Studies show that people who are highly likable just have better lives. They have better relationships. They have more success in life. They have more contentment. They enjoy their lives more.
Cultivating this kind of likability could really help in your life.
Your likability is directly proportional to your ability to like.
They have done these studies really likable kids in high school, and they asked what it is that makes people really likable. You might guess it would be kids who are really attractive. Maybe they are really skilled in something like sports.
None of those were the first things that came to mind for teenagers when they were ranking likability. The thing that they noticed about kids who are highly likable is that those kids like more people than anybody else.
I love that correlation because I often teach that in my coaching program about lovability. Your lovability is just your ability to love. Likability is very similar. It’s really your ability to like other people.
We live in a time when the world could use more people who like each other.
Be more childlike.
Children aren’t caught up in what people are thinking of them. Kids just go up to each other and say, “Hey, my name is such and such. I like you. You want to be friends? You want to play?” They’re very direct with how they like someone else.
I watched this happen a few weeks ago when Thomas and I were at the park. He just has this charisma that a lot of other people don’t have. He saw this kid at the park that he knew, but he hadn’t seen him in a long time. This kid used to go to his school.
He runs up to him and gives him a big hug. He doesn’t hide at all how excited he is to see him. They chat and they start playing. They played together for about 30 minutes, and as they were getting ready to leave, I literally thought Tom was going to start crying.
He goes up to his friend, and he just gives him a big old bear hug, like almost lifts him off the ground. He tells him how exciting it was to see him, and how fun it was to play with him. He said, “I’m going to tell my friends at school, how fast you are now,” and he just said it with such sincerity.
He found something about the other person to admire and he said it out loud, and he said it was such sincerity.
I will never forget that moment. It was so precious, and it just reminds me how not childlike we are. It reminds me of how hard we are to impress. How much it takes for us to really enjoy other people, and how much it takes for us to like other people.
We often go into a situation all worried about ourselves, but to be more childlike means to go into the situation and just enjoy what’s there. How can we just be in the moment and enjoy what we have together?
Even his body language conveyed his like, and love, for this other friend. He leaned in, he was excited, and before we left he gives him a big bear hug. You could tell how much he really liked this other kid just by his body language.
What’s interesting about that is, now this other kid really likes Thomas. Why? Because Thomas was kind of irresistible in that moment. It’s hard to resist how much he really enjoyed his friend in this situation.
I want to be more like that. I want to be more willing and able to show that I enjoy other people.
Research confirms it. They did a study of people watching Ted Talks with the sound off. There was a consensus of, “we like this speaker,” or ” we don’t like this speaker as much,” and was all their body language.
Within seven seconds, we make a judgment about somebody. We like them, or we don’t. We trust them or we don’t. And a lot of that is just how we show up, our body language.
We show with our body language that we’re interested, that we’re engaged, that we’re actually present.
I love this example with Thomas, because he’s like on the edge of his shoes, ready to go, ready to have fun, ready to enjoy being together.
I want you to think about, as you go today in your interactions, “What is my actual body language showing? Does my body language show that I’m interested in other people, that I’m engaged, that I’m present, that I’m here, that I’m excited to be here?”
My favorite way lately is to just give people ‘compassion circles’ on their back. I’ll touch them on their back and rub their back, or pat their back. It’s kind of my way of saying, “I’m here. I’m glad you’re here.”
Find ways, even in weird times, that you can show up like kids do, that we can show each other we love each other.
The more we allow ourselves to be present in the moment, the more we can really enjoy what we’re doing, and who we’re with right at that moment.
Find common ground.
We are experts at finding differences. We’ve become literal experts in finding what separates us. We have to get back to finding what unites us, to finding our humanity. We’re so the same.
We all have same struggles.
We all have similar fears.
We all have similar aspirations.
We all have similar goals.
Look for common ground. How do you find it? You ask people! You really listen to them, and they will tell you all the ways that they’re similar to you. They will tell you all the things that they struggle with, or that they’re worried about, that are similar to the things that you struggle with, that you might be worried about.
Common ground is really easy to find when you ask. Be curious about other people.
I had a neighbor when I lived in my other neighborhood, and all of the other women that neighborhood, talked about how this one precious neighbor, you just couldn’t help but adore her. We were all trying to figure out why she was so adorable? Why was she so likable?
One of the reasons for that was because you could spend 30 minutes with her and she would just keep asking you questions. She would be genuinely curious about your life and about what was going on with you. I remember times that I would leave being with her and realize I didn’t even ask her about her kids or find out what was going on with her!
I would feel guilty, but then I would think about how I just loved her so much because it felt like she had this genuine interest in people. A lot of times I think we’re so consumed with wanting people to find us interesting, that we forget that the way to do that is to be interested.
Be interesting by being curious.
I really think this is a skill we all should cultivate, that we all should get better at. Imagine living in a world where somebody just kept being curious about you, and asking you questions, and trying to find out where you are coming from.
Imagine yourself trying to understand people more and thinking, “Well, that’s interesting that she thinks that. I wonder why.” That curiosity really does go a long, long way.
Show your real self.
We want people to think a certain thing about us, so we show them a version of ourselves that we think they will like. You know who we really like? We really like the real you, the vulnerable you who sometimes doesn’t have it all figured out.
Over Christmas, I did a series of videos on Instagram that were just me making coffee, me making bread. No makeup on, no hair done. Just me putzing around in my life. The funny thing about it was people loved it!
I was trying to figure out why. It’s because we like to see people as they really are, in their element. Usually when I come on social media for a livestream or a class, I have makeup on, I’m ready. But in those little moments that were just like early in the morning, just making coffee, just baking bread, just doing what I do, that’s most of my life.
It was such a good reminder to me that people want to see the whole you. We really do. We want to see the vulnerable side of you. We’re so related and so like each other that when we find this common ground we think, “Oh, yeah, I totally look like that in the mornings too when I make coffee.”
Really learn to be yourself. I think we live in a world where we’re kind of afraid to be ourselves. We like to present this version of us that is put together and has it all figured out. There are certainly areas where I feel like I have it more figured out than others, but there are also areas where I feel like I’m just a learner.
I’m trying to be a mom to an adopted son, and that’s something I’ve never had to do before. I’m continually learning about it, I’m still reading books about it. I’m still crying myself to sleep at night sometimes about it. I’m still going to therapy. I’m still trying to learn from other people and asking, “Hey, you’ve been an adoptive mom for 10 years, teach me, tell me. What can I do?”
Just be willing to be the whole person that we are instead of just this version of ourselves that we think other people will enjoy.
Be more intentional about what you like and enjoy.
How can you like and enjoy more things? How can you like and enjoy the actual life that you have? How can you look at your own life and think, “I really enjoy this. I’m going to take some time to really enjoy this part of my life.”
The people who are more likable, studies show they’re way more positive about their own life. They’ve learned how to see their lives in a way that puts everything in the positive light.
I take a lot of flack, and people think I have a way of seeing the world that’s kind of Pollyanna. Maybe. But maybe it’s a discipline of learning to see the world the actual way it is. Maybe it’s the discipline of learning to agree with God when he says that all things will work together for your good. Maybe it’s not Pollyanna.
Maybe it is just learning to really enjoy the amazing, beautiful, brutal, difficult life that we all have.
It’s a shift in perspective.
How can I enjoy these people?
How can I really enjoy this life that I have?
How can I see it in a different way?
How can I see it more like the blessing it really is?
How can I look under the surface of things that appear to be difficult, and ask myself, “What can I gain from this? Is there a hidden blessing here?”
It’s a skill and none of us are born. These are all skills that we can cultivate, that we can get better at, so we become more likable!
Why do we want to be more likable? Because likable people are more content. They have better relationships.
You know what it’s like to be in a relationship with somebody who’s really likable? It’s really fun because they are cultivating these things in their lives.
They’re cultivating showing affection. They’re cultivating showing how they enjoy life. They’re cultivating seeing life in a different way. These are all skills that we can cultivate, that we can become better at, that make us better at relationships, that make us better at living and enjoying the life we actually have.
It’s one of those life skills, that if you could cultivate it, and you could work at it every day, not only would people enjoy you more, but you would enjoy your own life so much more.
I hope you will join me on the Dr. Edie show, live every Tuesday, at Noon EST on my Youtube channel!