Last Updated on February 23, 2024 by Angela Vaz

When I was younger, my parents often told me to be honest.

They said no matter what happens, honesty is always underrated.

Whenever I slipped up or made a mistake – I was honest with my parents. I never got grounded, and I was never punished.

My parents would sit me down and talk to me – they’d explain what I was doing wrong and how I would inevitably bear the consequences of those choices.

So, honesty was ingrained into me.

It worked as a pro and a con.

When someone messed up in a school project – I’d be honest and tell them how they screwed up.

If I got bored by someone – I’d tell them straight up.

And, of course, I had zero friends.

Surprise, surprise.

People found me self-righteous, bitchy, and full of arrogance.

As I hit my teens – something changed.

I realized that being likable didn’t necessarily mean trying to blend in.

It means being kind above all else – and being understanding.

These are 2 very underrated qualities that still impress almost anyone.

I started listening more, reserving my judgments, and making friends.

Some of them weren’t great friends, but with time, I was able to realize that and draw better boundaries.

But the turning point was being kind and accepting.

Of course, there is a lot more that goes into being likable.

I now have friends I love hanging out with – I have friends I can talk to on the phone.

I’m still in touch with my college friends who now live in other countries.

I’m close with my partner’s guy friends, and we play board games every week. We do each other small favors like picking up groceries or bringing savory foods from foreign countries to each other – overall, these are bonds I cherish.

And in this post, I want to talk to you about how you can become more approachable and more likable.

Let’s get into it!

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Why do people shun you when you’re different?

why do people shun away people who are different

Individuality is essential.

But why is it that when we’re different (physically or mentally) are we judged or mocked?

The answer is very primal and evolutionary.

Back in the olden days – anything new was treated as a threat.

When we saw something different or unusual, we were trained to keep away from it until we understood it better.

This was key for our survival.

That’s why we avoided snakes, suspicious berries or other tribes of people who may or may not eat us.

This has seeped into our sub-conscious.

The more we’re indoctrinated with similar-looking trends – the more acceptable they become.

But throw something super unique at us, and we’ll become suspicious, scared or worse… angry.

That’s why it’s so important to realize that when people are mean, they’re simply resolving to behave primal.

People who are attracted to unique people are a little more broad-minded. They are people who may have also suffered some sort of bullying as a child, and therefore, they are more kind and understanding.

The right people will recognize you for what you truly are.

You need to believe this.

7 Simple Ways to Be More Likeable

1. Be a good listener

be a good listener

If you’re one of those people who is always waiting for a chance to talk about yourself and tell your story – this one is for you.

Being talkative is super cute and admirable.

But at the same time, communication is a two-way street.

It involves listening.

And when I say listening – I mean active listening:

  • Maintaining eye-contact
  • Saying you understand or adding little notes when you agree
  • Asking gentle questions to show you care about the listener

You empathize with your sweet friends and agree with what they’re saying.

Most people want to be heard.

They want to talk without being judged.

But they don’t get the chance to because they’re so scared of what people will say.

This is why being a good listener is a rare quality.

Listening without judgment is by far one of the best things you can do to make people feel at home.

The next time someone unloads something on you, listen – don’t add your thoughts or advice, just listen.

And note how relieved they feel after they’ve spoken to you.

2. Ask them what they love doing

Some people treat other people with respect based on their careers.

They feel that a person’s work is directly related to the respect they deserve.

Don’t be that person.


It doesn’t matter if the person you are talking to is a waitress or a CEO – what matters is whether they enjoy their life and what they do.

So, instead of asking, “What do you do?” as a conversation starter, ask, “What do you do for fun?”

This question throws most people off because they’re expecting to talk about their job, but I always spin this question and love catching that look of relief and joy.

I’ve found that people love answering this – and sometimes, if they’re lucky, they do what they love for a living.

I’ve seen people’s eyes light up as they talk about their plants or their love for board games or their last trip to Europe.

Again, listen and then ask further questions to show that you’re keen on listening to them talk about their hobbies.

People love talking about their passions, so show them you’re keen.

3. Say their names often

It’s such a simple thing, but it’s honestly so refreshing to hear people say my name and say it right.

I live in India, so “Angela” is quite hard to pronounce for most people.

And when someone uses my name or it liberally, I instantly like them.

I feel happy knowing someone has taken that 2 extra seconds to say my name right.

It feels nice, it feels personal.

So, take that extra 2 seconds to learn a person’s name, and if you forget it, gently ask them to remind you.

It’s alright if you have to ask them their name again – it simply shows you’re eager to learn something about them, and that’s a nice quality!

4. Look for something common

Do you know why people like memes?

Or why do people gravitate toward specific photos/jokes?

Because it’s relatable.

When you find something you have in common with someone, you instantly feel a little connected with them.

For instance, I was talking to someone I’d just met for the first time, and they told me that they only visit Mangalore ( a little city in India) for the fish curry.

And I instantly chimed in, saying, “Me too! I love the fish curry there so, so much! I even have a recipe. Would you like me to send it to you?”

For the next 15 minutes, we bonded over food.

It was such a glorious conversation – and I have done this repeatedly.

Find some common ground.

  • If it’s movies, ask them what kind of movies they like – then talk about a film you both loved.
  • If it’s video games, ask them what kind they like – and then go gaga over a single one.
  • If it’s books, ask them if they have read anything interesting lately – and discuss the idea the book talked about.

This also means that you’ll have to improve your skills by becoming more knowledgeable about the world around you, making you more attractive.

When you can contribute a little to lots of conversations – you become likable because you are now relatable.

People love it, so try it!

5. Keep an open mind

keep an open mind

Everyone’s thinking is different.

And when you speak, remember to be open-minded.

You’re more than welcome to state your opinion, but do not ever push it down people’s throats – that is going to make you highly dislikable.

I have 2 girlfriends who are both vegan. They never order meat or anything related to animals – and I love them both.

I was a pretty heavy meat eater when I met them – but neither of them told me that I was wrong for eating meat, nor did they condemn my choices.

Instead, they got me to try different vegan recipes, and I slowly gravitated toward that.

I’ve now completely cut off red meat from my diet, and I do not buy certain meat products knowing how they are actually made.

I eat eggs and fish, but for the most part, my habits have changed.

I adore mushrooms, and I adore chickpeas – I learned to fall in love with new food and I’m so grateful to both of them for being so lovely.

It changed with love and kindness.

So, if you want to influence a certain behavior, don’t force it on anyone. Instead, be kind.

Be accepting.

Understand that we all come from different backgrounds and we all have unique stories, so there is no 1-size-fits-all.

6. Be genuine

Literally, every single one of my guy friends loves to run – including my partner.

As much as I love hanging out with them, running is just not one of my strengths.

I feel like I will die if I do it – and I’d much rather do strength training or long walks to help build my stamina.

But the younger me would have tried to run just to fit in.

  • You don’t need to be good at everything to be likable.
  • You don’t need to be with people 24/7.
  • It’s okay to be alone sometimes; it’s OK to have weaknesses.
  • Be genuine.

Know what you’re good at, and bloody own it.

It’s completely okay!

When you’re confident about your strengths and your weaknesses – you show people that you’re not insecure.

You show people a certain kind of confidence – that’s extremely attractive.

And remember, whenever you need help with something – don’t be afraid to ask.

This sort of mild vulnerability with close friends and family is actually quite cute and attractive.

7. Don’t be a yes-man

I need you to understand that having your views about something is okay.

You needn’t nod along and say you agree with everything someone says.

Feel free to disagree but be polite.

Say something like, “Thank you for stating your point, but I agree to disagree.” And then gently tell them why.

Healthy debates are refreshing.

I was recently introduced to a friend’s girlfriend and when she told me quite confidently that Smoking doesn’t cause cancer – I nearly lost my nerve.

But I bit my tongue and I asked her to explain her research very politely.

It wasn’t easy for me to do.

After she told me that she had none, I gently told her I was sorry, but I disagreed with her statement.

I then told her that I had a mom who died from it and I have actually studied quite a bit on the subject. I told her there is significant research on how smoking actually causes cancer.

It was a healthy debate.

There was no arguing and no fighting.

Both of us stated our opinions and had a healthy, adult discussion.

It was nice.

It’s easy to get defensive or enraged when someone says something that goes against what you believe.

But choose the harder route – stay calm and get all the information from them before you jump to conclusions

See where they’re coming from – try to understand their perspective completely.

And only then – explain your points.

Remember, the idea isn’t to convert everybody to your beliefs – but to spark ideas for new thinking.

This is how you make little ripples that cause change.

This is how you gain respect.

Bonus: Be happy for people

This is 1 tip that has helped me make so many genuine friends – so I saved the best for last.

I don’t use social media personally much since my art and writing require a lot of social media.

But every time I open my Instagram, I comment something encouraging, positive, and kind on people’s posts.

I say things like, “I love this; it reminds me of _______ and I love how you’ve drawn this!” or “What a thoughtful and lovely thing you’ve written, I resonate with this so much because _______”

I try to start conversations but I also am genuinely happy when others succeed.

I share my friend’s startups on my page, I tag people and tell them to join a good cause – I’m constantly sharing stuff to help people be seen.

And this, my dear friend, is the best way to make friends.

We all want friends who are supportive and who push us off the ground.

So, be that friend.

Be that person who is mercilessly kind and supportive – encourage the bejeezus out of them and watch how they melt and take you in.

Now, of course, there is so much more you can do to become a people person – but this article is long enough, so I’ll elaborate more on this soon.

In the meantime, join my newsletter so that you can become the best version of yourself!

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Angela is a 31 year old Illustrator and Blogger living with her 2 adorable labradors in Bangalore, India. She has a degree in Psychology and Human Relationships from the University of Toronto. When she's not writing her heart out or drawing, you'll find her sipping chai and reading non-fiction books.

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