How to be Liked More and Why it Matters
I’ve frequently had an, “I don’t care if you like me,” approach to life. Looking back, it was insecurity not confidence. I wanted people to prove they liked me because I didn’t feel that likeable.
Being liked matters:
You care about being liked because people are influenced by people they like. Wanting to be liked is strength. Needing to be liked is weakness. Not caring is short-sighted.
How to not be liked:
- Out do others.
- Know more than others.
- Manipulate people into liking you.
- Need to be liked. Few things are less likeable than needing it.
- Frequently correct and instruct.
How to be liked:
- Like yourself but don’t be self-absorbed.
- Like others. People like people who like them.
- Move toward them before they move toward you. First movers are more likeable.
- Emphasize similarity; it’s less threatening and creates connections.
- Thoroughly listen. Ask about what they care about.
- Disagree honestly and respectfully.
- Slow your speech when they pull back. I learned this from Carol Kinsey Goman’s book, “The Silent Language of Leaders.” When they show signs of disagreement or skepticism slow down and give them time to think. You demonstrate respect when you pay attention.
- Focus disagreements on issues not people.
- Maintain open and welcoming postures.
- Be calm in one-on-one conversations.
- Assume the best of others.
- Be you in ways that matter to them.
- Respect and appreciation.
Bonus: Be vulnerable. Let people see your weaknesses.
What do others do that invite you to like them?
What do others do that turn you off?
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This is a great article, but can you expound on the “how not to be liked” points? Based on your article pursuing excellence (out doing others) is a way to not be liked. I like to be the best I can at almost everything I do. Is that wrong? Please clarify. I’d like to hear the opinions of others as well.
Angie, I think there is a difference between being your best and trying to outdo others. Being your best is competing with yourself to do even better than before, for example. Trying to outdo others seems to start with a premise that others are better and I am going to show them that I am better than them, doesn’t matter whether I am really better than them or not. Does this make sense?
I agree completely with Sanjay. I always try to do my best and pursue excellence, but it is never in a comparative or externally competitive way. I want everyone to do their best. I recently had to leave a work environment when I realized that part of the organizational culture that was unlikely to ever change was a competitive attitude that required a “one up / one down” relationship with others. Eg “I can’t advance myself without shoving you down a little.” I simply couldn’t stand it anymore. I do my best, but it doesn’t require me to try and “do better” than anyone else – I just need to do focus on improve my own “last best”.
Sometimes, however, if one has an innate, neurological, biologically-based developmental problem, that, too, can have a severe impact on a person’s ability to relate to others. I happen to fall into that category, and, although I’m not all that well-liked by most neurotypical people, I refuse to go into special needs programs, because the regular world belongs to me just as much as it belongs to neurotypical people.
Good post Dan.
I had not thought of not being concerned about whether people liked you or not as a matter of insecurity.I cansee how that may be a factor some of the time.
More importantly though, not being liked interferes with communication. Some of this mixes likeability with respect. If people don’t really like you, they aren’t going to hear your ideas out, and even if they appear to be listening, they cannot help carry the idea, mission or vision forward, because they can’t “hear” you.
Thanks for your comment.
In my world, making people “prove” they like me was a symptom of insecurity. I’m not sure if there is some psychological term for it.
Maybe it’s “I’ll be unlikeable so if you like me I’ll know you really mean it” syndrome. 🙂
I like how you connect like and respect. I know we can respect people we disagree with…I wonder if we can respect people we don’t like?
Yes, I think we can respect people we don’t like, but they have to work a lot harder. 🙂
Agree with Martina, this is another thought-provoking post.
I think wanting to be liked is an acknowledgement that what other people think has value. We can’t just say that what they think about business or politics has value but what they think about us doesn’t. Part of being interdependent is caring what other people think about us.
Dan, you’re dead on: When we obsess about it, that’s either insecurity or narcissism. But not to care at all is unhealthy too; it denies our need to be a part of society.
Dan, I can identify with Angie and have seen negative results when I rise above my peers in job performance but it seems there is a fine line between performance in the work setting and what you are referring to in this post. Can you comment on this?
Thanks for your comment and question.
People don’t look you when you out do others … I was thinking mostly of those conversations where you say I own a new car and someone says theirs is new and better.
The issue of out performing co-workers and peers is a different issue and as you indicate, a sticky one.
Best to you,
I once heard someone say: “I hope you like me, I really really do. But if you don’t, that’s ok too.” Sometimes people go against their own values and true self just to be liked and accepted. Sometimes you have to stand up for what you believe in — even if it means you won’t be the most popular in the group. Thanks for the post!
Thank you for yet another great post Dan.
I think our need to belong can move us far astray. This post is a reminder of this and how it is best performed.
I do not like the Law of Jante, but I like your angle that we ought to do it for the right reason. The motivating factor is crucial. Is it fear and stagnation or desire to share notions and experience growth?
I so much enjoy all your posts.
I appreciated the difference between needing to be liked and wanting to be liked. It is an important difference. The advice to slow down when someone is in disagreement was thought-provoking! Letting someone have time to digest and think without feeling attacked and taken advantage of is a crucial piece in mediating through disagreement, even though that disagreement is not necessarily going to change. It can at least feel respectfully shared and not like a personal attack.
Critical to understand this. SO important to creating good relationships with others. Thanks for the posting.
Good post Dan. Thanks!
We can know more than others it is however, how we deliver what we know …
Nicely said…. thanks
I’m now reading Jeffrey Pfeffer’s great book from last year, Power: Why some people have it–and others don’t. Interestingly, he writes that research has shown that likeability is overrated when you’re wanting to be viewed as competent and powerful. Nice people are perceived as warm, but also weak and less intelligent. My takeaway from his book and your blog post is to like others and show them respect, but don’t be obsessed with being liked.
And I love your blog, Dan!
Hi Dan, wow the imponderable conundrum do I behave to be liked or do I match the tongue in my mouth with the one in my shoe and let the natives decide my “like-ability.” The big question to ask ourselves is whether being liked is more important than being respected and admired for what we do and more significantly how and why we do it. Everyone wants to be liked and appeasing others , making the popular decisions, and making others happy is a noble undertaking but never at expense of righteousness and integrity. Doing what you can do will never supercede doing what you should do regardless of the danger, the incovenience, and the perceived notorierty if one’s actions are based on firm values you hold dear. First and foremost we must like who we see in the mirror and behave accordingly so that our self image always represents who we truly are. The people important to us will see the true you and what is there not to like about that. Like yourself first, acknowledge those that don’t, recgnize those that do, and above all be happy in the fulfillment of doing what you believe and God will smile upon you. Who else is there to like you better? Dan for the record I most definitely like you and I have no doubt She does as well. 🙂
Very well said – thank for your post!!
Mindy thank you for your kind word. On a day when we commemorate all those innocent people and brave brothers and sisters attempting to help those who fell victim to the perils of misguided hatred and resentment let us remember how special these persons are. The many that remind us that tomorrow is promised to no one and the courageous that humble us with their valor and love for their fellow man. What greater moment is there to reflect how much we should not only like but love each other and reach out to those that hurt and enlist the help of those who don’t. It is our planet and our personal patch is only a tiny stitch of this wondrous quilt we call earth. Some day all those threads will be united and our energies will merge and the beauty of it all will remind us how blessed we are to have each other. We say our solemn prayer for those that perished and whom we will all see again. Your passing will not be in vain but a constant reminder to continue struggling to appreciate each other’s love and contribution. God bless America and God bless the world.
Due to my own personality and psychic make-up, I’ve never considered any cause(s) worth the risk of getting arrested, thrown in jail, getting beat up or possibly worse. That’s how I feel about it. I see absolutely nothing heroic what. so. ever about standing signally in front of a huge, 6-ton bulldozer to make a point, and getting run over and killed. Just my take on it.
Dan – Great article! Do you see anyway for someone to turn around the perception that people have about them? It seems like once someone labels another person as difficult, exasperating, uncooperative – it’s hard for them to shake that label. When the person does have comments of value, they are lost because the listener has written them off. I would appreciate your thoughts on this.
Off the top of my head. Shifting toward advancing the agenda of others opens the door for opportunities to advance ours. Additionally, offer more encouragements than corrections or suggestions. Notice what others are doing right and let them know you notice and appreciate them and the things they are doing.
Great post! Poor communication skills. Not so much verbal but on non-verbal communication. Like no eye contact, being distracted, and poor body language.
If you’re born with innately poor social skills (as I was.) you’re screwed…big time. It sucks, but that’s how it is.
Being liked helps leaders better convey value. We are more likely to be motivated by people we like. We are more likely to respect people we like. Being liked isn’t the ultimate goal, but a vehicle that helps us easily get to the relationship strengths that matter to leaders. I have a tendency to like people who are genuinely interested in my success, doing the right thing, and growing or learning. I am drawn to people who are curious about the world, and who make interesting connections between different topics or systems that help me and my team achieve our goals. I am instantly turned off by people who outwardly seek power through demonstrating power over others, who act entitled, or who disregard how people feel over what they think of as more important facts. I dislike leaders whose actions show they are more interested in achieving their own goals over the team goals, or who treat others and their goals as less important. Bad leaders will choose to chase their own goals over the team’s success.