11 psychological tricks that make you instantly more likable

Amy Reed by Amy Reed | May 22, 2024, 2:04 pm

Being liked is actually a very good thing in life.

It can help you make friends and build stronger relationships with the people around you. It can even help you get ahead in your career!

Craving that people like you isn’t a good thing. That crosses over into being a people pleaser.

But there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be likable – especially if you’re trying to make a good first impression at an office party or interview.

So give these 11 psychological tricks a go if you want to be instantly more likable!

1) Smile with your eyes

The best trick in the book to make someone instantly like you is to give them a big, warm smile!

Experts say that smiling with your eyes is widely recognized as the most genuine type of smile. It makes people think you’re friendlier and, according to studies, makes them feel instantly bonded to you.

2) Ask them about themselves

Most people love talking about themselves. Or at least, they like to feel important.

When you ask someone questions about them and their lives, that’s exactly how you make them feel: important.

So if you want someone to instantly like you, try asking them questions about themselves. Ask them what they do for work or about their holiday plans.

Take a genuine interest in what they say and ask follow-up questions, too. It’ll make them feel like you’re really listening and interested in finding out more about them.

3) Say their name in conversation

What’s another way to make people instantly like you? Name drop!

Whenever you can, drop their name into the conversation. Why?

Firstly, it lets them know that you’ve remembered their name (very important). Secondly, it makes them feel included in the conversation you’re having – especially when you’re in a crowd!

Say their name is Sophie. When talking in a group, say, “And how is work for you, Sophie?”. Or after they’ve said something, say, “I completely get where you’re coming from, Sophie”.

It sounds a lot more personal, and people really value it!

4) Laugh at their jokes

Doesn’t everyone like people who laugh at their jokes? I know I do!

There’s nothing worse than meeting someone new and saying something light-heartedly funny, only for them to stare at you and not even crack a smile.

When you do this, it makes you look unfriendly, unapproachable, and like you lack a sense of humor, in general.

But when you laugh at their jokes, they think better of you and themselves!

5) Offer them a drink

Imagine you’re meeting your new partner’s family for the first time. It’s a huge family gathering and there are people everywhere.

Everyone’s quizzing you with questions and introducing themselves. It’s a lot of information to take in.

Suddenly, a cousin offers you a drink. You get to answer something easy – yes! And you get to hold something so you know what to do with your hands…

The point I’m making is: people who offer you a drink make you feel welcome, looked after, and more at home. So if you ever meet someone in this kind of situation (and many others!), give it a go.

Chances are, they’ll remember you and what you did for a long time – way longer than the people who ogle at them, anyway!

6) Keep good eye contact

Picture this: you’re talking to someone new and they keep looking away, glancing at other people around the room. What do you immediately think?

If it was me, I’d think this person was looking for a reason to escape my company! Like they’re scouring the room for someone else to chat to instead of me.

Which, needless to say, doesn’t feel good.

So when you meet someone new, try to avoid this at all costs! Hold their eye while they’re speaking and when you answer their questions, too.

7) Look interested in what they have to say

Another way to make someone instantly like you is to make it very obvious that you’re interested in the conversation with them!

A good way to do this is to maintain good eye contact while they’re talking (as mentioned above). But there are other ways you can look like you’re actually enjoying yourself, too!

Like nodding your head while they talk, making those “mm-hm” noises, and matching your facial expressions to theirs when it feels right.

Even if you are interested in the conversation, your face might not always look like it. But incorporating these things into your chats makes it unquestionable!

8) Avoid checking your phone

This is all part and parcel of looking interested and present. But it’s still important to mention it specifically!

When you meet someone new, or are just talking to anyone, really, put your phone down.

I’ve never been someone to check my phone that much when I’m with other people – and I’ll only reply to messages if it’s really urgent. Which is why I find it extremely difficult to talk to people who are always on their phones!

A friend of mine does this all the time. As soon as she gets a text or a notification, she has to check it, read it, and reply to it then and there.

When we’re out for dinner, having a coffee together, or just catching up, it isn’t nice that she keeps pausing the conversation or only partially listening to reply to other people.  

It honestly makes me feel like she’d rather talk to everyone else except the person she’s with (i.e., me!). Even if that isn’t true, being on your phone all the time just isn’t the right way to make someone like you instantly.

9) Be agreeable (just not too much)

Another handy trick to make yourself instantly likable is to agree with people. Experts say that people with shared interests are more likely to get along with each other. Their friendships are also more likely to be stronger and more valuable.

Which is why making yourself a little bit agreeable is a good way to make friends. Or at least, to make certain people like you!

Say your boss loves ice hockey. You don’t like it that much, but you go along with it and agree with her that it’s the best sport in the industry.

After all, agreeing with her isn’t going to have a huge impact on your life. And disagreeing will probably just annoy her unnecessarily…

But the fact that you agree will have a big impact on her and how much she likes you.

Just make sure you aren’t too agreeable! No one likes a yes man or woman. So make sure you still show some of your opinions when the time is right!

10) Show some empathy and understanding

Caring people are easy to like – that’s just a fact. Have you ever met someone and thought to yourself afterward, “They were nice”?

Well, that’s probably because they showed you some empathy and understanding when you first met them.

If you opened up about something, they might have offered you some kind, thoughtful, caring, or understanding words.

Like when I first met a friend of a friend who had a two-year engagement, she brought it up in conversation. I responded by saying something like, “There’s no rush is there? And besides, it’s nice to actually enjoy being engaged!”.

My friend told me later that she really liked that I’d said that, since most people say something negative when she tells them about it.

Don’t go overboard with your niceties – like I said earlier, no one likes a people pleaser! Plus, it can make it look like you’re a fake nice person

But a little kindness can go a long way!

11) Offer to help

Another way to make people say, “[Your name] seems nice” after you first meet them is to offer help. Similarly to how you want to show them some kindness, offering to give them a hand with something is a nice gesture.

Say you meet someone new at a work function. They say they’re trying to get the word out about their new book club. You offer to take some of their flyers and put them in the kitchen on your floor.

That’s a nice thing to do – which also isn’t that hard to do. But they’ll remember it, and they’ll definitely like you more because of it!

Just don’t “overbook” yourself in an attempt to get people to like you.

There’s a difference between offering your help to place some flyers in your kitchen compared to helping them design the flyers, print them out, deliver them to every floor in your building, and helping them run the entire book club!

When you can’t deliver on promises like these, this can end up having the opposite effect. As in, people might not like you at all…

Final thoughts

As we’ve mentioned several times in this article, it’s not a good thing to be a people pleaser. It can make you desperately unhappy and lacking in self-esteem.

But if you just want people to like you a little bit more – and make a good first impression at school, work, or a new social club – give these little tricks a go.

After all, it’s the little things in life that make a big difference in the end!