We all want to be well liked, but sometimes when meeting someone new, it can feel hard to show our true colors while also trying to put on the charm and
make a good impression on someone. There are some people who really know how to mesh well with others, but for those who need a bit of help putting their best foot forward when meeting new people, experts say there are interesting hacks to be more well received in new situations. These little habits won't strip you of your authenticity, but they can help you get along with others and increase the likelihood that you will stick out in their minds.
"Likability is hugely important because having a strong social network of friends and family is one of the the most important factors in health and life satisfaction,"
clinical psychologist Dr. Charlynn Ruan, Ph.D. tells Bustle. "In today's highly connected world where many people find jobs through networking and referrals, being likable also translates into career success. We think of it as a innate characteristic but, like anything, it can be cultivated."
You don't have to change around your entire personality or become someone you're not just so people want to be around you. In fact, staying true to who you are and feeling comfortable enough to show others that authenticity is something people can respect and be drawn to. To help you feel more comfortable, try engaging in some of these nine interesting tricks that experts say people use to make a great impression.
People who are generally well-liked make a point to use people's names in conversation. "Because our names are such an indispensable part of our identity, we love it when people use them," Dr. Lindsay Henderson, PsyD, a psychologist who treats patients virtually via telehealth app LiveHealth Online, tells Bustle. "We feel validated when a person refers to us by name during a conversation." Making an effort to remember someone's name not only shows them that you're paying attention, it helps to create a rapport more quickly.
Because a lot of the crux of likability comes from authenticity, experts say those who tend to make good impressions don't shy away from their flaws. "This doesn’t mean always talk about the mistakes you made, but admit to troubles or mistakes from time to time,"
life coach and clinical psychologist Jacqueline Julien tells Bustle. "When you admit you aren’t perfect, people see you as more relatable and like you more."
"As a species, we tend to make quick evaluations of whether another person will be part of our in-group or out-group, and we instinctively like people who [we can relate to]," says Ruan. "
Mirroring the body language of someone while they are talking to us can send subtle messages we are similar to them and we understand them, which makes us very appealing." Examples of this include leaning in when they lean in, crossing your legs when they cross theirs, and holding your hands in similar positions. "Don't go overboard, but match the overall tone of their body language in conversation," she says.
They Emphasize Their Similarities To Others
If your goal is to capture the attention of someone new, find things you have in common with them. "Focus particularly on your background," Stacy Wilkes, chief psychologist at
RelationshipDNA, tells Bustle. 'Did you come from the same area? Have similar families? Behave in similar ways when younger? Capturing similarity is essential to be seen as familiar." And this familiarity can make people more comfortable with you, as well as vice versa.
They Show That They Like Others
If you want to foster a connection with someone new, make a point to demonstrate that you are fond of them — without going overboard, of course. "Experiments have consistently shown that if a person is told the other likes them, they have a better chance of liking them back," says Wilkes. "Showing interest in the other's thoughts and ideas and demonstrating your approval help with capturing attraction from the other." Whether this budding relationship is professional, a friendship, or even a potential partnership, giving compliments, or showing respect for the other person when it feels natural will definitely have you sticking out in their mind.
Asking a lot of questions not only shows someone you find them engaging, but it takes the pressure of the conversation off of you. "The biggest secret to having someone like you is to make it about them, because deep down, we’re all our own favorite topics,"
life coach Desiree Wiercyski tells Bustle. "So many people get caught up in what to say next and worry about how to carry on a conversation, and it can really be as simple as asking questions or even giving prompts like 'Oh interesting! Tell me more.'"
There’s a reason so many speakers open their presentations with jokes: It helps to lower our defenses. "That puts us at ease and makes us more receptive to what’s next," says Wiercyski. "Humor is wildly subjective, so tread lightly, but saying something that will even just get a chuckle early on does a lot for someone’s perception of you." It is important to make sure though, that this humor comes naturally in the context of conversations. Sometimes jokes fall flat if they feel forced, or possibly inappropriate.
People like to feel heard, and being an active listener can make a positive impression. "Do this by staying engaged instead of focusing on what you’ll say next," says Henderson. "Make sure to listen more than you talk, and shoot for a ratio of listening three times more than you speak."
They Treat Acquaintances Like Good Friends
The second time you meet someone, and every time after, greet them like a good friend you are happy to see. "Use their name and ask about something they mentioned in the first conversation," says Ruan. "Even better, introduce them to another person with something that compliments them. For example, 'This is Jane. She has the most amazing travel adventures! You are going to love her!'"
If you're looking to make new connections, or widen your friend group, try incorporating these tricks into conversation, and you might be surprised to find how well people respond to you.