Social Goals: How to be an Incredibly Likable Person

Some people can walk into a room and command attention. They can say the right things, get a laugh from everyone, and make friends so easily and confidently it’s mind-boggling. How did they get there? We’re going to show you how with these tips.

You Cannot Fake a Magnetic Personality

There are different kinds of “faking it until you make it.”

For instance, you can fake that you’re enjoying a conversation more than you actually are. That requires adopting a different set of facial and vocal behaviors than you would authentically use in that situation.

Say you’re talking to a guy you just met at a dinner party who won’t stop talking. As he goes on and on, all you want to do is to get another drink. But he’s an important guy and you don’t want to seem rude. You feel forced to smile and nod, hoping for a swift end to the conversation.

Because the situation with the man is such a short-term situation, it really bears no effect on who you are as a person. But if you had to put on a front all the time to seem more charismatic than you are because of deeper personal turmoils in your psyche, you’re going to have a much harder time.

While social bandaids like the one with the man at the dinner party can be used sparingly, you can’t fake your personality without intense, exhausting effort. There are countless narratives of people “wearing masks” in order to fit into the social role expected of them, and you shouldn’t strain your psyche further by practicing cognitive dissonance every day.

You can’t fake a charismatic personality. You have to change your mindset to slowly grow into a charismatic personality, and here are a few ways how.

How to Improve Your Charismatic Mindset

Just like mindfulness, charisma is a way of viewing the world. However, whereas mindfulness is more focused on the external world, charisma turns your focus inward. Thus, to be a highly charismatic person, you’ll have to work on improving your perception of yourself.

Stop Lying

Any lies. All lies. “‘I’m fine’ when you’re really exhausted” lies. Even the whitest lie cannot escape your new charisma mindset.

When you lie, you become complicit in deception, no matter how slight it may seem. You are aware that you are lying to someone. Unless you’re a narcissist, you feel bad about lying and introduce negative energy into your psyche. Not only that, but you signal to other people that your words are not trustworthy. You, then, are not a trustworthy person.

A truly charismatic person does not lie. They care about how honorable they look to other people and value their character above the short-term gain the lie could give them.

While it may be easier to lie in some situations, you have to vow to tell the truth and nothing but the truth. Your confidence and trustworthiness depends on your honesty.

Be Kind to Yourself

When you make a mistake, it’s easy to call yourself an idiot or a screw-up. It may seem deserved in the situation, but if you wouldn’t let someone else talk to you like that, why would you talk to yourself like that?

Negative thoughts repel positive energy, which is the lifeblood of a charismatic personality. When you invite negative thoughts in your mind, it’s as if people can tell — humans are wickedly good at sensing their way through the emotional states of other humans.

Besides, chastising yourself with horrible words brings down your self-esteem to some degree. You’re stating that you are a being worth chastising in the first place. Be nice to yourself, even if you’ve made a serious mistake, as much as possible.

Practice Integrity

Why is it the advice we’ve heard a thousand times is so common yet so rarely practiced in person?

The advice we’re talking about is, “Always do what is correct, even if it’s not easy.” When you take such a phrase to heart, you place your morals first by accounting what’s best for the people around you, yourself, or for the world.

For example, let’s say you go to a street shop that’s clearly owned by one person. You buy a hat, and the seller gives you back a $10 instead of a $5.

Now, you could easily walk away and send those five extra dollars you got. The seller most likely wouldn’t realize their mistake, and you most likely won’t see that person again anyway. There’s little consequence to you keeping those $5.

However, you would know keeping that money is wrong and that you should go back to the seller, explain the situation, and give back their money. When you do that, you’ll be a part of the small group of actually honest people in this world, which is something to feel good about.

When you practice integrity, you facilitate people’s growing trustworthiness of you, especially if you could have easily profited from a situation with little consequence. People will like you more because they know you’re not going to hurt them or take advantage of them, and you open yourself to more social opportunities by being an integritous person.

Stop Looking to Others

Lastly, the biggest confidence killer is seeking validation from other people.

When you look to others for how you should think, behave, or express yourself, you essentially make yourself a vessel for other people’s thoughts and opinions. From that, you deplete the space within yourself for yourself.

People notice that. People can tell when you’re more focused on what they think about you versus what you think about yourself. It’s a tell-tale sign of low-confidence, which could turn people off automatically or, worse, make you more prone to getting taken advantage of.

Stop looking to others for validation. You need to set your own standards for thought, speech, and behavior if you’re going to live a comfortable, confident life. No one looks charismatic if they’re constantly glancing around the room wondering if they’re doing everything right. A truly charismatic person is the one getting looked at.

A commitment to growth is what you need to become more self-confident. But in the meantime, there are ways to make people like you when you’re actively interacting with someone.

How to Get People to Instantly Like You

You better take these to heart, as these are the basics of charismatic interpersonal skills.

Actively Listen

Our increasingly digitized world constantly pulls our attention in different directions. It’s hard to focus on something for a substantial amount of time, which is why it’s so pleasurable when that attention is focused on us.

Without a doubt, active listening makes people feel seen and heard, and you can build such a nice, intimate connection with someone when you actively listen to them.

Here are the key traits of actively listening:

  • Maintaining eye contact.
  • Paying attention and not letting your mind wander.
  • Using verbal markers in response to what someone just said, like, “Yeah, right, wow,” etc.
  • Nodding and smiling when appropriate.
  • Asking questions or continuing the conversation when a person has indicated they’re done talking about a certain point.

You’d be amazed at how many people hear you speak but don’t listen to the content of your message. One of the most disheartening feelings is being in a conversation with someone, thinking it’s going well, but then realizing the person just waits for their turn to speak again. Don’t be that type of person.

Active listening requires attention and care for the person you’re speaking to. Give them the respect they deserve and listen to them, don’t just hear them.

You Squint Your Eyes When They Talk to You

Now, this doesn’t mean staring at them like you’re staring at the sun. The eye-squint is what Tyra Banks would call the “smize.” You’re smiling with your eyes.

Smiling is one of the best ways to make people like you, but it’s a bit weird to be smiling constantly throughout a conversation. Besides, your face would get tired. You’ll have to smile in other ways.

Smizing is one of the best ways to look engaged yet curious in your interlocutor. It’s pointless to smize when you’re not looking directly into someone else’s eyes (the ground or the table won’t think you’re charming for smizing at them), so you’re forced to maintain eye contact with the person you’re talking to, which builds trust and connection.

With such an easy way to look engaged and to open up channels of connection, there’s no reason not to start smizing in the next conversation you have.

Mirror Their Behaviors and Words

Humans are social creatures, and one of the biggest reasons we’re so social is because of our brains.

Inside every human brain is a pathway of mirror neurons, which allow you to watch something and feel as if you yourself are performing it. That’s why we look at DIY videos of hand making tables or whatnot and say, “Hey, I could do that.”

When you mimic someone’s behavior, you’re subconsciously saying you’re like them. People like those they feel they have stuff in common with, and so you’re increasing rapport and likability with that person the more you mimic their behavior.

Of course, as with smizing, try not to make it weird. Don’t follow their every move like an Acting 101 exercise. Instead, move your hands in your pockets if your interlocutor does so. Cross your feet if you’re sitting at a table if the person you’re sitting next to does that too. Mimicking behavior is an easy way to get someone’s guard down and set up a deeper bond with someone.

Better yet, try to use some of the words another person just said in your response to them.

For example, someone says. “I really like rainy weather, especially when it’s Sunday morning and I can stay inside.” You could say, “I like rainy weather too! I like taking my morning coffee and watching the rainfall.”

When you use some of the words someone just said in your response to them, you prove you were listening to them. Not only that, but you’re essentially creating a verbal method of mimicking their behavior, triggering that person’s mirror neurons and making them like you more.

How to Command Attention Without Being a Bully

It’s a puzzle as to how people can stand before a group of others and get everyone’s attention. How can they get everyone’s eyes on them? More importantly, how do they not lose people’s interest?

Commanding attention isn’t about being the loudest speaker or the most aggressive. It’s about maintaining a confident presence and speaking with intention.

For example, Neil Degrasse Tyson is one of the most intelligent people walking the Earth. While his mind is great, his speaking style is even more interesting. He pulls you in when he talks because he knows how to pause dramatically, vary his vocal inflection, and speak with such enthusiasm that you’re entertained by him in addition to educated. Watch this breakdown on Tyson’s speaking style to see why he’s so excellent.

Here are a few other ways to command attention in front of others:

  • Stand up straight. Proper posture dramatically improves how you view yourself and how others view you. When you stand up straight, you’re not mimicking the slumped posture of someone with low confidence. You’re expressing yourself as a powerful individual who deserves respect.
  • Finish your sentence when someone talks over you. Trailing off makes it seem like what you had to say wasn’t important to begin with.
  • Using marking phrases. If you say phrases like, “Listen to this,” or “I have such a great story about that,” people are more likely to listen to you because they’re anticipating an engaging story. Just don’t let them down, or else you’ll lose the power of your words.

Things You’re Doing to Make People Not Like You

We get it. You have bad days. You’re not feeling particularly lively and some of the things you do may come off as insensitive or mean.

But some personality traits can consistently make people not like being in your presence. For the purpose of this article, we’re going to use a recent interview from the cast of Marvel’s Avenger: Endgame involving Brie Larson, Chris Hemsworth, and Don Cheadle.

Particularly, we’re going to focus on Larson’s behavior in this interview. We’re not saying that Larson is always like this or that you should generalize her behavior to herself or other people. This video provides tangible evidence of a usually charismatic person failing to be charismatic for whatever reason.

Self-Deprecation from Annoying Stuff

Toward 30 seconds into the interview, Larson tries to make a joke about how it took a while to get into the rhythm of filming the movie. Larson taps her elbows against the elbows of her castmates and says in an exaggerated tone, “Wasn’t it fun sitting through all my extra takes?”

Now, if you don’t know anything about filming, this might seem like an off-hand, even humorous comment. But Chris Hemsworth and Don Cheadle have been in dozens of movies and clearly know what the process is like.

Extra takes occur for a variety of reasons — camera malfunctions or lighting issues, stuff beyond the actor’s control. But with so much that can go wrong, the actor should be on top of their game and not try to slow down that process even further, since the actor’s preparedness significantly affects whether or not the film crew will have to redo a take so the actor can get their lines or blocking right.

From Larson’s little quip, it sounds like, for some reason, she had to do more takes than Hemsworth or Cheadle had to do, so Larson essentially acknowledges that it took a long time to film in her movie. While it’s uncertain how much she contributed to that slowdown, filming extra takes is exhausting in and of itself.

To Hemsworth and Cheadle, it’s not funny that they had to spend a long day on the set. So when Larson makes the self-deprecating joke about filming extra takes, she’s not only reminding her castmates that her scenes, for whatever reason, took longer to take and thus annoyed the cast, but her making a joke about an annoyance she was complicit in makes her seem immature and annoying of itself.

Her joke would have hit much better had she jokes about a specific part of the extra-filming takes, not alluding that she made the takes much longer to film. Self-deprecation should come from things you can’t control easily, such as your weight, age, looks, etc. Your annoying behavior does not count, as you had control over that situation.

Improperly Using Sarcasm

Around the first minute, the cast discusses how new members are somewhat hazed on set, and that Larson had to go through that. Cheadle quickly describes how the “initiation” process works but then essentially says that Larson is a part of the cast, joking stating that her membership dues were paid.

But Larson quickly says that she’s “Still waiting for her membership card,” as if the acceptance of Larson that Cheadle just describes wasn’t enough. Larson said her phrase briskly and rather straight-faced, but from the context, it’s sarcasm.

By speaking relatively normally, though, her sentence comes off as ungrateful and not humorous. She needed a “tell,” of sorts, to signal to her audience that she doesn’t mean what she says. For example, she could have spoken more slowly and exaggerated the ‘still.’

Stillllll waiting for my membership card, though.”

Or she could have exaggerated her facial expression or gesticulations during her sentence before smiling at the end, signaling that what she said was a joke.

Through the improper use of sarcasm, Larson’s words came off as sincere and thus ungrateful, which damages her charisma in that moment.

Not Accepting Compliments

Larson makes a joke (at least we think it’s a joke) that she’s the strongest person on the set. But again, she doesn’t use a tell to signal that she doesn’t believe what she’s saying, so the others take her words at face value.

And when Hemsworth pushes back and says that Larson is not the strongest person on set. Comparing arm sizes alone, Hemsworth’s are much larger than Larson’s, and Hemsworth said previously in his interview that his stunt double is physically stronger than he is. Thus, Hemsworth was right to say that Larson is not the strongest on set.

But Hemsworth still compliments Larson, stating, “She’s really smart.” But Larson fidgets with her earring, clearly uncomfortable, and says, “Nah.”

She rejects Hemsworth’s attempt at conciliation through compliments since Larson does not seem like the top dog in that situation. Had Larson said something like, “You’re right, I am smart, thank you,” that would have diffused the tense situation.

What do you do when someone compliments you? Do you immediately reject it like Larson did? Some of us don’t feel comfortable getting compliments, but you should at least say thank you if you don’t want to say anything else.

When you reject the compliment, you’re essentially biting the hand that feeds you. The complimenter made the effort to say something positive and nice about you and you punish them for doing so when you reject their effort. They’ll be less likely to compliment you in the future and feel slight disdain for you in the moment because of your rejection.

If you feel you struggle in social situations, you may gravitate towards a substance that makes socializing much easier. But that could be a huge mistake in growing your charisma.

The Biggest Thing That Will Ruin Your Social Growth


Now, don’t get us wrong. Alcohol is a fun way to enjoy parties or dance clubs, and we’re not saying you should cut alcohol out of your life if you don’t want to. We’ve all felt incredibly charismatic at some point — talking to others with ease, not feeling awkward in our bodies, and just feel utterly unencumbered by low self-confidence.

This feeling most likely happens after a few drinks. Alcohol is a drug that, early on in the drinking process, boosts the activity of a natural brain chemical called GABA. When alcohol acts on GABA receptors, the brain releases dopamine — the “feel good” neurochemical. This is why alcohol gives you a mild sense of euphoria.

Alcohol binds to the GABA receptors and thus impairs the parts of the brain that makes people feel anxious. With alcohol in your system, you feel confident enough to talk to strangers if you normally wouldn’t do so. Alcohol is called “social lubricant” for a reason.

The thing with alcohol, though, is that it’s a crutch. You’re using a drug to alter your brain chemistry for a short-term social gain. The effects of alcohol never last, but you could quickly become dependent on it if you need alcohol to soften social encounters.

Instead of relying on alcohol to make socializing with people easier, you have to put in the hard work to make permanent changes to how charismatic you are. If anything, using alcohol only obstructs that goal, because you’re not you when you’re a bit tipsy.

The best way to practice socializing without the use of alcohol is to actually go to bars. Yes, we’re aware of the irony.

But think about it: if you’re in a bar, other people will be drunk. They’ll be having a good time dancing or hanging out with their friends, so they’re already in a friendlier mood to chat with people.

You can strike up a conversation with someone because they’ll be more likely to be talkative under the influence. If you think you’re being awkward or get socially anxious, you can easily walk away from the situation. Most people come and go while visiting bars, so it won’t break your interlocutor’s heart if you have to go.

Best of all, the people you talk to most likely won’t remember any conversations you’ve had with them due to their inebriation. You can practice talking to people and maneuvering conversations in a low-stakes environment to build your social skills naturally.

Socializing is like building a muscle. You can’t short-cut your way to permanent gains with alcohol. You’ll have to scare yourself. You’ll have to feel awkward. But you’ll ultimately grow from the consistent, sober effort you put in.

Being Popular is About Being Charismatic

And charisma is a lifestyle you have to constantly work towards.

Charisma is a process that stems from confidence, which stems from inner-positivity and acceptance. Without those two major components in place, you will be fruitlessly “faking it until you make it” rather than putting in the hard work to clean yourself up and become a better person.

Gaining higher self-confidence teaches you how to navigate social situations, but you can learn the tricks that make people instantly like you, such as facial expressions and active listening skills (always, always, always ask people questions.)

Remember the model charismatic person from the beginning — the type of person who magnetically draws people in without effort? They’re not a scientific mystery. They most likely worked hard to become the charismatic person you met, and you can work hard on your confidence and integrity to become like them too.

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