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13 Things Highly Likable People Do Differently

13 Things Highly Likable People Do Differently

If you have ever wondered why some people are so popular, try observing how they behave. They know instinctively that the power of networking is what really counts in the workplace. They also realize that being highly likable is the key to friendship and successful relationships.

But is it really worthwhile being so popular? You bet it is! According to a Columbia University study, these people get promoted more quickly, receive better medical treatment, and are perceived as being more trustworthy. They are streets ahead of everyone else, so it is certainly worth checking what they do differently.

Highly likable people naturally use some or all of these 13 techniques which make them stand out from the crowd.

1. They use names as identity tags.

I was fascinated once to see how Prince Charles used people’s names effectively when he came to a reception at my workplace many years ago. Obviously, he has vast experience after countless events. When he was leaving, he passed down the line of guests and said to me “Goodbye Robert.” It was easy, of course, as my name badge was clearly displayed. Look at the photo below. That’s me, the second from the left.

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    That set me thinking about how important it is to use people’s names in establishing and maintaining social contact. When people hear their name used in questions or comments in the conversation, they feel more appreciated. It is a signal that their identity is recognized.

    2. They are active listeners.

    There is nothing worse than someone droning on about themselves, their problems, achievements or their family. These people are completely unaware of the value of being active listeners. They simply do not know that instead of going on about their problems, they need to listen more, talk less and ask a few questions. This is exactly what highly likable people do.

    3. They use touch discreetly.

    When I first came to Italy, I was very much struck by the fact that the people used touch, hugs and kisses with complete naturalness. It was an eye opener for me, coming from a rather uptight family where touching was rarely part of our emotional development.

    But research studies show that the power of non sexual touch is far reaching and can help with requests for compliance, help and acceptance. Highly likable people use it discreetly and effectively.

    4. They are almost always positive.

    “The more you stir it, the more it stinks.”

    —Roger Larson

    Have you ever wondered how these likable people are always upbeat and optimistic? Here are some of the tricks they use:

    • They tend to concentrate on their achievements rather than their failures.
    • They rarely blame themselves when something goes wrong. They know their worth!
    • They know that negative thoughts prevent them from enjoying the present.
    • They realize that one negative thought is like a ball speeding down the hill, getting larger and larger before it reaches the bottom.
    • They practice gratitude often for the great things in their lives.

    5. They are patient.

    They know instinctively that in the long term, they are going to reach their goals. Taking one step at a time is one method they use. They are also aware of what triggers will make them impatient, and they are able to restrain those moments when bad temper, sulkiness, anger, and frustration threaten to send ripples through the waters.

    6. They are empathetic.

    They can relate to people’s problems and are interested enough to try to understand their feelings and also help in any way they can. They are tolerant of people’s weaknesses and do not expect perfection. A great quality for the perfect boss!

    7. They are genuine.

    There is nothing fake about a highly likable person. Sincerity shines through and you can sense immediately whether that smile is real especially when they praise you. Look at the eyes and see how the joy lines are also working. They follow up on promises and are highly reliable, which makes it a joy to work with them.

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    8. They are open minded.

    Far too many people think they have it all worked out and that their views on politics, life and work are right. Now, likable people are totally different in that they are open to new ideas, different ways of solving a problem and also have a curious mindset where they actively seek out new approaches and experiences.

    9. They are able to learn from failure.

    “It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.”

    —Bill Gates

    Popular people know that failure is part and parcel of life. What really makes them stand out is that they are capable of learning a lesson when things go wrong and can move on with confidence. They never play the blame game.

    10. They are happy and calm.

    We all seek happiness. These appealing people are usually fulfilled in their work and relationships, and this attracts other people like a magnet. It is as if they have a secret aura, and this is worth its weight in gold.

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    11. They speak clearly.

    These highly regarded people are skilled communicators. Whether this has come about as a natural gift or as a learned skill, I am not sure. What shines through is the way they speak and how friendly the tone is. They never mumble, shout, rant, mutter or use foul language.

    12. They are non judgmental.

    You will never hear these likable people slandering or using gossip to judge colleagues and friends. They will never:

    • Interrupt
    • Make people look inferior
    • Complain or blame other people
    • Show off or boast

    Non judgmental people are always constructive and never destructive.

    13. They make great team member or leaders.

    Highly likable people make great team players because their open and positive attitude makes working with them a pleasure. Team leaders and bosses often crave popularity, but sometimes fail miserably because they possess very few of the people skills I have listed above.

    Now, where do you stand on the highly likable scale? Have you given this any thought and have you ever wondered how you could improve? Let us know in the comments below.

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    Featured photo credit: Girl outdoors smiling/Greyerbaby via pixabay.com

    More by this author

    Robert Locke

    Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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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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