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Do you know a friend or coworker who is fun to hang out with? Someone who, whenever you have a problem, they’re always there to help or at least cheer you up? On the other hand, maybe you also know someone who only brings negativity to your life. Someone who makes fun of you whenever you make a mistake or guilt trip you into giving them favors. Imagine you are going to recommend one of them for a raise or promotion. Most likely, you’ll recommend the good friend and not the bully. Well if you want to get good karma and be given more good opportunities in life, you’ll have to be the good friend to everyone.
Whether it’s for your business, career, or your friends and family, getting people to like us is a skill we need to succeed and have excellent relationships. Unfortunately, too many people try to force it with flattery and manipulation. If you want to make people like you, then you need to do it the right way: through kindness and goodwill. These are the five lessons you need to learn now.
5 Ways to Make People Like You
Show Sincere Appreciation
Who would you prefer as your friend, coworker, or leader? Someone who cares only about themselves, constantly ignores you, and criticizes everything you say and do, or would you prefer someone who cares about people, appreciates what you do, and offers good feedback when you make mistakes? Would you want a someone who always seems to think that they’re better than you, or someone who treats you like a friend?
Norman Vincent Peale, author of The Power of Positive Thinking said that there’s one basic trait that will make people like you more: “A sincere and forthright interest in and love for people.” This is, as Dale Carnegie said, different from flattery which is simply manipulation. Appreciation is a compliment and you give it because you want to, not because you want something in return.
Show sincere appreciation for others, and people will appreciate you back.
Choose the best for everyone
Few people like it when you try to take advantage of them. While YOU might be proud and happy for “winning” a negotiation, the “losing” side will now start avoiding you (and tell other people how abusive you are). You’ve won one battle, but you’ve lost friends.
This is one lesson I’ve learned from Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Think WIN-WIN. Whenever you deal with other people, find an option where you can ALL benefit. For example, whenever you ask for help, give something of equal value in exchange or offer to do something for them in the future and stick to that commitment.
Whenever you make a deal, ALWAYS be fair: Don’t take advantage of people, and don’t let people take advantage of you.
Help without expecting anything in return
A “devil’s bargain” is a phrase for a terrible deal where you lose a lot to get a little benefit. Do you know some people who, whenever you ask them for help they tend to take advantage of your kindness later on?
“Come on, I gave you $20 last week when you needed money! The least you can do is let me stay at your house and eat half your food for one month! If you don’t, then you’re not a good friend.”
Don’t be that person. People hate abusers and you’ll be hated too if you act like one. Think about it: Do you love giving favors to get some future benefit? Do you love calling on those favors when convenient? Stop doing that immediately. Whenever you help people, do it because you’re doing the right thing and not because you want something in return.
On the other hand, sacrificing yourself (and your family’s welfare) to help others is no good either. Selling your house to help a friend financially (then complaining later on when they won’t do the same for you)? Stop that! There are ways to help without sacrificing your own livelihood: Give encouragement, contacts, ideas, or other forms of help so that they can solve the problem themselves.
It’s best to remember the words of Malcolm S. Forbes: “You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.” Help others because you are kind, not because you want something back.
Learn how to be Charismatic
Olivia Fox Cobane, the author of The Charisma Myth: How Anyone can Master the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism, said that there are three main factors to being Charismatic: Presence, Power, and Warmth.
Presence is being fully engaged in listening and interacting with others. You often notice the lack of this when you talk to someone and you know they’re not listening because they’re thinking of something else. You probably felt offended whenever people do that, so avoid doing it to others.
Power charisma is the ability to project the image that you can change the world around you (and if you can use it to help others). This is very similar to what people would call “confidence.”
Warmth, on the other hand, is your willingness to help others (part of the third tip). Very often, this is what real leaders do: they are kind to their employees. On the other hand, those bosses who intimidate employees and force them to work tend to lack warmth.
You must learn to practice all three: Pay attention to others, act with confidence, and show kindness to people around you. Those are skills you can learn and master. You just need to find a good book or teacher and practice.
Have a Positive Mindset
Perhaps you’ve heard that most communication is nonverbal. You’ll often sense hidden intentions when manipulative people talk to you. Whether it’s something in their tone of voice, their smile, or the way they look at you, you know there’s another meaning to what they say. Even though they say things like “I want to help you” (but you’ll have to do something for me later) or “You look beautiful today” (can I borrow some money?), you can sense that some people simply want to manipulate you and you’ll tend to hate them for it.
Other people can sense that too if YOU try it, so avoid doing that at all costs.
This is the key that will make the other four lessons work: it’s not the words you say that matter most but the mindset that you have. You need to have good intentions, sincerely appreciate others, and have a genuine intent to help.
Begin with the mindset that you’re a good person and doing great things for the world. When you’ve learned to truly believe it, people will sense your kind intentions and people will want to be kind to you too.
John Maxwell said that few people are successful unless a lot of people want them to be. That’s why you should take this tip from Zig Ziglar: “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.”