7 Surprising Habits That Can Help You Make A Good Impression, According To Science

There are many obvious habits that can help you make a good impression: Being kind to others, offering a helping hand, having a sense of humor, etc. But besides cultivating good relationships with others, there are a number of other weird habits that can help people form positive opinions of you. Although how you treat others will always matter, when it comes to how people view you, you can also utilize some other more subtle habits that help you feel more comfortable and show others your best self.

We may all have different preferences when it comes to characteristics we admire in people, but there are certain universal traits that experts say always have a positive impact. "[People who make good impressions] tend to share several characteristics that are generally agreed upon, including kindness, humor, authenticity, confidence, being easy to talk to and non-judgmental, demonstrating interest in others, having interests, and actively engaging in life," Dr. Lindsay Henderson, PsyD, a psychologist who treats patients virtually via telehealth app, LiveHealth Online, tells Bustle.

But little things such as your body language, the way you communicate, and how vulnerable you are can also dictate what people think of you, and some of these ways to gain people's favor might surprise you. Here are seven unexpected habits that help you make a great impression, according to science.

1Mimicking Someone's Behavior

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Research out of New York University found that when subjects were partnered up with other participants, on a task, those who subtly mimicked the other person's behavior were rated as making a better first impression. This is known as the "chameleon effect." "Subtly imitating someone’s movements, behaviors, and mannerisms can foster feelings of connectedness, which naturally contributes to likability," says Henderson.

2How You Pose In Photos

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It turns out how you pose with your eyes in a photo determines other's perceptions of you. Squinting ever so gently with a genuine, relaxed smile can draw people to you in a positive way, according to a study done by Photofeeler. The research found that this is because appearing wide-eyed can make you seem more fearful and uncertain, while a warm smile exudes comfort and confidence.

3Repeating Someone's Words

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Using the same words as someone else can increase the chances of that person liking you, according to research published in the Journal of Language and Social Psychology. This is also known as the "echo effect." "A specific way of making sure a person knows you are listening can be to repeat the last three words they say in a sympathetic, questioning tone," says Henderson. "Not only does this demonstrate interest, but it also encourages them to continue with what they are talking about."


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Believe it or not, letting out a few curse words might actually do you some good. "Various research studies have shown that people who swear make positive impressions, and they are perceived as honest, trustworthy, and persuasive," clinical psychologist Dr. Jennifer Sweeton tells Bustle. "Of course, not everyone will perceive profanity this way, but multiple studies have shown this to be true for the average person."

5Asking People For Favors

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It might sound counterintuitive, but asking someone for a favor can make them like you more, according to a study published in the journal Human Relations. "When we do something for someone we don't like, it doesn't make sense, and we feel confused," says Sweeton. "Usually, the way we fix this discrepancy — called cognitive dissonance — between what we feel and how we behave is to conclude that maybe we really do like the person." Of course, it is important to ask for favors within reason, but openness when asking for help may show others an authenticity.

6Making Little Mistakes

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You wouldn't think the occasional mistake could change other's perception of you for the better, but little mistakes can actually increase your chances of a positive impression. "Making small mistakes makes us seem human, and increases how 'real' we seem, which makes us more likable," says Sweeton. "Although people sometimes work very hard to portray an image of perfection thinking that being perfect makes people like you, the opposite is actually true."

7Saying Someone's Name


To get in good graces, simply say the name of the person you're talking to. "People like to hear you mention their name in conversation, and research shows it makes them feel validated," psychologist Paulette Sherman tells Bustle.

Although unexpected, habits that showcase your authenticity can help you put your best foot forward and make a great impression.