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The secret to winning friends and getting ahead

Updated: Dec 8, 2022

These are guaranteed methods that will transform your life without pretense.

Being likeable is definitely what we all want. We all want people around us who enjoy being around us. Being liked is also validating. For professionals, this is even more important, because often people do not buy our product just because it’s a good product, but they buy it because they feel good about buying from us. From negotiating to selling, being likable is an asset.

Here are 8 tips to becoming a more likeable person without pretense. This is the ultimate guide to making connections and winning business.

Compliment others genuinely and often

Look for the positives in people. In this way it will be easier for you to see something you appreciate about them. Complement them, specifying exactly what you observed and that you liked it. Do this as often as you can, but be genuine in your complements.

Asserting others makes them feel good, and this feel good feeling will make your presence addictive. However, faking this is not a good idea. Whenever we complement others without being genuine we come off as insincere and untrustworthy.

Complementing others and validating them can be really effective, powerful and even transformative when done in a genuine way.

Ask more questions about others than you make statements about yourself

Approach every conversation as a way to get to know the other person better and an opportunity to connect deeper with them. Ask questions about their challenges, beliefs, their projects, their goals, passions and what drives them. Your intent should not be to unload your complaints or indoctrinating the person with your opinions. As a matter of fact, if you're in a negative emotional place, remove yourself, find your balance through mindfulness and in solitude. We may not say this to each other, but none of us like being around negativity.

The more you get others to talk about themselves, the more they will like you. Pay attention to what they are saying though and do not just listen to them like you do to background music. Be involved in your conversations with active listening and genuine curiosity.

Assume that everyone has something to teach you. Ask for advice and really consider it. We do not have to make all the mistakes ourselves, we wouldn’t live long enough for that anyway. We should try to learn from the mistakes of others and we do this best by asking about how they overcame their challenges and what they would recommend to someone else in a similar situation or what they would have done differently. We are all experts at something. We should be more open to learning from each other. And others will be see that you are open as well and are slow to judgement. This trait can make you really endearing.

Really listen and see pass people’s behaviour

In addition to active listening, when interacting with others try as best as possible to see pass their overt behaviour and what they are saying. This will take some practice, but when you get it, you begin to truly understand people on a deeper level. You see pass their pretensions and reactions to their fears, insecurities and the challenges they may be facing. This is not a time to make judgments, instead, it is an opportunity to feel compassion and respond to them in the way they need at the moment. Do this especially during confrontations and where the dynamic of the relationship is mostly vexing.

Stop trying to impress, but also don't downplay your successes

Man and woman high five. "Don't downplay your successes" says Taneallea Feddis, Founder/Managing Director of BlackWall Consultants.
Don't downplay your successes

No one wants to hear you trying to awe them with your many accomplishments and the things you have done.

This does not build emotional connections with others. Instead speak of your dreams, goals, the things you care about, who you are, your passions and hopes. Help others get to know you, the real fabulous you, in a meaningful way. In the same way, these are the sorts of things you want to know about others as well. And people will be excited to be around you, because with you they are talking about what really matters to them. Your interactions should not involve meaningless talk and petty comments.

In the same breath, we also recommend that you do not downplay your successes. If you have done something impressive, don’t shy away from talking about it. Doing this will come across as snobbish. Instead, speak clearly and concisely about what you have done, and why you are proud about it. Be direct. In this way, people will appreciate you more for sharing something so wonderful with them and will see you as genuine.

Stop complaining

Complaining is not a social tool. It should not be used to bond with others or as a conversation starter. If you find that you are doing this all the time, find more things to interest you. Explore new hobbies expand your interests. If this still doesn’t work, you may need to get new friends. They may be using this as a social tool as well.

Complaining leads to negativity and no one wants to be around that, unless you are also a negative person. This will not make you likeable and you come across as lazy and a victim of your own pessimism. Not good qualities. Positive people are action oriented. They are proactive and find creative solutions to their problems and act on them. They don’t waste time wallowing and you shouldn’t either. You are not as powerless as you think, you’d be surprised how impactful you could be if you had a more proactive outlook on all the challenges that come your way.

Communicate openly

Be honest about your needs and boundaries. Speak in clear, concise and direct language about your needs and wants. Don’t shy away from being straightforward. The clearer you are the better your wants and wishes will be received.

Also, let your actions back up your wishes. If you prefer to go out rather than staying in, don’t stay in. If you need more alone time, let others know this using clear language. You don’t have to be rude or forceful. Just be honest that this is what you want. When you start doing this you will find that your relationships will start to go smoothly and you don’t have to get bent out of shape trying to please other people.

Be sincere

Everyone can see fake a mile away. That mask that you are wearing is only an illusion. No one is fooled by it, except you of course.

Be open in your communication, body language and actions. If you say that you like your friends to be loyal, be loyal yourself. If you say you don’t like gossiping, don’t entertain gossips. Be judicious about the attention you give to others. If you say you don’t like people who complain, but you sit giving eye contact and nodding as they are doing just that, your body language is not congruent with the words you say.

In other words, being sincere is not just about you saying that you are sincere or being honest all the time. You must be sincere in your non-verbal communication as well, because if these don’t match up you will come across as being insincere. And this is the reason people can always tell a fake. Your non-verbals will always give you away.

Mirror the body language and speech patterns of others

This is really important in building rapport with others. Mirroring the body language of others, helps them understand that you are of “their kind”. You do this by paying attention to their body language and the words and expressions that they use. Then use these when communicating with them. This will help you communicate clearer and others will feel calmer and “at home” in your presence. They are therefore more likely to open up to you in a more honest way.

Counsellors and psychologists have been using this technique to build rapport quickly with clients for decades. It’s a proven strategy that works quickly and you don’t come off as fake or insulting.

Did you feel inspired to try any of these tips? Tell us about how this has helped you in the comments section. We would love to hear from you. Subscribe to our newsletter for more tips and trends.


About the Author

Taneallea Feddis,

Founder/Managing Director, BlackWall Consultants

She is an educator, website designer and content marketer.​ She helps entrepreneurs develop their business through coaching and developing their digital strategy. She is passionate about teaching new skills to others, and her goal is to encourage and assist Caribbean businesses with their digital transformation and sharing in their success stories. Click here to learn more about Taneallea Feddis.

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