How To Be More Likable In Social Settings

Parties and get togethers are tough for everyone. But they're particularly difficult for those of us who are anxious, awkward, or quiet. They can leave you hiding in a corner wondering how to be more likable, and it really doesn't make for the best time.

So let me start by saying this — stop overthinking it. As someone who's constantly wondering if I'm saying too much, or not enough, I can tell you that the best thing to do is stop worrying so much. People can tell when you're all holed up inside your head, analyzing every little thing. And it's not very likable.

That's because overthinking in social situations takes you out of the present moment. Instead of listening to someone's story, you're thinking about what to say in response. And instead of enjoying the company and getting lost in the moment, you're mulling over that "dumb" thing you just said. It doesn't leave much room for making new friends, catching up with old ones, or simply enjoying your night out.

Don't let this be you. Check out these tips for being more likable in social situations, and tuck away in the back of your brain. Then just go be your awesome self, and have a good time.

1. Don't Overshare Your Whole Life's Story

The whole point in going to a bar, or attending a party, is getting to know people better. Even if it's with friends you've known for years, these outings are all about catching up, chatting, and telling stories. So by all means, tell your stories.

Just don't let it get out of hand, as innocent storytelling can quickly fall into the dreaded realm of "oversharing." This is especially important to keep in mind when with coworkers, or new friends. You know, people who aren't your BFF who don't need to know about that time you had diarrhea at the rest stop in Virginia. It just doesn't need to be said.

And yet nervousness, a desire to make a joke, or a few too many drinks can have you acting all loose lipped and crazy. So keep in mind that some stories are best kept to yourself, or for when you know people a lot better.

Try: How to Be Likable and Make Friends , $2.99, Amazon

2. Actually Listen To What People Say

People have a tendency to wait for their turn to talk, without really listening to what someone else is saying. It's not necessarily coming from a rude place, but simply a desire to add to the conversation before it turns into an awkward moment of silence.

Keep in mind the best conversations have lulls where what was said is allowed to simmer and be digested. So don't be scared of a moment of quiet, and let conversations unfurl naturally by taking the time to listen. As Patrick Allan noted on, "Pay attention to every word that comes out of someone else's mouth. Imagine you're watching a movie or reading a book and you're slowly learning about the main character. Invest your attention and your focus on them." Then respond accordingly. People will notice when you actually listen, and will like you much better for it.

Try: Why Don't We Listen Better? Communicating and Connecting in Relationships , $22.95, Amazon

3. Remember People's Names, And Use Them

Of course remembering names is way easier said than done for some, but it is a really good skill to work on if you want to be more likable. As Jayson Demers noted on Inc., "People like to hear their own name ... Calling someone by name makes him/her feel special, and shows that you're interested in him/her as an individual, not just in the context of a need."

When you're with friends, make sure to drop their names. Say it when greeting them, or when you say goodbye. And when meeting new people, make a mental note of their names as best you can, and be sure to repeat it back to them. They will feel much more connected to you, which goes a long way in being more likable.

4. Be Super Positive & Awesome To Be Around

I'm all about the occasional dark, sarcastic comment. I'm also down to commiserate with friends over bad weather, a hard day at work, or relationship problems. It's normal, and healthy, to be honest when you're feeling down. Just be sure to reign in the negativity before it goes to far, lest you be deemed "the complainer."

As Demers said, "Pessimists don't win many friends. Bringing up your negative feelings about a situation, even though the situation itself might be unfavorable, is a sure way to alienate [people] and bring the entire mood ... down. Instead, always look for the bright side. Make comments about the positive elements of each situation you encounter, and walk around with a smile on your face. This simple change will help people associate you with positive thoughts and positive emotions, and you'll be more well-liked as a result."

Try: The Power of Positive Thinking , $9, Amazon

5. Work On Your Confidence Levels

People are attracted to those who are confident. Take as evidence any party you've ever been to where the confident, vivacious person is the center of attention. He or she may not be the coolest, smartest person who ever lived, but their confidence is making them appear that way.

What I'm saying is, you don't have to be the coolest or the smartest to be well-liked. You just have to be yourself. According to Allan, "Confidence is about being OK with what you do and who you are, no matter what that means. People like confident individuals, even if their other qualities are less attractive. If you can be confident, being charismatic is a hop, skip, and a jump away."

6. Make Someone Feel Special

I love this Maya Angelou quote: "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” This is so true, because people don't really remember what silly convo you had, or that joke you made. But they remember laughing, and being listen to, and enjoying your company.

So make a concerted effort to be this type of person. According to Richard Feloni on, the best way is to act as if the person speaking to you is the most important person in the world. Keep eye contact with them, listen like you've never listened before, and take interest in what they have to say.

When you treat someone with respect, listen, and show interest, you are guaranteed to be a more likable person. Keep this in mind, and go forth to your next social outing confidence.

Images: Guille Faingold/Stocksy; Giphy (6)