We all have lovable things about us. But when it comes to the most admirable personality traits people can have, it may sometimes feel like some people are just naturally more personable than others. So can people develop character traits that are lovable or is it something you're just born with?
"A lot of people have this idea that personality traits are something you either have or don’t have, but really it’s about the level and style of trait you were born with and how they were nurtured throughout your life," life coach, Desiree Wiercyski, tells Bustle. Some things may come more easily to some people, and for others it just may take a bit of extra work or attention. It's just good to know we can all take on key traits that can make us seem more well received by others, she says.
Therapist, Heidi McBain, MA tells Bustle, typical personality traits you're born with are those you'd see on the Myers-Brigg Indicator assessment. It can tell you if you're introverted or extroverted, sensing or intuitive, thinking or feeling, or judging and perceiving. "These are traits people have [when perceiving] the world around them," McBain says. "For example, introverts would generally prefer to be alone or in small groups because this is where they get their energy from, whereas the opposite is true for extroverts."
So introversion is something you're just born with. But other traits like being a good public speaker or a leader are things you can develop. "People are often surprised to learn that many great speakers are introverts," McBain says. "Do they feel drained after they speak in front of a lot of people? Maybe. But, the bigger picture is that they are honing in on other skills they have, be it communication or humor or storytelling, so they can connect with their audience as a whole."
So here are some examples of personality traits people just have versus ones they can develop, according to experts.
1. Being A Good Conversationalist Is Something You Can Develop
"In our tech-driven age, conversation is something of a lost art," clinical therapist and wellness blogger, Dominique Talley, tells Bustle. "So many people struggle to make conversation with new people and/or feel comfortable doing so. An awkward conversation is one of the biggest buzzkills."
So the good news is, being good at communicating with others, especially strangers, is something you can learn and develop. Good talkers aren't necessarily just born that way. According to Talley, good conversations are those that are interesting, feel natural, put people at ease and make them want to stick around for more.
"The best way to do this is to think of conversation as a game of tennis," she says. "When the ball is hit into your side of the court, you have to hit it back over or the play will end." One good tip to remember is to keep asking questions. "If the person replies they were in London on business, you can ask what line of business they are in; if they were there for fun, you can ask what fun things they got up to while they were across the pond," she says. "This is a great skill you can practice anytime and anywhere with anyone you meet."
2. Having Emotional Intelligence Is Something You're Born With
Emotional intelligence, or the ability to decipher, share, and empathize with emotions, is a trait typically found in people who are admired. As Dr. Steven Stein, a clinical psychologist and Founder and CEO of Multi-Health Systems Inc., tells Bustle, "Emotional intelligence is set of emotional and social skills that influence the way we perceive and express ourselves, develop and maintain social relationships, cope with challenges and use emotional information in an effective and meaningful way."
Some people just know how to interact with others in the right way without having to learn it. But according to Dr. Stein, emotional intelligence is something that can be both inherent and learned. There are some people who are just naturally emotionally intelligent. These people are more likely to achieve greater career success, have stronger relationships, manage stress more effectively, establish trust with others and pursue their passions, he says. But for those who don't naturally have it, Sr. Stein says, "Emotional intelligence can also be learned by understanding which traits they are weakest in and addressing those traits through counseling or coaching."
3. Being Confident Is Something You Can Develop
Confidence ties in a bit with our idea of extraversion, Wiercyski says. That's why it may seem like some people are just naturally confident than others. People that are confident tend to present themselves one way and just go for it. Often times, they can seem more interesting for that reason.
"This is because someone who is confident makes it easy for our brains to connect with and understand," she says. "They do the work in their mannerisms and behavior that tell us who they are and what they’re about. That makes our brains do less work on trying to figure it out, and our brains are all about taking the path of least resistance."
Although gaining confidence can be challenging for some, the good news is, everyone can have it if you're willing to work at it. According to Talley, the fastest way to increase your confidence is to try faking it until you make it. "Often people assume that feeling more confident will make them appear more confident, but it actually works the other way," she says. "As with so many things, the feelings will follow the action." In other words, when you act confidently, even if you don't necessarily feel it inside, those feelings of security and self-assuredness will eventually follow.
4. Showing Genuine Interest In Others Is Something You Can Develop
As Talley says, it's human nature to enjoy people who find you just as fascinating as you find yourself. That's why showing genuine interest in other people is a personality trait many find compelling. While it's simple enough in concept, it does take some work and practice. "You have to truly listen to what people are telling you," she says. "Often, we have conversations with people and spend most of the time thinking about ourselves." So pay attention not only to the person's words, but to their facial expressions and mannerisms, as well. "Maybe someone's face lights up when they mention having a dog, you can then remark that it sounds like [they love] dogs, and ask questions about what type of dog [they have]," Talley says. It's all about learning to be observant and aware of the people you talk to.
5. Having A Positive Outlook Is Something You're Born With
People typically enjoy being around positive people much more than negative ones. According to Wiercyski, some people naturally see the positive side of things much easier than others. Although it’s hard to see the bright, sunny side of everything at all times, positive people have a way of turning negativity around easily. For those who aren't naturally positive, choosing to make an effort to be positive in conversations and social interactions can make connecting with people much easier.
6. Being A Good Listener Is Something You Can Develop
Being a good conversationalist involves more than knowing the right things to say. According to Wiercyski, being an active listener is equally important. "When you’re in a social situation and you provide a space for people to talk about themselves and feel as though they’ve been heard, you immediately create an opportunity for people to talk about themselves in a positive manner which makes them not only feel good about themselves but feel good about you too," she says. So don't just ask questions just to ask questions. "This is one trait that even if it doesn’t come naturally, is easy to practice and take on," she says.
7. Having A Sense Of Humor Is Something You Can Develop
Some people think being "funny" is a really lovable trait. Although it may seem like some people are just naturally funny, and they can be, Caleb Backe, Health and Wellness Expert for Maple Holistics, tells Bustle, it's something you can actually develop. "The nature of humor is founded in social and circumstantial experiences," Backe says. "Without these experiences and intricate understanding of human nature, it's tough to be truly 'funny.' Given that people aren't born with these experiences, it's a simple conclusion that a sense of humor is developed and not born with."
According to him, most successful comedians go through "painstaking years of trial-and-error" before truly finding their niche. The same principle applies to everyday people as well. "Kids and toddlers may at times be unintentionally funny, but it takes time and experience before everyday humor and quips are mastered," he says. So if being funny is something you've always wanted to be known for, it can be learned and developed.
What makes someone's personality lovable is different for everyone. So there's really no one trait that makes people seem more admirable than others. The good news is, regardless of whether you're naturally good at a certain thing or not, there's always room to grow and develop.