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How to Become More Likeable

And steps to cultivate more satisfying, authentic relationships.

Sílvia Bastos
Feb 16, 2018 · 13 min read
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Winning Friends or Influencing People — Which One Do You Choose?

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The 2 Secret Ingredients for Bulletproof Likeability

Authenticity is at the heart of likeability in two fundamental ways.

“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” — Dale Carnegie

Once you learn how to be authentic, other people will feel comfortable being authentic in your presence. This is probably the most beautiful, powerful, and genuine way to get other people to like you.

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“Be Yourself” — Practical Exercises for Achieving Authenticity

Exercise 1. Emotional Breathing

Instructions: Close your eyes. Focus your attention on your breath. Acknowledge each breath in, and each breath out. While remaining aware of your breath, notice your emotions as they surface. Observe them without judgment: if you’re feeling anxious, don’t wish it to go away. If you’re feeling extreme excitement, accept that it won’t last forever. You are not your emotions; you are a balanced observer.

Exercise 2. What do I want from this?

Instructions: When talking to a person or a group of people, ask yourself the following question: “What is my intention with this interaction?” Think about what this person means to you. Go even deeper and identify more subtle emotional nuances and motivations: am I just trying to sound clever by telling my co-workers about the book I read last week, or do I genuinely want to share this knowledge with them?

Exercise 3. Light bulb!

Instructions: Whenever someone says something that makes you feel angry, annoyed, or afraid, and your impulse is to act in a defensive or aggressive way, imagine a light bulb switching on inside your head.

Exercise 4. Honest Experimentation

Instructions: Be completely open about the fact that you‘re’ working on being authentic and use it as a chance to practice. You can tell your friend next time you meet for brunch:

Exercise 5. Centered Journaling

Instructions: When you get home after meeting someone, write down some observations on the key aspects of your interaction:

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“Holding Space” — Practical Exercises for Developing Empathetic Attention

Exercise 1. Meditate

Instructions: Any kind of meditation will do — if you have your own favorite practice, that will work. If you’re new to meditation, here is a good place to begin.

Exercise 2. Listen for the feelings

Instructions: Many people think that active listening is simply about nodding and saying “mmm-hmm”, or paraphrasing what people just said. But it’s about much more than that.

Exercise 3. “It’s not just about me.”

Instructions: When someone is talking to you, don’t interrupt. No matter how interesting that thought which just popped into your awareness is, it can wait for a few seconds. Also, don’t reply to everything the other person says with something about yourself. There are plenty of other things you can say: thank them for sharing their story, ask them interesting questions, make suggestions or comment on their opinions, or simply tell them how you feel after hearing what they said.

Exercise 4. “Five things I like about you”

Instructions: As you interact with someone, think about your five favorite things about that person. Is her speech super articulate and clear? Is she the bravest person you know? Is her jacket gorgeous and her sense of fashion outstanding? Let yourself sink into that feeling. If you want to make this more effective, share these findings with the person in conversation. “Oh, by the way, I just love your sense of humor — that joke was hilarious!” Don’t reach for flattering or bribing, as that kind of fakery sounds, well, fake.

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Authenticity as the Path to Likability

As we’ve seen, likability comes down to fostering authenticity in both yourself and others.

Better Humans

Better Humans is a collection of the world's most…

Thanks to Niklas Göke

Sílvia Bastos

Written by

Co-founder at JournalSmarter. Learn how to start your own Online Journal: journalsmarter.com/digital-journaling-course

Better Humans

Better Humans is a collection of the world's most trustworthy writing on human potential and self improvement by coaches, academics, and aggressive self-experimenters. Articles are based on deep personal experience, science, and research. No fluff, book reports, or listicles.

Sílvia Bastos

Written by

Co-founder at JournalSmarter. Learn how to start your own Online Journal: journalsmarter.com/digital-journaling-course

Better Humans

Better Humans is a collection of the world's most trustworthy writing on human potential and self improvement by coaches, academics, and aggressive self-experimenters. Articles are based on deep personal experience, science, and research. No fluff, book reports, or listicles.

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