12 Subtle Behaviors That Make People Like You Almost Immediately

Being likable is all about how you connect with others.

smiling happy woman wearing a hat Dean Drobot / Shutterstock

Of all the things most people aspire to be, the common subconscious desire is to evolve into someone who's more likable. Whether to ourselves, our loved ones, or the people we're still hung up on impressing, most aspirations are somewhere tied into a supposed promise of being "loved." It's human nature.

Yet, there's often a strange paradox in the world of self-development, and it revolves around whether or not it's more important to be true to yourself or to be true to the kind of person that others find more appealing. But there's a middle ground. 


There are ways to consciously become a more likable person without ever having to sacrifice who you really are, becoming more self-aware and authentic.

Here are 12 subtle behaviors that make people like you almost immediately

1. You validate other people's emotions, even if you don't agree with them

woman comforting her friend Karolina Kaboompics / Pexels

In other words, you don't find reasons to dismiss the way other people feel.

If someone says, "You hurt me," you don't try to deny it, even though you may not have realized you did anything wrong. You don't assume you can tell people how to feel, or that logic (or peer pressure) can change that fact.

Instead, you accept and validate other people's feelings as they are, and, in turn, they validate people for who they are.

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2. You ask important questions

coworkers working together Ketut Subiyanto / Pexels

Inquisitiveness, when coming from a place of genuine interest, makes people feel important and valued. However, that can easily take a turn for the worst when you ask someone questions that make them uncomfortable to answer.

That's why likable people ask others questions regarding things they're inherently passionate about. Because you're a likable person, you give others an outlet to share and express what they love the most.

It's a bonding tool, but it's also a way of showing someone you care about them because you care about what they care about.


3. You look people in the eye

friends making eye contact Edmond Dantès / Pexels

Eye contact is an essential part of communication, as it creates positive interactions. And when you meet someone, whether you know them or not, you're sure to look them in the eye.

You give a firm handshake, address the person by name, and make them feel comfortable, not intimidated. Likable people command respect with how much respect they give to others.


4. You put your phone away

friends connecting without phones Oleksandr P / Pexels

When you're with other people, you're sure to give them your full, complete attention.

The gesture of responding to something in the middle of a conversation communicates the idea that there's something more important than the person you're talking to.

Whether there is or there isn't, likable people consider the way this small (but significant) action will make others feel.

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5. You're consistent

consistent woman talking on the phone Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels

The truth is that people dislike change, and they especially dislike when people change. This is unfortunate, as change is the only real constant in life, and the idea that people shouldn't evolve is dangerous at worst.

Yet, there's a mild difference between being "changeable" and "consistent," the latter of which has to do with having a sound idea of who you inherently are.

Sure, your politics may change, and your opinions may change, but consistently showing up with your whole, genuine self makes you more likable, simply because people are certain about what they're getting.


6. You don't try to elicit emotional reactions from others

women being friendly Liza Summer / Pexels

Because you're a likable person, you don't tell someone about your promotion with the intent of eliciting awe and admiration. You don't seek sympathy for your hardships.

The point is that you don't go into conversations looking for a specific emotional reaction from other people (it's exhausting to the opposite party).

7. You don't project

couple sitting together on a bench Andrea Piacquadio / Pexels

When you see someone walking down the street, you don't size them up and start comparing. You recognize that other people, places, events and issues exist without your involvement whatsoever.

You aren't selfish to the point where you believe that if someone else is successful, it means you aren't; or, if someone else doesn't have love, that makes you better.

You don't project your issues onto whatever is in front of you.

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8. You speak with precision

man talking to woman clearly Jopwell / Pexels

Likable people speak clearly and concisely, simply because they aren't trying to edit or inflate whatever they're trying to say.

As such, you communicate directly and well, and it's this transparency that immediately puts others at ease. People don't need to wonder if you really mean what you say because you speak with conviction.

9. You aren't looking to 'convert' anyone

likable man and woman drinking coffee Ketut Subiyanto / Pexels

You're resolute in your beliefs to the point where other people aren't threatening. In other words, you don't pick out opportunities to "inform" people of their ignorance or turn every family dinner into a political debate.

Rather, you have enough self-awareness to know that the desire to do so comes from a place of crippling insecurity, and that it doesn't need to be acted on.


10. You focus on the big picture

man thinking about the future Ketut Subiyanto / Pexels

Likability is more than just how someone speaks to you — it's their body language (crossed arms or relaxed shoulders?), the way they style themselves to communicate who they are, and so on.

People communicate who they are in many ways, and crafting a more likable identity goes hand-in-hand with crafting a more genuine appearance and relaxed attitude.

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11. You make an effort to understand others, not to place yourself above them

friends comforting each other Anna Shvets / Pexels

You're sure to put yourself on a level playing field with everyone you come across. Because you don't have a superiority complex or a need for validation, you're better able to understand people on a deeper level.

You see conversations as opportunities to learn about what you don't know, rather than informing other people about what they don't know. You're an incredibly likable person because you make it a point to connect, not one-up.


12. You work on yourself

happy woman working on herself Matthias Cooper / Pexels

The most important trait of a likable person is the willingness to work on oneself.

It's the ability to say, "I'm sorry I hurt you. I'm going to work on being better about that." It's the openness to admit that you're wrong, apologize, or at least not become defensive when someone wants to bring unwanted behavior to your attention.

People who are committed to working on themselves are committed to working on their relationships with others. At the end of the day, those two things are one and the same.

Being likable is a change in how we connect, not a change in who we are. So when you truly understand what it takes to be a likable individual, you can adopt a few more socially intelligent habits yourself.

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Brianna Wiest is a writer, editor, author, and regular contributor to publications such as Huffington Post, Forbes, Teen Vogue, Thought Catalog, and many others. She's the author of '101 Essays That Will Change The Way You Think,' and other collections of poetry and prose.