Friday, May 27, 2016

Things that Make You Less Likable

Silly things you do that make you less likeable, another article for LinkedIn by Travis Bradberry. Being liked is under your control, and it’s a matter of emotional intelligence. In a study over 500 descriptions were rated based on their perceived significance to likeability. The highest rated had nothing to do with innate characteristics like intelligence, attractiveness, or being outgoing. Instead the top-rated descriptors were sincerity, transparency, and capable of understanding others. People who possess these skills aren’t just highly likeable – they outperform those who don’t by a wide margin.

Another study showed managers were willing to accept an auditor’s argument with no supporting evidence - if the auditor was likeable. A third study found that just one in 2000 unlikeable leaders were considered effective.

Key behaviors that hold people back:

1. Humble-bragging: the guy who makes fun of himself for being a nerd when he really wants to draw attention to the fact that he’s smart, or the girl who makes fun of her strict diet when she really wants you to know how healthy and fit she is. Many people think the self-depreciation masks their bragging, but most see right through it. This makes the bragging all the more frustrating because it’s more than bragging – it’s also an attempt to deceive.  

2. Being too serious: people gravitate to those who are passionate. It’s easy for passionate people to come across as too serious or uninterested because they tend to get absorbed in their work. Likeable people balance their passion for work with their ability to have fun. At work they are serious yet friendly. They still get things done because they are socially effective in short amounts of time, and they capitalize on valuable social moments. They focus on having meaningful interactions with coworkers, remembering what people said to them yesterday or last week, which shows people they are just as important to them as their work is.

3. Not asking enough questions: the biggest mistake people make in conversation is being so focused on what they’re going to say next, or how what the other person is saying is going to affect them, that they fail to hear what’s being said (ME: a HUGE pet peeve of mine). The words come through loud and clear but the meaning is lost. A simple way to avoid this is to ask a lot of questions. People like to know that you are listening, and something as simple as a clarification question shows that not only are you listening but that you care about what they are saying. You’ll be surprised how much respect and appreciation you gain just by asking questions. ME: not that I’m perfect at this, but listening is an area that so many people around me are bad at.

4. Emotional hijackings: Happens a lot: people screaming, throwing things, making people cry, and other signs. This demonstrates low intelligence. When you show that level of instability, people will question whether you’re trustworthy and capable of keeping it together when it counts. Exploding at anyone, regardless of how much they may “deserve” it turns a huge amount of negative attention your way. You’ll be labeled as unstable, unapproachable, and intimidating. Controlling you emotions keeps you in the driver’s seat. When you are able to control your emotions around someone who wrongs you, they end up looking bad instead of you.

5. Whipping out your phone: nothing turns someone off to you like a mid-conversation text message or even a quick glance at your phone. When you commit to a conversation, focus all of your energy on it. This makes them more enjoyable and effective.

6. Name-dropping: it’s great to know how important and interesting people are, but using every conversation (and Facebook post) as an opportunity to name-drop is pretentious and silly. People see right through it. Instead of make you look more interesting, it makes people feel as though you are insecure and overly concerned with having them like you. It also cheapens what you have to offer. When you connect everything you know with WHO you know (instead of what you know or what you think), conversations will lose their color.

People are adverse to those who are desperate for attention. Simply being friendly and considerate is all you need to win people over (ME: some people seem always out to be heard or have their way, perhaps because there are so few times they get to be heard or have their way). When you speak in a friendly, confident, and CONCISE manner, people are much more attentive and persuadable than if you try to show them that you’re important. People catch on to your attitude quickly and are more attracted to the right attitude than what you know.

7. Gossiping: people make themselves look terrible when they get carried away with gossip. Wallowing in talk of other’s misdeeds or misfortunes may end up hurting their feelings if the gossip ever finds its way to them, but gossiping is guaranteed to make you look negative and spiteful every time.

8. Having a closed mind: If you want to be liked you must be open-minded, which makes you approachable and interesting to others. No one wants to have a conversation with someone who has already formed an opinion and is unwilling to listen. Having an open mind is crucial in the workplace, where approachability means access to new ideas and help. You need to see the world through the eyes of others to eliminate preconceived notions and judgment. This doesn’t mean you have to believe what they believe or condone their behavior (which is happening way far too often in our country today by people on both sides of the issues). It simply means you should quit passing judgment and truly understand where they are coming from (let God be the judge).

9. Sharing too much too early: while getting to know people requires a healthy amount of sharing, be careful to not share too much right off the bat. Avoid sharing personal problems and confessions too quickly. Likeable people let the other person guide them as to when it’s the right time for them to open up. Over-sharing comes across as self-obsessed and insensitive to the balance of the conversation. If you are getting into the nitty-gritty of your life without learning about the other person first, you send the message that you see them as nothing more than a sounding board for your problems.

10. Sharing too much on social media: studies show that people who over-share on social media do so because they crave acceptance – but this over-sharing works against them by making people dislike them. Sharing on social media can be an important mode of self-expression, but it needs to be done thoughtfully and with self-control. Letting everyone know what you had for breakfast, lunch, and dinner along with how many times you walked your dog today will do much more harm than good when it comes to likeability.

Recap: when you become more aware of how your words and actions are received by others, you pave the way to becoming more likeable.

ME: I make a point to re-type these articles in order for me to greater internalize the points they are making. I may not re-type word for word but instead only copy the main content, sometimes “editing” and rearranging to make it sound more like me. On some articles, like this one, I still closer to the script – perhaps in an effort to better grasp the material.  

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