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What Makes Us Likeable?

by Maryann Pisano on April 28, 2014


The information presented in this website and the comments from Dr. Hughes are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or psychological disorder. The information presented is not a substitute for medical, psychological or psychiatric treatment. You are advised to seek professional medical and psychological help as necessary.


What makes us likeable?

This is a great question.   A lot of people think that there are many ways to be likeable and that every person has a different preference as to what they like in a person.  This is in part true; however, for an initial attraction and general “likability” there many behaviors that consistently make the list.  Here are my 3 favorites:

  1.  Despite what One Direction says about how a girl is beautiful because she acts insecure, the truth is, people are more likeable when they are CONFIDENT.  A person who seems in control of their bodies and thoughts and emotions with an air of assertiveness (not arrogance, not aggressiveness) is often the person others want to be around.
  2. Even if you are one of those people who gravitates toward the emo-depressive vampire types, most people tend to gravitate toward others who are positive and OPTIMISTIC.   A smile (not too big, not too constant) and conversation topics that aren’t rivaling the nightly news are good starts.
  3. Finally, people like people who make them FEEL GOOD.  This means that a likeable person will ask questions about the other person, listen to responses, and read signals (like when to back off a topic, when to ask more, etc).  Think about the people you have liked almost instantly…did they go on and on with inside-joke stories?  Did they talk about themselves?  Probably not.  They probably made you feel good by being complimentary, getting you to talk  a little, and staying engaged.  That’s what you should do, too.

Dr. Carsi Hughes received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Northwestern University Medical School. She is a licensed clinical psychologist who specializes in adult psychopathology, clinical neuropsychology, and psychoanalytic psychotherapy. Academic appointments include Associate Clinical Professor of Psychology and Post Baccalaureate Pre-Medical Studies at Dominican University.

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