Nobody's perfect (and if somebody seems perfect, they're faking it). But there are definitely things we all do that make us less likable that are definitely within our power to change. And don't get me wrong — it's not about changing important parts of who we are just to appeal to others; it's about being self-aware of the things we all sometimes do that we don't like in others, and of the times when we treat people in a way we wouldn't like to be treated ourselves.
Sometimes this process isn't easy. It takes a big dose of honesty and requires that we get real with ourselves. I'll never forget the first time I realized I was actively doing something that made me less likable. I was 14-years-old and at a sleep-away summer academic camp (yes, I was just that cool). I was in conversation with a couple girls in my class, and then excitedly jumped in with whatever thought had popped into my head.
And that's when I noticed the other girls subtly roll their eyes. It wasn't a big obvious gesture — they didn't go out of their way to be rude or mean, but I was suddenly aware that I had totally commandeered a conversation and barreled over what other people had been saying. And from the expression on their faces, I got the sense that it wasn't the first time I'd done this.
The moment sucked, but from that point on, I always took special care to make sure I was being a good conversation partner, even if all I wanted to do more than anything was burst in with whatever I was thinking. In the end it was a good lesson to learn, and it was the first step on a necessary journey to self-awareness.
If you're worried you might have a few annoying habits, here are 11 toxic behaviors that are super common but could honestly be making you less likable.
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1. You Share Too Many Facebook Photos
A study featured on Business Insider shows that we tend to find people who overshare photos on Facebook less relatable. Specifically, our relatives tend not to like it when we share a ton of photos with friends, and our friends tend to dislike it when we post a ton of photos with family. Try just being judicious about how much you post in general. And bonus, this means you'll likely be way more in the moment anyway!
2. You're An Over-Sharer In General
That same Business Insider piece noted that others are generally put off when we share too much personal information too soon. Disclosing something really personal typically needs to be earned by having spent enough time or shared experiences with another person. If you share too much to fast, it can make the other person uncomfortable or even question your judgement.
3. You Humblebrag
According to a study out of Harvard Business School, the humblebrag — or that thing some people do when trying to brag without seeming like it — is actually just as annoying as straight-up regular bragging. The study found that humblebragging even comes off worse than constant complaining, as the complainer at least comes across as sincere.
4. You're Always Negative
Sometimes we just need to let off some steam in the form of some good old-fashioned venting. Just be careful that you don't complain too much around other people — or worse, are seen as the person who is always doing it. In a piece for Psychology Today, psychologist Guy Winch said, "The constant negativity issuing forth from chronic complainers presents a huge challenge for those around them. And nothing makes chronic complainers happier than being more miserable than their friends."
5. You're Often Late
A piece in Forbes by emotional intelligence author Travis Bradberry noted that likable people are dependable. So if you're constantly late, there's a good chance other people are annoyed by it (and have maybe even complained about it to others). Remember, not being late means you respect other people, because you respect their time!
6. You Gossip Constantly
We're almost all guilty of gossiping at one time or another (or at least I know I am). However, Bradberry noted that gossiping about others is a surefire way to make you come across as negative. It also means that others will likely not feel as though they can trust you with their personal or sensitive information, and who wants to be that person?
7. You Check Your Phone During Conversations
This one is a personal pet peeve, but I'm sure a ton of people can relate. Nothing feels worse than when someone constantly checks their phone while in the middle of a conversation. It makes you seem bored and disengaged, even if I know that's not your intention. Try giving people your absolute focus when in conversation — I promise it will make a great impression.
8. You Never Ask Questions
In another piece by Bradberry, this one shared on Linkedin, Bradberry stressed the importance of asking other people questions when engaged in conversation. This signals that you're engaged and interested, and even more importantly, that you're actually listening.
9. Being A Drama Queen
And in the same piece, Bradeberry warned against "emotionally hijacking" situations. This refers to when we lose our tempers, or become extremely emotional to get what we want or when things don't go our way. Nothing will annoy people faster than being the person who creates unnecessary drama.
10. You're A Hypocrite
This is another personal tip that we're all guilty of at one time or another, but it's worth trying to be aware of. Nothing is more frustrating than when someone complains about something that they themselves do all the time. So before you vent about the fact that someone is a bad listener, or that a friend always goes radio-silent as soon as they're in a relationship, make sure you're not guilty of doing the same thing sometimes.
11. You're Never Money-Conscious
This last one comes from the fact that I've just gotten so tired of friends who aren't self-aware when it comes to money. If you ordered wine and a full course meal, and a friend only ordered a side-salad, be aware of that fact when the bill arrives. And on the other extreme, if you both basically ordered the same thing, there's usually no need to split the bill down to the last penny. Being both considerate and reasonable when it comes to the check goes a long way in the likable department.
There's no magic pill or mathematical equation for when it comes to being likable. It usually just comes down to being considerate of others and treating others in a way that you'd like to be treated. And remember — it's impossible to be liked by everyone, so don't waste your time trying!
Images: Pexels (7); Brooke Cagle, Abo Ngakonkulu, Brooke Cagle, Alexis Brown/Unsplash; Giphy (1)
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