Whether you're shy and uncomfortable in social situations or the most seasoned extrovert, everyone can use a few tips to increase their social likability. These tips use basic psychology and will give you the edge in any social situation from mingling at a cocktail party to a job interview to office politics to dating.
1. Be confident.
2. When you first meet someone, make note of their eye color.
via: GettyThis isn't because their eye color is important, but by taking a moment to look and make note of it, you will be giving the perfect amount of eye contact. We all know eye contact is important in social situations. Too much is creepy and uncomfortable, and not enough makes us seem shifty and untrustworthy.
3. Match body language.
via: GettyMirroring someone's body language is an effective way to gain rapport. Don't overdo it in a distracting way, but subtly assume the same overall body postures. A person who stands at a distance with his arms crossed is less likely to feel comfortable with someone who stands close and uses broad open arm gestures.
4. Use a person's name right away.I forget names the instant I'm introduced to someone. It's terrible. Experts recommend using the person's name a couple of times right away to reinforce it in your mind. This has an added benefit of making the person like you more! People like to hear their name. It makes us feel important.
5. Pretend you feel comfortable.Don't like meeting new people or speaking in front of a crowd? Pretend you're A-OK with it. You can trick your own brain out of its anxiety by acting like you're comfortable in any given situation. If meeting new people makes you anxious, pretend you already know all these people. You will appear more at ease, which will make you more likable to the new people. It's a win-win!
6. Notice people's feet.
7. Stay silent and see what else they say.
8. Choose your seat wisely.
via: GettyIf you expect to have a conflict with someone, seat yourself next to that person rather than across from them. Your position is less oppositional, and the person next to you is less likely to feel as threatened. This technique is handy to remember in conference rooms, or even your Thanksgiving table!
9. Ask for favors.
10. Chew gum if you're nervous.
11. Maintain eye contact.
via: ShutterstockIf you ask someone a question and they feel hesitant to answer, just keep looking at them. That will show that you're not afraid of the answer, and help put them at ease.
12. If the whole group is feeling awkward, have a nosh.
via: ShutterstockA lot of times, people in groups will have food available but feel awkward about actually eating. That means you will convey a crazy amount of confidence when you crab a slice of 'za and start eating.
13. Suss out the stalkers with a yawn.
via: ShutterstockIf you see someone yawn, you will yawn. Sorry. That's just biology. So if you're getting the sense that someone cross the room is makin' eyes at you, go ahead and yawn. If they yawn back, you know who they've been looking at. And that means you've got the advantage.
14. Turn a word into a Pavlovian bell.
via: ShutterstockWant to know if the person you're talking to likes you? Choose one word they say sometimes and smile/nod each time it comes out their mouth. If they like you, they'll start saying it a lot more. If they don't, they might avoid the word altogether. But at least you'll know!
15. Best anyone at Rock, Paper, Scissors.
via: ShutterstockWe've all done this — you blow a job interview so completely that your only chance is to ask the hiring manager if they'll put the job on the line in a Paper, Rock, Scissors match. The stakes are high — you've been unemployed for months. If you really need to win, ask them a random question right before you start like, say, "have you ever eaten a mango whole? And why?" Psychologically, confused people are most likely to throw Scissors.
16. Paraphrase your heart out.If you want someone to think you're listening, first of all, actually listen. But if you've got that down, paraphrase what they've just said. That is tangible proof that you are paying attention.
17. Cancel any appointments for Mondays and Fridays.
via: ShutterstockIf you have a job interview, make sure it happens on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. On Mondays, everyone's mad just because it's Monday. On Fridays, everyone's thinking about the weekend. During the middle of the week? You're everyone's favorite.
18. Choose your colors wisely.
via: ShutterstockYour suit color is sending a message, so pick wisely. Navy is warm and trustworthy. Gray is classy and dependable. Black is upscale and classy. So wear Navy if you're interviewing for a teaching job, gray if you're interviewing for a security job, and black if you're interviewing to be a sexy international super-spy.
19. At most, smirk.
via: ShutterstockPsychologically, people tend to think those who smile too big are not serious people. So again, maybe that's what you're going for! If you're applying to be a clown at a child's party, smile big, But if you're trying to manage an international corporation's investment portfolio, maybe tamp it down there smiley.
20. Decide what high-brow thing you're going to do in the waiting room.
via: ShutterstockYou're being judged at all times while you're on location for a job interview. Whether they want to or not, hiring managers will take what you're doing in the waiting room into account when they're forming a mental picture of you. So why not read a book out there? Look dignified, for chrissakes.
21. Think about the last time you were super powerful.
via: ShutterstockAn experiment saw two groups go on mock interviews — one group who pictured the last time they were completely empowered and one group who pictured a time when they were utterly defeated. The first group, who envisioned moments when they were all-powerful, were much more likely to be chosen by hiring managers. So think about that time you bullied a kid and stole his lunch money. It was a bad thing to do and don't do it again, but it will get you a job.
22. Sit close.The Construal Level Theory tells us that the close we are to something, we're more likely to be specific in our thinking. And since you want to be specific when you're selling your qualities to someone, sitting close will make you more likely to label those specifics (as opposed to talking about your general skills, like being a "hard worker" or "team player").
23. Think about your hands.
via: ShutterstockNot to get you in your head, but what your hands are doing in a conversation conveys a lot of information. So here are the two things to try: steepling your fingers (which conveys confidence) or showing your palms (which suggests you're genuine).
24. Animate your speaking.“Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior" author Leonard Mlodinow suggests that psychologically, people are more likely to believe that quicker speakers who talk loudly and expressively are clever and smart. So give talking with your hands a try.
25. Carefully reveal one (1) flaw.Studies have shown that people actually feel more warmth towards someone when they make a simple mistake. Use that to your advantage by actually answering the "what's your greatest weakness?" question. not only will you stand out by not saying that is secretly a strength like everyone else ("Sometimes I'm too hard a worker."), you'll earn some affection from the question-asker.
26. Compliment everyone.
via: ShutterstockObviously, people like to be complimented, so yes, tell whoever you're talking to that their shoes are working for you. But also? Research indicates that speaking positively of a third party makes you look confident. And that makes sense if you think about it in reverse — don't people seem super not confident when they trash other people?
27. Tell one (1) secret.
via: ShutterstockYou build rapport and strengthen your relationship with people when you show them you trust them enough to hand off a secret. So think of one secret you can drop before meeting whoever it is you're trying to impress (the fact that your first kiss with your wife kinda sucked is usually a good one).
28. If you made someone mad, sit next to them.
via: ShutterstockTurns out, we can't turn to people next to us and chew them out. The positioning is too awkward. The trick, then, is to scootch up next to anyone you feel might be ready to blow their top at you — it'll keep help keep their anger in check.
29. Put a mirror behind a counter.If you have customers coming up to your counter, putting a mirror behind you will give them a chance to see themselves — to really see themselves — before they act like Karen-like (i.e. yelling at you for things that aren't your fault).
30. Don't talk after the pitch.This is a tip for the salesmen amongst us, but once you've bantered a bit and have made your pitch, shut up. Confidently stating what you are asking someone to do makes it clear that the ball is in their court, and if they can't come up with an excuse not to buy, they'll buy.
31. Plan something cool for Wednesday.If you're coming across as sad and schlumpy during the early part of the week, you can change that for yourself. See, Mondays are bad, and we're already looking forward to the weekend. But putting something cool on your calendar for Wednesdays means you always have something to look forward to. For me, that great Wednesday thing is watching AEW Dynamite, because pro wrestling is awesome.
32. Go big, and then go home.A lot of us know that, to get someone to do you a big favor, you ask them to do a little favor first. But this can work in reverse too. if you ask someone to do you a big favor ("Can you please make my mortgage payment?"), they'll feel so bad about turning down that request that they'll jump at your next request ("Can I borrow 20 bucks to go to TGI Friday's for lunch?")
33. Pay attention after the joke.In group settings, when everyone laughs, people will often look first at the person they like the most. This will give you interesting insight as to who in your friend group is feelin' who.
34. Kill the joke. Rip and tear, until it is done.Redditor pamaci explains this hack perfectly: You know how a joke ceases to be funny when you have to repeat it? Use that to your benefit. If that asshole in the group is making jokes at your expense, act like you can't hear him and ask him to repeat it like three times. By the time he says it a third or fourth time, no one's laughing.
35. Charismatic leaders, listen up.Who knows if this is actually the case, but Redditor V171 claims to be a psychology research assistant, and he says that people are more likely to listen to a charismatic leader if said leader reminds them of their death. Could that just be because it takes a ton of confidence to remind people of death, which is objectively the most uncomfortable topic? Could be!
36. Use this tip because it works.When asking for something you want, use the word "because" in your ask. See, the word "because" has a powerful psychological effect — it forces the brain to believe that there is a reason for the request.
37. If this one works, it's a game-changer.I'll again turn to a Redditor, this time scottymac23, to explain what to do in this specific office situation: If you and a co-worker are slacking off and your supervisor comes up and starts saying "what the hell are you doing?" or blaming your group for something, just look at one of your co-workers and don't make eye contact with your boss. Your co-worker will likely be looking at your boss and when your boss sees you looking at the coworker the anger will be directed at them and not you. It works almost every time. A guy I worked with used to be the laziest and always started screwing around but never got in trouble. He told me his secret and I have used it successfully ever since.
38. "Hey guys! One (1) drink is on me!"This is a great bar hack to get one over on your friends from Redditor hollis10 Always buy the first pitcher. You'd be surprised how long you can drink on the phrase "I bought the first one".
39. Ask a person for help. Don't ask people for help.The Bystander Effect is a psychological finding suggesting that, when help is thrown out to a large group of people, no one will respond. But asking individuals? Well, that makes the help much harder to refuse. So don't ask your entire office if anyone can lend you a hand moving this weekend — ask just Ted in Accounting. (Plus, Ted just likes to be made to feel special.)
40. Get up-to-date on sports and current events.You're not going to jump right into it on first dates or interviews — you've got to do a little small talk first. So make sure you've got a little warm-up routine ready to go. Having will make whoever you're trying to impress more likely to be impressed when you shift to the bigger topics.
41. Give them validation.
42. To better understand a group of friends, pay attention when they laugh.
via: GettyWhen a group of people laugh together, each person instinctively glances at the person within the group they feel most connected with. Want to know who is secretly sleeping together, or who is on the top or bottom of the social hierarchy? Check out where everyone glances next time something hilarious happens.