Do you struggle to get people to warm to you? Psychotherapist Uxshely Chotai explains how to change that today
So many people worry about whether others like them or are judging them and end up behaving awkwardly or trying too hard as a result. The best attitude to take when meeting new people is to just be curious to find out more about them, irrespective of whether they are going to like you or not. People really enjoy talking about themselves and love it when another person wants to know more about them – if you ask them questions about themselves and take a genuine interest in who they are, without worrying about what they think of you, you will become immediately likeable.
Instead of thinking about whether other people like you, consider whether you like them. If you are worrying about what they are thinking about you, you may not be valuing yourself enough. You should be asking yourself: is this other person interesting, engaging and wonderful enough to be worthy of my time? If you find yourself concerned about other people’s judgement of you, ask yourself whether you truly value yourself and everything that you have to offer. Once you appreciate just how wonderful you are and how much you have to give others, you won’t worry about whether they like you but about whether they are worth you giving any of your precious time to. This does not come from an egotistical or self-absorbed place but from a place of valuing yourself and prioritising your needs. In a society where we are told to be modest and spend most of our days criticising ourselves, we can often fret that we are not good enough. However, as we start to boost our own self-esteem, we will realise that we can just relax and be ourselves. This in turn will probably make us much more likeable to everyone else.
Reciting positive affirmations is a great way to improve self-esteem. Positive affirmations involve repeating words or phrases that are optimistic such as “I am confident and beautiful.” They encourage self-compassion and, as that inner voice in most people’s heads can be very negative and critical, affirmations are a great tool for both noticing how you speak to yourself, and then changing it to a more positive voice. So often, when I ask my clients about their inner dialogue, I discover that they are more critical of themselves and nastier to themselves than they ever would be to a stranger or even an enemy. Therefore just being more aware of this and noticing when it becomes negative or critical is a step in the right direction. I notice that as people start to improve their selfconfidence and are more self-compassionate, they tend to be less concerned about what other people think of them and are just more open and friendly to new people and different experiences.
Ask people questions with a genuine interest to find out more about them. In particular, try and encourage people to talk about things that they are passionate about. People feel good when doing this and if you are the one inviting this conversation, they will associate these positive feelings with being around you.
In conversation, try and find common ground you can bond over. Whether this is a shared interest, a mutual dislike of a particular something or a similar taste in fashion, finding this agreement speeds up the bonding process, makes conversation easier and shows the other person that you are like them.
Try to look out for the good things in other people and compliment them on those great things that you notice. When it comes from a genuine place, everyone loves to receive appreciation.
Remember and use other people’s names and other important things about them. If you are genuinely interested in the other person you will also remember a lot more of what they tell you about themselves. Recalling these facts will show them that you are engaged with them and what they have to say.
Try to be an optimist in life, focusing on the positive things in the world. People enjoy spending time with those people that lift their spirits and optimists tend to bring a lively and happy energy with them wherever they go.
When you talk to someone try to notice the types of words that they use – for example, some people will use more words or phrases relating to their hearing such as ‘sounds good’ whereas others will use more visual words or phrases such as ‘looks great’ and others may use words which talk more about their feelings. Often individuals have a dominant sense through which they process the world. If you can identify which is the dominant sense for the person and use words which relate to that sense, then you will immediately seem more likeable and relateable to them.
Being yourself is really key, too. It is often very obvious when someone is putting up a front or pretending to be someone that they are not. Whilst self-development is great and it is amazing to want to improve on who you are, people generally warm to other people that are being authentic and non-judgemental. So just being yourself and yet open to new people and experiences, happy and curious, can be a great way to make friends very easily.
Body language is key when trying to communicate to another person that you like them or want to be-friend them. Of course, a smile can go a long way to making you seem more approachable, friendly and open. Make sure to give people eye contact when you are speaking to them. Engage with them and demonstrate that you are attentive and interested in what they have to say.
Studies have shown that people who like each other naturally tend to mirror each other’s body language. Therefore, a simple way to seem more likeable is to mirror the person that you are talking to. Whilst it can be very off-putting if you do this too obviously, very subtly mimicking the stance or arm gestures of someone else can make you seem more approachable and more likeable.
Uxshely is a psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, NLP practitioner and meditation teacher at The Food Psychology Clinic. Find out more at thefoodpsychologyclinic.co.uk
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