While you certainly don't have to spend your entire day trying to win people over, or worrying about the opinions of everyone you meet, there are times when knowing how to draw people to you can come in handy. Often all you need to do is send out friendly vibes with a few simple gestures. And just like that, you'll be creating more positive connections.
"Life is all about networking these days," Michelle Fraley, MA, WPCC, certified life coach and relationship expert, tells Bustle. When you make an effort to be friendly, trustworthy, and approachable, it can help your career and friendships flourish, she says, while also making the connections you already have stronger. But the benefits extend way beyond that.
"Even your day-to-day interactions with strangers will be pleasant and feel easier," Fraley says. "Bottom line, people are willing to go out of their way to spend time with and help out those people that they like," so there are all sorts of benefits to making this a priority.
Small, friendly gestures will help you connect to others and create great relationships. But they'll also make other people's lives better. Friends will notice, as well as coworkers, folks at networking events, and so on. And the positive ripple effect will spread from there. If that sounds like something you'd like to do, read on below for a few tips from the experts on how to draw people to you, and be instantly likable.
1. Say Their Name
Since people love to hear the sound of their own name, go ahead and sprinkle it in once or twice while you're saying hi, or having a conversation.
"In a society where most people forget your name five seconds after you tell them, [this'll] instantly differentiate [you] from everyone else," relationship expert and transformation coach Myles Scott, tells Bustle. "When you use it in conversation, the other person [will feel] more at home, as if they're talking to a friend or family member they've known for years."
And just like that, you'll form a deeper connection.
2. Make The Right Amount Of Eye Contact
Eye contact is so important when forming a connection with someone. But it's important to strike a nice balance between looking away, and staring them down.
"The right amount of eye contact shows you're comfortable in your own skin," Scott says. "It also makes you appear more trustworthy because you don't give off that vibe that you're hiding anything," which can happen if you're constantly glancing around the room.
On the flip side, "if you gaze too intently, you might make them feel uncomfortable or intimidated," he says. "The key is to spend a few seconds on each eye, look at one of their shoulders, and repeat."
3. Have Open Body Language
People respond well to open body language. So if you'd like to win someone over, it can help to pay attention to small details, like how you're standing or holding your arms, in order to send the right message.
"Keeping an open stance directed at who you're talking to displays your level of commitment and engagement in the conversation," Scott says. "It's a cue that lets the other person know you find them and what they have to say important."
4. Listen & Learn About Them
To truly win someone over, nothing will do the trick quite like asking them questions, and then genuinely listening to their response.
"Giving someone the opportunity to share with you what makes them tick will go far in building rapport," Fraley says. "You can become instantly likable to someone if you show them that you are curious and eager to learn about them."
To do so, try asking open-ended questions or encouraging them to tell a story, followed by "reflecting back key points of the conversation," she says. This is also a good go-to trick if you're feeling nervous, as they'll be the ones doing all the talking.
5. Stay Present In The Moment
While it can be mighty tempting to glance down at your phone, staying present in the moment is a surefire way to build a better bond with another person.
"Just say no to texting and social media while engaging with [others]," Fraley says. "Updating your status, commenting on a post, or texting while having a conversation with another person gives the impression that you are not fully engaged."
Save those things for later, and instead focus on being in the moment, asking questions, and listening.
6. Be Courteous
"Being polite and courteous, not only to the person you're engaging with, but also to those around you, will make you instantly likable," Fraley says.
Try to stay aware of your surroundings, and sends out positive vibes. As Fraley says, "Small gestures [and] displaying good manners, such as holding doors and saying please and thank you, can go a long way."
7. Try To Be Yourself
Take a moment to think about how you act when around friends, family, and even folks you're trying to impress. Do you hold yourself in a confident way? Or give off a certain energy?
"If you take notice of those gestures, facial expressions, or the placement of your body, you can tuck it away to use when you are in a situation where connecting with the person in front of you is important," Neelima Kunam MD, Board-Certified Adult Psychiatrist, tells Bustle. (Think job interviews, networking events, and so on.)
Over time, acting natural will become easier and easier, regardless of the situation. And people will definitely be drawn to that.
8. Give "Mirroring" A Try
"[Another] behavior that can be helpful is called 'mirroring," Dr. Kunam says, which is basically copying the body language of the person you're with in subtle, natural ways.
"It can be as simple as when you are sitting across from someone, you might notice their legs are crossed and then you cross yours as well," Dr. Kunam says.
It's a little psychological trick that puts other people at ease and implies you're on the same page. They'll not only enjoy hanging out with you, but will like you more without even fully realizing why.
9. Offer A Genuine Compliment
"By being observant and paying a genuine compliment to someone, they will feel that you really pay attention to them and that they matter in your life in some way," spiritual counselor and relationship expert Davida Rappaport, tells Bustle. Do you love someone's outfit? Think they're great at their job? Or admire their confidence? Let them know.
Small gestures like these can win people over, simply because they show you're paying attention, and are eager to get to know them. Whether you're mirroring, asking open-ended questions, or simply offering a compliment, it'll be tough for them to form anything but a positive impression.