Everyone wants to be liked. Being part of a group and finding acceptance is a basic need, an evolutionary byproduct of evolving in a pack hierarchy. And although today we realize that basing our decisions and lifestyles on the opinions of others is a loss leader, it still pays to be liked … if it’s for the right reasons.
There are, luckily, quite a few good reasons to try and ensure others like you. Being liked helps you work better in groups, helps you advance in your career, makes you happier, and makes you more confident and likely to speak up, which can substantially benefit your company.
Given these benefits, why wouldn’t you want to do everything you can to make friends and influence people? Here are 10 tricks that will help you get there.
#1 Take Responsibility
No one likes a coworker who doesn’t take responsibility. According to MindTools, this might include behaviors such as:
- Lacking interest in work
- Avoiding risks and challenges
- Missing deadlines
- Blaming others for failures
- Demonstrating lack of trust
… and more. No one likes these traits, and chronic inability to take responsibility is likely to get you reprimanded or even fired. On the flip side, taking responsibility (even when it’s unpleasant) can earn you a lot of respect and make you a lot of friends.
#2 Don’t Gossip
Sure, in the short term this might be a bit of a buzz kill to your coworkers, and you miss out on a cheap bonding opportunity. But in the long run, people will know that you don’t gossip at all, which means they’ll trust you. And when people can trust you, they often like you simply for that fact. Steer clear of gossip for an easy win.
#3 Be Needlessly Thoughtful
Thoughtfulness is much appreciated on birthdays, when people are celebrating important dates or when they’re going through a hard time. But being thoughtful when you don’t even need to be is, perhaps counterintuitively, even more appreciated. It means you’re thinking of someone even when you don’t have to be.
There are multitudes of ways to be thoughtful to someone else. Bring a girlfriend a hat you don’t wear anymore but think she might like. Bring a fellow guy an object to add to a collection. Offer a nice bottle of wine to someone about to go on a trip. It doesn’t really matter what the gift is as long as it shows you know them and care about them.
#4 Introduce People
Introductions are currency in the business world. If you want to make meaningful friendships and cause people to like you – subordinates, peers and superiors alike – then helping others get connected is one of the best things you can do.
The good thing is that being generally well liked will get you invited along to lunches, conferences and other events that earn you introductions. You can add these people to your network, and they become potential connections you can offer others, which will make you even better liked. It becomes a virtuous circle with you at the center, reaping the rewards of affection and ever-increasing and valuable network connections.
#5 Never Miss a Deadline
Deadlines are important. They communicate to clients, customers, coworkers and employers that you care about your work and you respect them and their time. When you miss deadlines, you inconvenience others and set the whole company back. Plus, points out Fast Company, you help instill a culture of lateness, lukewarm commitment, and deemphasizing the importance of projects and goals. None of these are good.
If you want people to like you, you should not only treat their time and expectations as meaningful, but be a leader others can follow when it comes to punctuality and conscientiousness.
#6 Be Honest About Your Limitations
Limitations. Flaws. Foibles. We’ve all got them. The biggest foible of all, however, is not being able to recognize what you’re not good at. No one will like you for being blind to your greatest faults, so accept your limitations and be honest about them with others.
That doesn’t mean you can simply raise your hand and opt out of any project or task that doesn’t appeal to you. It does mean you should feel free to share when you have questions, need help, would like to partner with someone or just want to check in along the way with a boss or mentor.
#7 Volunteer for a Sucky Chore
You know what no one wants to do? That One Thing No One Wants To Do, that’s what. Every office/retail store/newspaper/whatever has chores that everyone would avoid if they could. If you want to earn a whole lot of appreciation all at once, pick up that chore without complaint or fanfare and just get it done. You may find that knowing others will thank you makes it feel less onerous than it otherwise would, and you’ll likely reap the benefits down the road as well.
Just be warned: If you don’t get a thank you or a warm welcoming from your selfless act, it’s not your job to keep doing it (unless it’s actually your job, of course). If no one appreciates the act, you can feel free to stop.
#8 Be Inclusive … Always
Inclusivity is too rare in this world, especially in the office, which can sometimes function as a snake pit. You don’t have to play that game, though. Whenever you go for lunch or coffee, make it clear that anyone who wants to come is invited. If you like someone enough to want an exclusive coffee date with them (romantic or platonic), you should do that on your own time.
#9 Remember Names
While it seems like such a small thing, hearing your name out of someone else’s lips means a surprising amount. When someone remembers your name, you feel important and noticed, which is something we all like. Doing the same for others will automatically endear you to them, so whenever possible, try to remember and use others’ names.
That doesn’t mean names are always easy to remember, though. Sometimes, despite our best efforts, they’re gone seconds after we hear them. If you find you have trouble retaining them, try these tricks suggested by Forbes.
#10 Teach and Mentor
Let’s face it: Work is hard. We don’t always know what we need to know, or even how to figure it out. Think about the last time you felt like you were in over your head at work … how much would you have appreciated a friend stepping in and offering free help, advice, training or just the answer to your problem? We’re guessing a lot. If you can be that person, people are bound to like and appreciate you.
Work isn’t a popularity contest, but being well liked never hurt anyone. Having the respect and affection of others means you’re more likely to become a leader, see more interesting projects and opportunities, get raises and enjoy your work. We’re not seeing a downside to giving these tips a try … are you?