10 behaviors that immediately make people like you when you first meet them

Tina Fey by Tina Fey | June 18, 2024, 2:12 pm

There’s no guidebook handed out in school on how to be instantly likable when meeting people for the first time.

We learn the basics of good manners, perhaps a bit about body language and communication skills, and if we’re lucky, we might stumble across some age-old wisdom from distant relatives on how to make a good first impression.

One of the issues is that many societal norms are deeply ingrained in us, often promoting artificiality over authenticity.

We are encouraged to put on masks and play roles, resulting in superficial relationships where people are seen as stepping stones rather than individuals with whom to connect genuinely.

This is why we need to unlearn many of these misguided social habits and instead adopt behaviors that lead to instant likability.

These behaviors are rarely discussed in mainstream self-help literature as they can seem unconventional. However, they prove effective.

Let’s delve into 10 behaviors that immediately make people like you when you first meet them.

1. They express genuine interest in others

People who are instantly likable often show a genuine interest in those around them.

They understand that interest isn’t just about asking questions—it’s about showing curiosity towards another person’s life, their experiences, and their perspectives.

These individuals don’t just engage in small talk. Instead, they dive deeper, seeking to understand the motivations and aspirations of those they meet.

Showing genuine interest not only keeps the conversation flowing but also makes the other person feel valued and acknowledged. It’s a way of saying, “I see you, and I find your existence fascinating.”

Moreover, expressing genuine interest helps to build meaningful connections. It allows them to understand others on a deeper level, encouraging a sense of trust and rapport.

These people not only enjoy—but strive to connect with others in such a way that without these meaningful interactions, they may feel as though they’re missing out on an essential part of human connection.

In essence, showing genuine interest is a surefire way to be instantly likable when meeting new people.

As an old saying goes, “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”

2. They practice active listening

Those who are immediately likable often excel in the art of active listening.

They know that listening isn’t just about being quiet while the other person talks, but about fully engaging in what’s being shared.

These individuals don’t just hear words; they absorb the feelings, the undercurrent emotions, and the subtle nuances that come with them.

They make eye contact, provide responsive feedback, and refrain from interrupting.

Active listening signals respect and understanding. It tells the other person, “I value what you’re saying, and I’m here to understand.”

Moreover, active listening helps to foster deeper connections. It allows them to truly comprehend others’ thoughts and feelings, fostering empathy and rapport.

These people not only enjoy—but are devoted to active listening as they recognize its power in building strong interpersonal bonds.

Without this commitment to fully engage in conversations, they may feel they’re not giving their best to those they interact with.

As the American author Stephen R. Covey once said, “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”

To be likable is to strive to understand before being understood.

3. They exude positive energy

Individuals who are instantly likable often radiate positivity.

They understand that this doesn’t mean always being excessively cheerful or denying negative emotions.

Instead, it’s about maintaining a positive outlook on life, focusing on solutions rather than problems, and spreading optimism.

These individuals don’t just express positivity verbally; their body language, facial expressions, and even their silence can send out positive vibes.

They bring a sense of warmth and comfort to their interactions, making others feel uplifted and hopeful.

Exuding positive energy not only brightens up the atmosphere but also draws people towards them.

It’s a magnetic force that says, “I believe in the beauty of life, and I invite you to see it too.”

These people not only enjoy—but actively cultivate positivity as they understand its power in creating likability.

Without this radiant energy, they may feel disconnected from their inherent zest for life.

In essence, cultivating and spreading positive energy is a surefire way to make people like you immediately upon meeting them.

It’s the universal language that breaks down walls and builds bridges between hearts.

4. They show genuine empathy

People who are immediately likable are often deeply empathetic.

They comprehend that empathy isn’t just about feeling sorry for someone; it’s about putting themselves in another person’s shoes and understanding their emotions from their perspective.

These individuals don’t just offer sympathy; they strive to resonate with the feelings of others, offering comfort and support in times of need.

Their words, actions, and even their silence can convey empathy, creating a safe space for others to express their feelings.

Showing genuine empathy not only comforts those in distress but also creates a deep bond of trust and understanding.

It’s a message saying, “I may not have walked your path, but I feel your journey.”

These people not only value—but practice empathy as they realize its significance in fostering likability.

Without empathy, they may feel detached from the emotional realities of others.

5. They maintain authenticity

People who are immediately likable often exhibit a strong sense of authenticity.

They understand that being authentic isn’t about being perfect—it’s about being real.

It’s about showing up as they are, without the pretense or the need to impress others.

These individuals don’t hide behind a facade; they dare to be vulnerable and reveal their true selves.

They show honesty in their words and consistency in their actions, creating an atmosphere of trust and respect.

Maintaining authenticity not only sets them apart but also attracts people who value sincerity and genuineness.

It’s like saying, “This is me, with all my strengths and weaknesses.”

These people not only appreciate—but embody authenticity as they realize its importance in building likability.

Without authenticity, they may feel like they’re losing touch with their true selves.

In essence, being authentic is a key behavior in making people like you instantly when first meeting them.

As Oscar Wilde wisely said, “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”

6. They exude confidence

Those who are instantly likable often project a healthy degree of confidence.

They comprehend that displaying confidence isn’t about boasting or showing off—it’s about accepting themselves, their abilities, and their worth.

These individuals don’t seek validation from others; they derive their self-esteem from within, unafraid to express their opinions and stand by their values. Their posture, voice, and actions all speak of a person who knows their worth.

Exuding confidence not only makes them stand out, but it also inspires others. It’s a silent message that says, “I trust in myself and my capabilities.”

These people not only value—but exude confidence because they understand its power in creating likability. Without this self-assured demeanor, they may feel they’re not living up to their full potential.

In essence, demonstrating confidence is a critical behavior to make people like you instantly when you first meet them.

It’s a testament to self-belief and resilience in the face of life’s challenges.

7. They respect boundaries

People who are immediately likable are often respectful of boundaries.

They understand that recognizing boundaries isn’t about creating distance—it’s about acknowledging personal space and respecting individuality.

These individuals don’t overstep or disregard personal limits; they seek to understand and respect the comfort zones of others. Their actions, words, and even silence convey a deep respect for personal boundaries.

Respecting boundaries not only ensures harmonious interactions but also builds trust. It sends a clear message: “I respect your personal space and individuality.”

These people not only appreciate—but practice respect for boundaries as they realize its crucial role in fostering likability. Without this understanding and respect for personal limits, they may seem intrusive or overbearing.

In conclusion, respecting boundaries is a vital behavior in making people like you instantly when first meeting them.

It’s about acknowledging and valuing the individuality of others while maintaining a healthy balance in relationships.

8. They are open-minded

Individuals who are instantly likable often display a remarkable level of open-mindedness.

They realize that being open-minded isn’t about agreeing with everyone—it’s about being receptive to different ideas and perspectives, even when they diverge from their own.

These individuals don’t dismiss others’ views outright; they listen, understand, and even appreciate the diversity of thought. Their approachability and willingness to engage in meaningful discussions make others feel valued and respected.

Being open-minded not only allows them to learn and grow but also fosters a sense of inclusion. It signals, “Your thoughts matter to me.”

These people not only value—but practice open-mindedness as they understand its impact on likability. Without this openness, they risk coming across as rigid or dismissive.

In essence, open-mindedness is a significant behavior in making people like you instantly when you first meet them. It’s about embracing diversity and fostering an environment of acceptance and mutual respect.

9. They possess a good sense of humor

People who are immediately likable often have a good sense of humor.

They understand that humor isn’t just about cracking jokes—it’s about appreciating the lighter side of life, diffusing tension, and connecting with others through shared laughter.

These individuals don’t use humor at the expense of others; they use it to create joy and bring people together. Their ability to laugh at themselves and find humor even in challenging situations makes them enjoyable company.

Possessing a good sense of humor not only makes them fun to be around but also makes people feel comfortable in their presence. It’s like saying, “Let’s enjoy life together.”

These people not only embrace—but share their sense of humor as they recognize its role in fostering likability. Without this knack for humor, they may seem too serious or detached from the joys of life.

In conclusion, having a good sense of humor is a key behavior in making people like you instantly when first meeting them. It’s about spreading joy, creating shared moments of laughter, and making life a little less serious.

10. They are kind and considerate

Those who are instantly likable often display acts of kindness and consideration.

They understand that being kind isn’t just about grand gestures—it’s about showing empathy, offering help, and expressing concern for others in small but meaningful ways.

These individuals don’t limit their kindness to friends and family; they extend it to strangers, acquaintances, and even to those who may not always be kind to them. Their actions speak volumes about their character, making others feel appreciated and cared for.

Being kind and considerate not only endears them to others but also promotes a culture of compassion. It says, “I care about your well-being.”

These people not only believe in—but actively practice kindness as they recognize its transformative power in creating likability. Without this compassion, they may appear indifferent or uncaring.

Being kind and considerate is a crucial behavior in making people like you instantly when you first meet them. It’s a testament to our shared humanity and the power of compassion in building connections.

In conclusion

The complexities of human behavior and interpersonal connections often have profound ties to our inherent nature.

One such connection is the relationship between likability and the psychological concept known as Emotional Intelligence or EQ.

EQ, a key factor in understanding and managing our emotions and those of others, plays a pivotal role in our social interactions.

For people with high EQ, their behaviors that make them instantly likable when first meeting others might be a natural extension of their emotional intelligence. Their ability to empathize, listen actively, show genuine interest, exude positivity, and respect boundaries could potentially stem from their adeptness at recognizing and responding to their own and others’ emotions.

Whether it’s engaging in a deep, meaningful conversation, offering a word of comfort, or simply sharing a genuine smile, the underlying emotional intelligence might be enhancing their interactions.

As Daniel Goleman, an American psychologist who helped popularize emotional intelligence, once said, “In a very real sense we have two minds, one that thinks and one that feels. And it’s those who have found a balance between the two that have an edge in the present-day society.”

So the next time you meet someone new, remember these behaviors not just as a means to be liked but as an opportunity for genuine connection. Because at the end of the day, it’s not just about being liked—it’s about understanding and connecting with others on a deeper level.

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