When it comes to being socially successful, the quantity of your relationships is irrelevant. The important thing is the quality of them. I would rather have a small team that works in concert than a big team so scattered that nothing ever gets done. It’s better to have a few close friends who love you for who you are than a lot of acquaintances who you’re not so comfortable with. Here are five ways you can make people enjoy being around you.
1. Be confident, but not cocky.
There is a big difference between healthy confidence and arrogant cockiness. A confident person, when complimented about a wonderful thing they did, would reply with a simple “thank you.” A cocky person would take the opportunity to perform an unscheduled Academy Award acceptance speech. A confident person would offer praise for everybody who contributed to their success. A cocky person would claim all the credit for themselves without a second thought. Cocky people might experience temporary perks, but long-lasting success is a prize reserved for the confident.
2. Be approachable, but not a pushover.
You should welcome your friends and coworkers with open arms. It’s hard to find a person who will offer a listening ear in a time of need, so fulfilling that need will help you become a person people trust. But there can be too much of a good thing. If you find yourself with invites you’re not that interested in, don’t be afraid to politely reject them. If your schedule becomes devoured by people desiring your attention, set some ground rules and prioritize. To take care of others, you must first take care of yourself.
3. Be direct in expression, but not nasty in delivery.
Receiving honesty with no filter is like finding a massive glass of ice water during a desert excursion. Speak words of truth, and people will be refreshed to hear them. Most people sugarcoat their opinions, so a willingness to tell it how you see it will win the appreciation of your friends and coworkers. But here’s the catch: delivery is everything. There is a big difference between “Your article sucks” and “I like the general concept, but I think it might play better if you try it from a different angle.” Authenticity is something you should aim for, but it isn’t a ticket to be nasty to people. To deliver honest and helpful feedback, use this sentence structure: “I liked (insert positive quality), but think it would be better if (constructive criticism/suggestion for improvement.”
4. Be mindful of your actions, but not absorbed in yourself.
Have you ever found yourself nervous while fielding questions in a job interview or talking to a cute person you have a crush on? So obsessed with making a positive first impression that you can’t escape the constant stream of thoughts causing you to doubt if you’re saying and doing the right things? As a consequence, you might find yourself so self-absorbed that you can’t focus on what the other person is saying (much less the nonverbal cues that will help you translate their words). The less time you spend questioning yourself and the more time you spend actively listening to the other person, the better off you will be. If you’d like to check out some tips that will help other people feel comfortable around you, click here.
5. Be assertive, but not overbearing.
There is a thin line between being assertive and overbearing, so let’s take a look at their definitions.
as·ser·tive (adjective): having or showing a confident and forceful personality.
o·ver·bear·ing (adjective): unpleasantly or arrogantly domineering.
An assertive person would confidently (and politely) ask friends or networking contacts for help if they needed it (and hopefully offer to return the favor). An overbearing person would manipulate people to get what they wanted without a second thought about how their actions affected others. Being overbearing will make people avoid you because no one wants to help a pushy person. Being assertive will attract people to you, if you can reflect confidence and contagious enthusiasm.