Likeability is probably not what you want
Everyone goes through a phase, or even phases where they think, ‘I want to be more likeable’.
So they read a couple of books, like ‘How to make friends and influence people’, they watch a couple of videos, and they come away with some very surface-level information:
- Say their name, people love it when you say their name.
- Eye-contact is important.
- Match their body language.
- Listen — don’t just wait for a chance to speak.
And so on….
Frankly though, if I met someone that was just that surface level of likeable, I’d smile and chat but I wouldn’t feel inclined to spend more time than I had to with them. Anyone can do that level of likeable action, it’s not special or unique so why would I remember you did that?
Now. What makes a person, likeable at a deeper level? The answer is their personality, their interests, their morals, actions, strengths and flaws. It is their everything.
Likeability for one person will differ from likability from the next. Darth Vader is likeable in a way different than Luke Skywalker, because likeability isn’t a cut-paste-and-apply thing.
So, how to be more likable?
- Location: This determines the kind of stories you can tell, the level of noise and energy you can bring to an interaction.
- Audience: Whether you’re speaking to a man, a woman, or a child, whether to a group or an individual, whether to religious or atheist, determines how you should compose yourself and your words.
- You: This is the most important part, because the location may change, the audience may change, but you’ll always carry yourself with you to whichever situation you take yourself. Your thoughts, history and abilities all play a part in how you carry yourself in interactions, don’t put yourself in a situation where you’re likely to perform badly.