As humans, we use social interaction as a tool for feedback, and we make a lot of conscious and subconscious choices based on how others engage with and respond to us. When someone offers a huge grin brimming with authenticity, happiness rubs off on its receivers. There have been many studies showing how mood, whether positive or negative, spreads between individuals.
If your positive attitude brightens someone else's day, that person will love you for it. It's probably a no-brainer that people will like you more if you listen to them. This starts with ignoring your Twitter feed while out to dinner with friends, but goes a lot further than that. You can show you're listening to someone through body language positioning your body to face someone and mirroring his or her stance , eye contact giving plenty of it , and verbal confirmation we'll talk more about this next.
Most psychology books refer to this technique as "active listening. For example:. While in text form this looks like a strange conversation, in speech this kind of dialogue can actually go a long way to make people like you more. It makes the other individual feel as though you really are paying attention.
Plus, people love to hear their own words echoed back at them as it pats their egos a bit. We've already discussed how important it is to show people that you're listening to them. Snoring during a speech or getting a glazed look in your eyes doesn't result in fast friends.
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To really show someone you've been paying attention, try bringing up a topic that the person mentioned earlier. Did your co-worker talk about working with his son on a science fair project last week? Follow up and ask how it went. Did your friend say she was going to paint her kitchen a new color over the weekend? Ask how she likes the new color on Monday.
They don't have to be big, life-changing events. In fact, sometimes it says more that you can recall and show interest in even the small happenings in another person's life. As noted again by the famous self-improvement expert Dale Carnegie, individuals crave authentic appreciation. This is very different from empty flattery, which most people are adept at detecting. No one likes a brown-nose, and most people don't particularly love being pandered to.
What people really want is sincere appreciation--to be recognized and appreciated for their efforts. In addition to giving people sincere appreciation, it's also important to be generous with your praise. People love being praised, and is it any surprise?
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It feels great to be told you've performed a job well. When an individual does something right, say so. It won't be forgotten.
- 1. Copy the person you're with.
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In the same vein, while you want to be generous with your praise, be stingy with your criticism. People have delicate egos, and even a slight word of condemnation can wound someone's pride. Of course correction will be necessary at times, but it should always have a purpose and be handled with care.
If someone makes an error, don't call that person out in front of a group. Be discreet, be delicate. Consider offering up a compliment sandwich--a deliciously effective strategy that involves dishing out praise before and after a criticism. That newsletter template you sent over looks great, good work. So it looks like there were a few numerical errors in that recent report you sent over--just be sure to double check those numbers.
I also wanted to tell you to keep up the great stuff you've been posting in Facebook--I've been seeing a big boost in engagement. Your goal should really be to get the other person to recognize the mistakes without you pointing them out. Even in the example above, you could simply say, "I saw a few numerical errors in that recent report you sent over," and wait for a response. If the individual responds apologetically and promises to try harder, you don't need to drive home the subject.
Tell them not to worry, that you're sure they'll get the hang of it, and move on. The less finger-pointing, the better. Another strategy for diplomatically dispensing corrections is to begin by discussing your own mistakes before digging into someone else's errors. Ultimately, aim to be always gentle with criticism and only offer it when it's truly needed.
No one enjoys being bossed around. So what do you do when you need something done? The truth is that you can get the same result from asking a question as you can by giving an order. In , New York University researchers documented the " chameleon effect ," which occurs when people unconsciously mimic each other's behavior. That mimicry facilitates liking. Researchers had 72 men and women work on a task with a partner. The partners who worked for the researchers either mimicked the other participant's behavior or didn't, while researchers videotaped the interactions.
At the end of the interaction, the researchers had participants indicate how much they liked their partners. Sure enough, participants were more likely to say that they liked their partner when their partner had been mimicking their behavior. According to the mere-exposure effect , people tend to like other people who are familiar to them. In one example of this phenomenon, psychologists at the University of Pittsburgh had four women pose as students in a university psychology class.
Each woman showed up in class a different number of times. When experimenters showed male students pictures of the four women, the men demonstrated a greater affinity for those women they'd seen more often in class — even though they hadn't interacted with any of them. People will associate the adjectives you use to describe other people with your personality.
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This phenomenon is called spontaneous trait transference. One study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that this effect occurred even when people knew certain traits didn't describe the people who had talked about them. According to Gretchen Rubin , author of the book "The Happiness Project," "whatever you say about other people influences how people see you.
If you describe someone else as genuine and kind, people will also associate you with those qualities. The reverse is also true: If you are constantly trashing people behind their backs, your friends will start to associate the negative qualities with you as well. Emotional contagion describes what happens when people are strongly influenced by the moods of other people.
According to a research paper from the Ohio University and the University of Hawaii, people can unconsciously feel the emotions of those around them. The authors of the paper say that's possibly because we naturally mimic others' movements and facial expressions, which in turn makes us feel something similar to what they're feeling.
If you want to make others feel happy when they're around you, do your best to communicate positive emotions. Princeton University psychologists and their colleagues proposed the stereotype content model , which is a theory that people judge others based on their warmth and competence.
According to the model, if you can portray yourself as warm — i. If you seem competent — for example, if you have high economic or educational status — they're more inclined to respect you. Harvard psychologist Amy Cuddy says it's important to demonstrate warmth first and then competence, especially in business settings. According to the pratfall effect , people will like you more after you make a mistake — but only if they believe you are a competent person.
Revealing that you aren't perfect makes you more relatable and vulnerable toward the people around you. Researcher Elliot Aronson at the University of Texas, Austin first discovered this phenomenon when he studied how simple mistakes can affect perceived attraction. He asked male students from the University of Minnesota to listen to tape recordings of people taking a quiz. When people did well on the quiz but spilled coffee at the end of the interview, the students rated them higher on likability than when they did well on the quiz and didn't spill coffee or didn't do well on the quiz and spilled coffee.
According to a classic study by Theodore Newcomb , people are more attracted to those who are similar to them. This is known as the similarity-attraction effect.
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In his experiment, Newcomb measured his subjects' attitudes on controversial topics, such as sex and politics, and then put them in a University of Michigan-owned house to live together. By the end of their stay, the subjects liked their housemates more when they had similar attitudes about the topics measured. Interestingly, a more recent study from researchers at the University of Virginia and Washington University in St. Louis found that Air Force recruits liked each other more when they had similar negative personality traits than when they shared positive ones.
Subliminal touching occurs when you touch a person so subtly that they barely notice. Common examples include tapping someone's back or touching their arm, which can make them feel more warmly toward you.
In a French study , young men stood on street corners and talked to women who walked by. The men had double the success rate in striking up a conversation when they lightly touched the woman's arms as they talked to them instead of doing nothing at all. A University of Mississippi and Rhodes College experiment studied the effects of interpersonal touch on restaurant tipping, and had some waitresses briefly touch customers on the hand or shoulder as they were returning their change.
As it turns out, those waitresses earned significantly larger tips than the ones who didn't touch their customers. In one University of Wyoming study , nearly undergraduate women looked at photos of another woman in one of four poses: smiling in an open-body position, smiling in a closed-body position, not smiling in an open-body position, or not smiling in a closed-body position.
Results suggested that the woman in the photo was liked most when she was smiling, regardless of her body position. More recently, researchers at Stanford University and the University of Duisburg-Essen found that students who interacted with each other through avatars felt more positively about the interaction when the avatar displayed a bigger smile.
2. Spend more time around the people you're hoping to befriend
Bonus: Another study suggested that smiling when you first meet someone helps ensure they'll remember you later. People want to be perceived in a way that aligns with their own beliefs about themselves. This phenomenon is described by self-verification theory. We all seek confirmations of our views, positive or negative. For a series of studies at Stanford University and the University of Arizona, participants with positive and negative perceptions of themselves were asked whether they wanted to interact with people who had positive or negative impressions of them.
The participants with positive self-views preferred people who thought highly of them, while those with negative self-views preferred critics. This could be because people like to interact with those who provide feedback consistent with their known identity. Other research suggests that when people's beliefs about us line up with our own, our relationship with them flows more smoothly. That's likely because we feel understood, which is an important component of intimacy. Self-disclosure may be one of the best relationship-building techniques. Experimenters provided some student pairs with a series of questions to ask, which got increasingly deep and personal.
For example, one of the intermediate questions was "How do you feel about your relationship with your mother? For example, one question was "What is your favorite holiday? At the end of the experiment, the students who'd asked increasingly personal questions reported feeling much closer to each other than students who'd engaged in small talk. You can try this technique on your own as you're getting to know someone.
For example, you can build up from asking easy questions like the last movie they saw to learning about the people who mean the most to them in life. When you share intimate information with another person, they are more likely to feel closer to you and want to confide in you in the future.