How to Be Likable

It isn't difficult to be someone people want to be around
By Mike Donghia
Mike Donghia
Mike Donghia
Mike (and his wife, Mollie) blog at This Evergreen Home where they share their experience with living simply, intentionally, and relationally in this modern world. You can follow along by subscribing to their twice-weekly newsletter.
September 27, 2021 Updated: September 30, 2021

Have you ever met someone with a magnetic personality?

Their presence in a room is enough to lift your mood and maybe even draw out parts of your personality that rarely come out otherwise. You will recognize those likable individuals by the way you feel better after having been around them.

In our success-driven society, maybe you’ve heard the message that becoming likable is a great way to grow your network, gain influence, or build wealth. I won’t argue with that. Likable people are at a true advantage in so many areas of life.

But rarely discussed is the fact that likable people are a gift to those around them. They elevate the spirits of others. They draw individuals together. And they pull people into conversation. The result is that likable people tend to have a lot of close friends.

If you agree that friendship is one of life’s true pleasures and you’re looking for a way to serve your fellow man, then perhaps you’ll agree that working to become a more likable person yourself is one of the best investments you can make.

Below are a few tips I’ve picked up by observing some of the most likable people that I know.

Tips for Being Likable

Be in a Good Mood

It’s true that life can be challenging at times, but your mood is something that you can directly influence. Do you enjoy being around people who regularly complain about their problems or are pessimistic about the future? Of course not.

So do your best to bring a cheerful and positive attitude wherever you go, and people will want to have you around. That doesn’t mean that you should be overly bubbly and happy—that can get old after a while, too. Just be in a pleasant mood that suggests that you’re pleased to be wherever you are.

Tell Good Stories

When people ask you how your weekend was, are you the type of person who says: “It was good. How was yours?” You might think you’re being generous by quickly deflecting the conversation away from yourself and back to the other person. But in reality, you aren’t carrying any of the conversational weight.

People like talking about themselves (see the next item on this list), but they also like to be around someone who’s funny or interesting. One simple way to be more likable is to be a collector of intriguing stories. You don’t have to be a professional storyteller either, just share stories with some enthusiasm and a smile on your face. You’ll be surprised at how much doing so puts others at ease and invites them to open up themselves.

Ask Good Questions

I’ve saved the best for last. Probably the easiest way to be a more likable person is to ask good questions. Get people talking about themselves and sharing their own stories, experiences, and thoughts. The key is to be genuinely curious.

A curious attitude is something that you can cultivate with practice, especially when you consider that everyone’s life experiences have left them with a unique set of interests, skills, and opinions. You may find as much pleasure in getting to know a person as they do in sharing and being known.

As a boy, my dad used to take me to Walmart and teach me how to strike up conversations with strangers. Seeing how much people seemed to enjoy the interruption to their shopping experience taught me a very valuable lesson in life: People love being the object of your genuine interest.

“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”—Dale Carnegie

This article was originally published on This Evergreen Home.

Mike Donghia
Mike Donghia
Mike (and his wife, Mollie) blog at This Evergreen Home where they share their experience with living simply, intentionally, and relationally in this modern world. You can follow along by subscribing to their twice-weekly newsletter.