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What Makes A Person Likable?

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Posted by Jim Emmerling

May 27, 2016 3:30:00 PM

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Fotolia_106719419_Subscription_XXL.jpgRelationships are an aspect of life that makes us human -- whether they're romantic, friendly, or business related. We are wired with the need to be around and interact with others. For some it seems easy and natural, but for others shyness often has them crawling back into their shells.
 
Being shy is one of the hardest things for people to get over. We all want to feel liked and belong. Some of the most charming people seem to be the most likable. The trouble is getting over the awkward hurdle. 
 

You can’t be shy if you’re going to be a professional in the business world.

 
Believe it or not, some of the most popular, seasoned professionals still feel a twinge of awkwardness. But they’ve overcome that shy character and are some of the most successful, enjoyable and well liked people to be around.
 
What makes these individuals such likable people? And how can you achieve that for yourself? I’ve come across nine characteristics that define charismatic, likable people that you can easily apply to your life. 
 

1. Empathy

 

Some of the most likable people are empathetic. They’re never jealous or envious of what you have. They’re happy for you in the best situations and are supportive and caring in the tough ones. They feel what you feel and join you because they care for you. 
 
It turns out our brains are hardwired to feel empathy. The Right Supramarginal Gyrus is the part  of the brain that triggers our empathetic responses. The trick is channeling that empathy outward. You can feel empathy, but part of what makes a likable person is when they show it. 
 

2. Humilty

 

Enjoyable people are humble people. They aren’t arrogant or obnoxious, don’t brag or have huge egos. They don’t hold themselves up on a pedestal. They value others more than themselves.
 
That doesn’t mean they don’t care about themselves, but realize they aren’t the only person on the face of the earth that matters.
 
Just remember Philippians 2:3, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others more significant than yourselves.” 
 

3. Vulnerability 

 

Along with empathy and humility comes vulnerability. A vulnerable person is one who risks embarrassment and judgement. Their confidence goes beyond simple risk taking.
 
When mixed with humility and empathy, a vulnerable person will no doubt be one of the nicest, strongest people you ever meet. There’s a sense of bravery that combats or at least quiets their fear. 
 
Some of the most vulnerable positions you can be in are public speaking and publicly stating your opinion on some matter. Just look at our politicians, news anchors, and celebrities. They’re some of the most recognized faces in the country, even in the world, and they put themselves out there knowing they will be criticized. 
 
That takes guts. They aren’t perfect. They’re just able to overcome fear. They recognize and acknowledge their flaws. There’s something about being willing and able to take criticism that  makes a person likable. It promotes their strength and inspires others like ourselves to grow and strive for that same strength. 
 
 

4. Humor 

 
A sense of humor is one of the most attractive traits of a human being. It makes a person relatable and instantly increases their likability. A humorous person is fun to be around and eases the tension in most any situation.
 
What’s the point in life if you can’t find humor in it?
 


5. Present

 
Jim__Michael.jpgThe average person spends about 10 hours a day looking at screens. That’s more hours staring at a screen than we get sleep!
 
With our phones and tablets in hand or on our person, this is a hard habit to crack, yet there are admirable people out there who genuinely care about the time they spend with others and have the ability to focus on their friends instead of their phones.
 
My son Michael and I went to a Pirates game a few weeks back and he called me out for focusing my attention on my phone than on the game and enjoying the experience. He helped open my eyes to being fully present and in the moment.
 
There’s nothing more authentic, real and likable about a person than their ability to be present. I’m going to work on just that as I take a technological detox this Memorial Day weekend.
 
You should try it, too!
 

 

6. Genuine

 
Whether they’re dealing with someone higher up or under them on the social totem pole, a likable person treats them both the same.
 
They care about people's individual stories and they’re always excited to see and meet someone new. They like you for who you are and that makes you feel like you belong. It’s easy to like someone when they affirm you. 
 

7. Narcissistic they are not.

 
A likable person is someone who talks about themselves less because they realize it’s not all about them. Instead, they put the spotlight on others.
 
They ask questions about specific topics, thought provoking questions. They create a dialogue that is genuinely interesting. They dive deep and ask questions that uncover peoples’ minds and allow them to open up and share their voice. 
 

 

8. Selfless

 
A selfless person attracts others with their selfless nature. They're always putting others’ well-being above their own, never looking for something in return. 
 
How could you not like someone who puts you before themselves?  
 

 

9. Praise for others.

 
We’ve all run into at least one person like this. When they’re praised for their accomplishments they don’t just take it and boast about themselves. They turn it around to praise those that helped along the way because they know they didn’t do it all on their own.
 
It’s a humble and altruistic approach to life.
 

It'll take some practice and even a self-examination to help you realize which of these you have and which ones to strive for, but these characterstics are part of what make people likable. By having these traits you'll no doubt gain some haters along the way, but you'll learn, grow and inspire along the way.

 

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