Tuesday, 7 February 2012

How to be liked

Following on from our last blog about the difficulty of establishing and maintaining friendships, here are some techniques on how to be liked.

If you want others to like you then all you have to do is make them feel good about themselves. It’s simple, if we make people feel good about themselves they will want to recreate this feeling and will seek us out again. But how, and why don’t more of us use this technique? The problem is that we often focus on ourselves and put our needs before those of others. The irony is, if people like you they will try hard to please you anyway.

Use some animal magic

Like animals we constantly scan the environment for signals and threats. It is important to send positive nonverbal cues when meeting people to show that you don’t pose a threat. 
These include:

  • Eyebrow flash - a quick up and down movement of the eyebrows which is typically displayed on approaching others. 
  • Head tilt – this shows we are not a threat as this exposes our carotid artery which is the primary source for blood to reach the brain. If damaged, this can cause brain damage or death. 
  • Smile – this triggers endorphins in the brain which promote a feeling of well-being and make us feel good about ourselves. 
...and a touch of human magic

Empathy can make people feel good about themselves as this maintains the focus on others. Using empathic statements that mirror the other person's language, be it verbal, physical or emotional, can be particularly effective. It is best not to repeat exactly what the other person has said as this can be deemed patronising, but use statements which begin: ‘So you…’ instead of ‘I understand how you feel…’ as this keeps the focus on the other person rather than you.

Using flattery can also make people feel good about themselves. However, you don’t want to seem insincere so it is most effective when you encourage others to flatter themselves, e.g. ‘How do you stay in shape with your busy schedule?’

Another way to make people feel good is to ask a favour of them. This is known as the Ben Franklin Effect as it was he who noticed that if he asked a favour, his colleague liked him more than if he didn’t ask a favour. You would think this would be the other way around but it seems that when a person does someone a favour, this makes them feel good about themselves…as long as you don’t ask too many! 

Edinburgh: 0131-668-1440, www.edinburghtherapy.co.uk
Glasgow: 0141-404-5411, www.glasgowpsychology.co.uk
Borders: 01896-800-400, www.borderspsychology.co.uk

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