easier and your friends / family will appreciate it.
THEY DON’T JUDGE
Remember what I said above about just being a good human? That’s where this one comes in. I always want my friends (or anyone) to be able to come to me without fear that I would judge them. The best people I know make me feel comfortable and heard whenever I have something to share – not judged.
THEY DON’T TAKE THINGS (OR THEMSELVES) TOO SERIOUSLY
NOT taking life or yourself too seriously is key to being a likable person and, to life in general. I learned to laugh at myself a long time ago and I’d say it has served me well. Probably one of my best personality traits, if I’m being honest. Learning to laugh at the small stuff will save you a TON of stress in the long run, trust me. Now if only I could bring this ease into being a perfectionist…but I’m workin’ on it. EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. You too?
OK, what are your thoughts on these traits? Agree/Disagree? Do you ever check yourself and wonder if you are being a great pal? Are there other things to add to the list? Let me know in the comments!
Have the BEST day and be kind to yourself!