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12 Things You Should Say At Work To Become More Likeable

12 Things You Should Say At Work To Become More Likeable

Camaraderie is an important component of what keeps us going back to work. As humans, we have an innate need for social acceptance. The bulk of our days is spent in a social setting: the workplace! There is a strong need for us to like the people we work with (and for the people we work with to like us!)

How can you increase this likeability factor? Here are 12 simple phrases to use that will up the ante for you.

1. “Hi or Hello”

Before you roll your eyes at the simplest of phrases, hear me out. In my 15 years of professional life, a simple “Hi” has proven to be the most powerful. How? When you see someone, even someone you don’t know, acknowledge their presence with a Hi. This simple act of acknowledging another person’s presence is extremely powerful. I’ve seen people who avert their eyes or look down when they do not know you. It definitely appears rude on the receiving end. Every time you pass someone in the hallway, or in the break room, rest room, elevator, parking deck… irrespective of the place, acknowledge them with a Hi or Hello or Good morning.

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2. “Thank you”

Another simple but powerful phrase is a Thank You. No, a cursory thanking will not cut it. The Thank You has to be heartfelt. Even simple gestures like someone holding the elevator door or handing your mail, warrants a heartfelt thank you. People feel happy to be of help to others. By thanking them, you make them feel like they’ve been of service. This instantly makes them like you.

3. “How are you?”

3 simple words that convey the message that you care. At times it may be a conversation starter. At other times it may be an outlet for someone. I remember a few years ago, when I asked this simple question to a co-worker, the flood gates opened. She was going through a personal situation and did not have anyone to share it with. She viewed the “How are you” as an invitation to share and was able to open up. Sharing what she was going through gave her a huge relief. Giving that opportunity is a sure-fire way to get someone to like you more.

4. “I understand”

In the incident with my co-worker, all I did was to listen and say “I understand”. That’s all you need to do at times to help someone feel heard. Its not uncommon for people to feel frustrated as they come out of a meeting. They may feel like no one gets them or what they are trying to say or do. As they vent to you, acknowledge their thoughts and actions with an “I understand”. On the receiving end, your co-worker will feel a sense of relief to know someone else gets them.

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5. “How can I help?”

Asking someone how you can help lets people know that they are not alone, though that doesn’t necessarily translate to carrying someone else’s load. Still, asking opens the path to conversation. At times, all they may need is a listening ear. Talking about what is needed and being willing to help in any small way is impactful. I’ve come across people who are afraid to ask this question in case they are unable to deliver on the help that is asked of them; hence, they shy away from this question. Showing someone that you are willing to do something for them is a likeability booster.

5. “I believe in you”

This one is huge! People need someone to believe in them. Instead of masking that belief in actions that may or may not come across, just say it. As an example, a supervisor hands a piece of work and adds the words “I believe you can do this.” The fact that their supervisor trusts them with that piece of work is an ego boost for the individual. And will motivate them to do a good job and not let down their boss. I’ve personally done above and beyond when my boss has expressed her belief in my capabilities or trusted me with stretch assignments. And yes, I definitely liked my boss more after that!

7. “What I hear you saying is:”

Repeating what you just heard proves that you were paying attention. In this age of short attention spans, give someone your full attention and repeat the information back to them to confirm it. More likeable for sure.

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8. “Well Done”

I don’t understand why people find it difficult to say “Job Well done”. We dole insane amounts of “good job” to kids, but find it difficult to do it to adults. Personal rants aside, acknowledging someone for their effort is encouraging and motivating. We don’t have to give out plaques or other forms or rewards at all times.  Saying “Job Well Done” at an opportune time in front of the team is equal to or better than a plaque on the wall that no one sees. In turn, it causes people to like you more as you see their effort and their work.

9. “What do you think?”

A powerful way to show respect. Encourage others to share what they think and express their opinions. It causes them to feel included, feel respected and that their opinion matters. The people I like the most at work are the inclusive ones, the ones who show that they care enough about others to include them.

10. “Absolutely”

When you are given work, there are three ways to react to it. Not saying anything and doing it; not saying anything to the person but griping about it to others; and the third way is to respond with “Absolutely!”. Showing enthusiasm when asked to do something, causes an instant delight. And boosts your likeability index.

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11. “Great Question”

A common problem at workplaces is people hesitating to ask questions. They are afraid of getting shot down, laughed at or ignored. When someone is brave enough to ask a question, respect and acknowledge that with a “Great Question” comment. This will ease the nerves of the person asking the question and encourage them to clarify their doubts. In a large setting, it encourages others to open up as well. When you put someone at ease, it naturally causes them to like you.

12. “Tell me more”

A definite way of showing interest! Sometimes, it may be difficult to give someone the time you need at work to listen. When you sense a time consuming conversation, don’t cut off the person and walk away. Let them know that you are short on time, but you want to hear more. Tell them that you will reach out soon to find out more. And keep up the promise! Follow up with the person and find out more. Giving people your time and expressing interests again aids in increasing likeability.

What are some other common phrases that others have said to that make you like them?

Featured photo credit: Andrey/Imagefinder.co via imagefinder.co

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Published on April 7, 2021

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

Some of the most manipulative people are so good at what they do that their words and actions can convince you into thinking they truly care about what’s best for you when in reality, it’s quite the opposite. The most common signs of a controlling person are rarely obvious to outside observers. And for someone enmeshed in a controlling relationship or friendship, it can be incredibly challenging to stay away from this toxic person, even if you’re aware of their emotionally abusive tendencies.

While it’s ultimately up to you to decide whether to preserve or leave a lopsided, unfulfilling relationship, it’s nevertheless critical to understand the following six signs of controlling people so you can better advocate for yourself and mitigate the influence of their manipulative tendencies in your own life.

1. They Push Their Own Personal Agenda

Do you know someone who always tries to micromanage the words, behaviors, and attitudes of people around them? Does this person act like they have the right to know anything they want about you, including your location, what you’re doing in a given moment, who you’re talking to online, or any other private information about you? And when planning events and special occasions, does this person dominate conversations, steer plans in their own preferred directions, disparage others’ suggestions, and refuse to collaborate with anyone who might disagree with them?

If you answered “yes” to some of the above questions, then those are clear signs of a controlling person whom you absolutely need to be cautious around. Controlling people are reluctant to even consider alternative ideas, let alone enthusiastically work with people who have differing views. They prefer to be the captain of every ship—regardless of how much or how little an issue personally impacts them—and they have an arsenal of manipulative tactics to deploy if someone stands in the way of them achieving their own personal agendas.

In long-term relationships with controlling people, you may feel constantly pressured to meet their demands, follow their schedule, and focus on whatever they feel is most important. It’s not an exaggeration to say that these people act like the universe revolves around them, which can be exhausting to deal with for their family members, friends, and colleagues.

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2. They Make Everything Transactional

Controlling people aren’t always self-centered, but they’re not too empathetic either. Empathy for them tends to appear in the form of strategic concessions they use as a means to get what they want. They typically view interpersonal relationships as transactional opportunities to extract more value from people surrounding them, which can have a draining effect on those they interact with.

For example, one sign of a controlling person may be their insistence on “keeping score.” This can involve doing nice things for you with the ulterior motive of demanding something from you at a later date in exchange for what you thought was just an act of kindness or a friendly support.

Perhaps they shower you in praise (also known as “love-bombing”) or gifts then blow up at you if you don’t intuitively know they’re expecting something back from you. None of us are mind-readers, but controlling people behave as though everyone else should think and act like they want others to and those who fall out of line are punished for failing to meet their impossible expectations.

A controlling person may also threaten to withhold support if you don’t adhere to their demands, but they do so in such subtle ways that the guilt they impose blinds you from the unreasonable nature of their behaviors.

Some statements to be wary of include:

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  • “I did ___________ for you. What do you mean you can’t do ___________ for me?”
  • “Remember how I helped you with ___________? That took a lot of time and energy from me, but I guess you didn’t appreciate my help.”
  • “I always give you ___________. Don’t you care about my needs too?”
  • “You’re so selfish!” or “You don’t care about me at all!” (gaslighting if you respond with hesitation or politely decline their request for help for perfectly valid reasons, such as not having enough time or resources to assist them)

3. They Criticize Everything

One of the most common telltale signs of a controlling person is their capacity to criticize anything and everything, even small things that seemingly don’t matter. As with many toxic traits in relationships, these problems typically start out so small that you may not even notice. At first, you may even agree with their criticism or at least be able to understand their perspective when they bring up an issue.

However, the criticism tends to get more intense, more constant, and more perplexing for people who maintain relationships with controlling people. You’ll likely notice how they rarely seem to criticize something they do. It’s almost always other-oriented and these types of people are so manipulative that any rationale they offer can seem plausibly legitimate.

Some warning signs of a controlling person who’s overly critical to the point of abusiveness include:

  • Criticizing things about you that you have little to no control over (e.g., appearance, disability, family)
  • Criticizing your personal choices and interests, such as educational pursuits, career, clothing, favorite music, time spent on your hobbies, etc.
  • Punishing you for expressing vulnerability by invalidating thoughts and feelings you share with them
  • Attacking you whenever you express an opinion counter to theirs

4. They Balk When Someone Criticizes Them

We all know the adage, “what goes around, comes around.” But this statement doesn’t apply as much to toxic, controlling people. They’d much prefer to dish out criticism without ever having to take it in return.

For instance, if your friend constantly talks about your appearance with little regard for your emotions but flips out if you make just a single comment about their appearance, there’s a possibility that they could have some hidden controlling tendencies left unchecked. Remember, these people aren’t just controlling in their behaviors towards others. They’re also actively trying to stay in complete control over every aspect of their lives, which includes how others view them.

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This seemingly insatiable desire for control can prompt them to lash out against even the smallest bits of criticism, leaving people around them too weary or scared to speak up again in the future. While it’s possible they may suffer from something called rejection sensitivity dysphoria, this does not excuse them from the consequences of their words and actions. They should seek professional help to better manage their reactions to criticism.

5. They Socially Isolate You

Not all controlling people do this, but for manipulative narcissists, socially isolating victims is a go-to strategy for maintaining control because it’s effective at preventing people from truly understanding how toxic their partner, family member, or friend is treating them. Think of it this way—if you don’t talk to many other people in your life, there’s less of a risk that you’ll damage their reputation by revealing their abusive tendencies.

Socially isolating others also gives the person more control over you and your life as it becomes more difficult to break away from them if you don’t have other healthier channels of communication and interpersonal support to turn to.

This process doesn’t happen overnight, nor is it something you can readily recognize as abusive. At first, it may seem reasonable, such as asking you to stop engaging so often with family members with whom both of you disagree on major social or political issues. As the social isolation progresses, they may suggest cutting people out of your life—especially if they don’t like that person, regardless of how you personally feel—or even conjure up high-stakes problems like “it’s me or them” under the guise of saving you from people in your life whom they don’t like for whatever reason.

In a controlling person’s life narrative, they’re always the protagonist who’s incapable of any wrongdoing. The blame is always redirected at someone else, whether that’s you or other people in your life. The more they isolate you from other supportive people in your life, the more susceptible you’ll be to falsely believing that they’re right and you “don’t need” your other friends and family when you have someone as perfect as this person.

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6. They’re Emotionally Abusive

It’s hard enough to be in control of your own emotions but when someone else is constantly belittling you and your interests or leveraging guilt and shame to manipulate you into saying or doing what they want, this can make it even more challenging to stay in control of your own life and emotional well-being.

Emotional abuse is another sign of a controlling person that is often overlooked in relationships. After all, human personalities vary widely in terms of passivity, and it’s not uncommon for one person in a relationship to be significantly more passive than the other. This becomes an issue when the controlling partner or friend exudes signs of emotional abuse, which can start subtly and become much more pronounced over time.

Concerning signs of emotionally abusive language or behavior to watch out for include:

  • Dismissing your needs and/or belittling your interests in counterproductive ways
  • Privately or publicly shaming or humiliating you
  • Making you feel as though you can never live up to their expectations or do anything right (according to their own vague, subjective standards)
  • Gaslighting you into thinking they said or did something that never actually happened (making you question your own reality)

Final Thoughts

It’s sometimes hard to see the negative things about someone with whom we have a relationship. We may sometimes unconsciously overlook the signs of a controlling person, especially if that person is someone we have known for a long time or are close to us. However, cutting them off your life is the best thing you can do for yourself. Just watch out for these six signs of a controlling person and take immediate action when you spot them.

More Tips on How To Deal With a Controlling Person

Featured photo credit: Külli Kittus via unsplash.com

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