Sometimes, making friends can be hard.
Have you been through this scenario?
You start your first class of the first day back to school. It’s a new semester, a new schedule, new people, anything could happen. The student you end up sitting next to could be your next best friend! Possibilities are endless for friendship.
That’s what you think your first day. The next day the hope is still there, it lasts the week, maybe the month? But then you soon find your hope dwindling down as you haven’t seemed to make an impression on anyone.
So, you think: do people like me?
Don’t worry. Odds are, others just haven’t gotten to know more about you, and what makes you great! Because we all have something that makes us great to someone out there. You may just need to develop some likeable habits that get others to notice you enough to want to find out what those great qualities are.
So, to help you become an even greater person, here are some habits that can make someone like you. Hey, you may even find yourself liking you a bit more.
1. Remember People’s Names & Call Them by Them Too!
Have you ever perked up at the call of your name? Perhaps, someone across the room mentioned you at a party, and instead of saying ‘hey you’ they said… well, your name!
We love our names so much, that we can even pinpoint our own names being spoken by someone in a loud crowd or party. This form of selective attention is related to the ‘cocktail party effect’. While in a crowded or loud room, we can hone in on a specific conversation of our choosing. More importantly, if our name is spoken nearby – even when we are focused on another conversation – we immediately perk up and recognize that someone is talking about us.
Think about it, it not only makes you focus more when someone says your name, but it makes you feel better knowing they actually bothered to remember it.
Try taking a mental note of each individual’s name when you meet them, and thinking of a related image to help you remember them.
2. Give Genuine Compliments When They Cross Your Mind
Everyone loves compliments, and we can usually tell when they are genuine.
Next time you meet someone and notice something you like about them, don’t hesitate to tell them. It’s best to let others know the great things about them, wouldn’t you want to know if someone is thinking highly of you?
When we speak of others in a positive light, people will associate the traits we use to describe that person, with ourselves. This happens when we talk about someone to someone else.
This is called spontaneous trait transference, and it occurs when “communicators are perceived as possessing the very traits they describe in others” (J J Skowronski, D E Carlston, L Mae, M T Crawford).
According to several studies published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, researchers found that when we describe someone with a certain trait to another person, that person will associate us with the trait described.
So, does it hurt to give someone you just met a compliment? How about your lab partner, Derrick, who always ace’s the quizzes? Or the student sitting next to you with a great sense of fashion? What was her name again? You better remember. Ah, Susie. Go ahead and tell them their outfit looks great. And even tell your lab partner Derrick that Susie does indeed have great taste, he may even associate that compliment to how great you are in the process.
I’m sure they would love to hear nice things said about them.
3. Spend More Time with Them
Hhhmm, want a secret to getting someone to like you? Try spending some time with them!
This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to ask them out right away if it doesn’t feel quite right or natural, but it can mean sitting with them at lunch! Or perhaps you want a coworker to like you, get to know them by having a quick coffee chat with them, it never hurts to try.
It’s best to make socializing with others a habit if you want to make friends. In fact, according to psychological research, simply being around someone more often makes them like you more.
According to the psychological study by R.B. Zajonc, the mere exposure effect is a psychological phenomenon in which people find themselves preferring someone or something simply because they developed familiarity with them.
When a person is repeatedly exposed to a certain stimuli, that person develops familiarity with the stimuli and therefore prefers it’s presence. This is why certain products in ads are constantly being repeated during your favorite programming’s commercial breaks. The more familiar you are with something, the more you’ll start to notice it.
And if they turn you down when you ask them out? Odds are, they’re not worth getting to know at all!
4. You Don’t Need to Be ‘Perfect’, So Stop Acting as If You Are
You may think that you have to appear perfect to attract others your way. How could your friend possibly like you if you don’t ace every single test? How could they admire you if you don’t look extremely fashionable every day? (Props to Susie though. 😉) How could anyone every get to know you if you don’t have perfect vocabulary and speech?
Hate to break it to you, – well… actually I want to break it to you – but people don’t care that much!
While you would think otherwise, often people find this so called ‘perfection’ intimidating, distant or unattainable. Ya, I know, not even perfect is good enough?
In fact, people may find others who aren’t superbly perfect – and who even possess the rarity of these so-called ‘flaws’ -, as more attractive.
In the study, researcher Elliot Aronson had people rate fake ‘test-takers’ based on their attractiveness. Test-takers would either do great on a test, mediocre, or poor.
The imperfection? Some test-takers would act clumsy and spill coffee at the end of the interview, after their scores were revealed.
People rated the test-takers who spilled coffee at the end of their interview the highest on the attractiveness scale.
Meaning, people want to see you are intelligent and capable, but that you aren’t perfect.
As the research paper states: “a superior person may be viewed as superhuman and, therefore, distant; a blunder tends to humanize him and, consequently, increases his attractiveness.”
Poor test takers, mediocre test-takers, and even great test-takers were still rated lower than the superior test-taker who scored great and spilled coffee at the end. Others may be intimidated if you come across as perfect and make no mistakes. They want to see your human side.
But when you show you are capable and yet still relatable as a human being who makes mistakes, people tend to like you more.
5. Look to the Positives First
You know that one person in a group who always has the nicest and most positive things to say? Don’t you ever feel an aura of happiness and peace when around them? They never seem to complain, and when they do it’s only because of particularly important reasons (“there was a hair in my taco salad order!” …Something like that…).
They seem to emit this bright positive energy that makes others gravitate towards them. Why can’t you do the same?
So, if you display positive emotions, others are likely to mimic your happy facial expressions and gestures. Therefore, they are likely to feel positive emotions around you and want to be with you more.
Meaning if you go ahead and try to look to what makes you happy first, others will like your company, and ultimately you.
All you have to do is make it a habit to look to the positives of a situation before the negatives. Because others love to be near someone who is happy, and if you can find the light in any dark situation, isn’t that something to be happy about?
6. You Actively Listen and Let Others Talk About Themselves Too
When we try to jump into a conversation and interrupt someone with our own thoughts on the subject prematurely, it can backfire. As much as us humans love to talk about ourselves, it’s important to realize others want to talk about themselves too! Which means if you let them, they may just like you a bit more.
Harvard researchers discovered that taking the time to talk about yourself can have its rewards.
In one of the five studies, subjects sat in an fMRI machine and had to respond to questions about either their own opinions on a subject, or another’s. Regions of the brain associated with reward and motivation were most active while talking about their own thoughts on a subject, as opposed to others.
In fact, the need to talk about ourselves is so strong, that in another study conducted by Harvard researchers, some subjects even declined money to talk about themselves more!
As the research article states: “Self-disclosure was strongly associated with increased activation in brain regions that form the mesolimbic dopamine system, including the nucleus accumbens and ventral tegmental area. Moreover, individuals were willing to forgo money to disclose about the self.”
So, go ahead and let your company talk about themselves for a while. They’ll enjoy their time around you more – and increase dopamine! – as long as you make sure to listen and not doze off.
It’s a habit worth practicing! Next time you know you’ve been talking too much, try to remind yourself the other person is dying to express their opinion as much as you are, and they may have something interesting to say.
So, what do you think? Are you ready to start practicing these behaviors in hopes for them becoming a natural habit? Maybe you possess some of these habits yourself. Try them out and see if you make any new friends. And be sure to let us know in the comments what happened.
And if you did make any friends using these habits, you’re not alone.
Susie and Derrick have been practicing too, and now they’re the best of friends.
They’re just so positive, fashionable, and intelligent!
And clumsy with the coffee too… 😉
Written by Michal Mitchell
Check out my other articles: “6 Behaviors That Make Someone Chase You” and “5 Signs You’re More Likeable Than You Think!“
- Mitchell, M. (2020) 6 Behaviors That Make Someone Chase You, Backed by Psychological Research. Psych2Go, https://psych2go.net/6-behaviors-that-make-someone-chase-you-backed-by-psychological-research/
- Mitchell, M. (2020) 5 Signs You’re More Likeable Than You Think (And Tips to Help You If You’re Not). Psych2Go, https://psych2go.net/5-signs-youre-more-likeable-than-you-think-and-tips-to-help-you-if-youre-not/
- Skowronski, J. J., Carlston, D. E., Mae, L., & Crawford, M. T. (1998). Spontaneous trait transference: communicators taken on the qualities they describe in others. Journal of personality and social psychology, 74(4), 837–848. https://doi.org/10.1037//0022-3522.214.171.1247
- Zajonc, R. B. (2001). Mere Exposure: A Gateway to the Subliminal. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 10(6), 224–228. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-8721.00154
- “Cocktail Party Effect.” Psychology Wiki, psychology.wikia.org/wiki/Cocktail_party_effect.
- Aronson, E., Willerman, B., & Floyd, J. (1966). The effect of a pratfall on increasing interpersonal attractiveness. Psychonomic Science, 4(6), 227–228. https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03342263