It’s important to make an effort to be approachable for a number of reasons – including the fact that it will help us have a successful career, be more likable and help people feel comfortable around us. In short, life is easier and more fun when we are welcoming and approachable. With that in mind, it makes sense to become more conscious and aware of ways to make people feel at ease around us.
This process is a long but worthwhile journey, but here are some ways to get started. 10 ways to become more approachable:
1. Make eye contact and smile.
According to SocialPro, smiling all the time can come off as insincere or be subconsciously picked up as covering up nervousness – instead, they suggest making a concerted effort to smile when:
- You’ve just met a new person.
- Whenever the other person is smiling.
- They are telling a joke, or the story they’re telling indicates something amusing.
- When you’re about to take off.
- Making eye contact makes other people way more likely to approach you.
2. Use open body posture.
WikiHow suggests that an open body posture is one of the ultimate ways to seem more approachable to other people and make them feel comfortable. If you’re not quite clear on what that looks like, be intentional about:
- Keeping your shoulders up and not slouching.
- Leaning back slightly when sitting.
- Have your hands down and at your side, avoiding crossed arms or putting your hands in your pockets.
3. Put away things that cover your face or distractions like your phone.
Being on your phone or covering up your face, whether it be with a hat or with your hands, sends an instinctive message to people that could consider talking with you. It might be comforting to always be on your phone, but it won’t make you more approachable.
4. Take a deep interest in things that other people are into.
In situations like a workplace, taking a strong interest in the types of hobbies people enjoy or what they did this weekend, makes it more likely that people will open up to you, and consider you their friend. It’s just the nature of our minds that we start to enjoy the company of someone who listens. If you make a concerted effort to listen and bring up things someone has said they were interested in before, they will naturally gravitate towards you.
5. Ask 3 Questions for every one statement about yourself that you make.
An easy way to try to remember to listen more is to ask 3 questions before talking about something you’re very into.
- Don’t only talk about the other person – just make an effort to let the conversation be about what they are into more often.
- When you do get a chance to talk about something you’re passionate about, be sure to not dominate the conversation but find creative ways to work the other person into the conversation and pivot back to their subjects.
6. Try new things like traveling to different areas or countries.
According to France Student Travel, “nothing breaks people out of a certain kind of small thinking and closed off behavior like getting out and seeing other cultures.”
It’s hard to deny that whether you’re from Texas and get a chance to go to California or you’re able to take a class trip to France, immersing yourself fully in a different culture is an incredible way to become more open and welcoming to different points of view.
7. Make an effort to attempt one new activity you haven’t tried every month.
Besides traveling – become a tourist in your own city and have new and exciting things to talk about with the people you meet by challenging yourself to try one new activity for every 30 day period. It doesn’t have to be skydiving! Visit a new apple orchard, walk around the whole city, or hit up that super iconic area that you just haven’t got to yet even though out-of-towners love it.
8. Try to see things from an outside perspective and study other cultures viewpoints.
New ways of life, philosophies, and points of view are less scary when we really take the time to read up on them, watch documentaries and put ourselves out there and are welcoming to people who espouse these ideas. If we make an effort to welcome new cultural viewpoints, we make ourselves significantly more approachable on the outside too – people can sense if you are open to new ideas and ways of life.
9. Expect new people to find you and want to start conversations.
“The biggest thing we can do to help people feel comfortable around us – is to truly be comfortable with ourselves,” says Spenser Baldwin of Omaha SEO.
By expecting that people will want to talk to us, and allowing ourselves that confidence we start to mentally prepare and make our whole approach more accommodating for others.
10.Become very self-aware and ask people close to you what you’re strengths and weaknesses are.
By liking yourself more, and knowing your strengths, you make people feel comfortable being around you because being self-aware puts you more at ease. Knowing your weaknesses is important too – if we know that ‘not asking questions’ or having a closed off body posture is a weakness of ours, we can make an effort to correct it.
Always focus more on your strengths, but don’t be blind to what you can do better on, and think of those things as an opportunity to sharpen your skills of making other people more comfortable.
Featured photo credit: PicJumbo via picjumbo.com