Socializing is something that comes more naturally to some than it does to others. Some people seem to glide around social circles effortlessly, whilst others struggle to find their feet among groups that they spend time with. This leaves some people wondering how they can get people to like them. Really, a better way of putting this is how to be liked. Socializing isn’t a game of trying to get everybody to be your best friend. Rather it is a process of self expression, that is best understood by being yourself.
Those who struggle a lot with socializing often do so because they over-think it as some sort of competition. Whilst socializing can be said to have some sort of competitive basis from an evolutionary perspective, it holds little relevance to how we should form our relations today. A much healthier approach is to aim to express yourself as truly as possible. Genuine friendship will form when people appreciate you for who you are. Without expressing who you are it will be more difficult to see that people like you.
In a group situation it is often the case that we find ourselves wanting to play up to the most loud or confident persona. We think this is a fast-track to being liked; to gain the admiration of one of the key members. This behavior can best be viewed as an attempt to snuggle up to the top-dog of a social circle, and whilst it may give superficial results, it will not forge lasting friendships. In a group that has managed to form friendships it is often the case that quieter members, and those that might be a little “unusual” become accepted and appreciated just as much as the loud and confident people, so long as they are reasonably self-assured.
Try to be as expressive as you feel. Show people character traits, values, and opinions that are yours. Do not become part of a stagnant social system; break the mold and show people what you are all about. This does not equate to being obnoxious and not having any respect for others, it just means having respect for yourself enough to be able express your individuality. The aim is not to get everyone to like you. It is to get everyone to know you. When people know you then you can be sure that you are liked for who you are, not who someone wants you to be.
The value of being yourself cannot be overstated enough in the quest to be liked. When you are self-assured enough to bring something of your own personality to the table then you will reap the benefits of true relationships with others. Living in any of the many falsities of socializing leads to hollow relations forged on the fear of not being liked. Be yourself, love yourself, love others, be loved.
Always bring your true self to the table. That is 99% of the law. There are however a few positive mannerisms that can be cultivated in order to improve relationships with others across the board. These are not tactics, or ways to manipulate people into liking you. Rather, by genuinely having respect and being kind and comfortable towards others, we become easier and more enjoyable to be around.
- Be generous. Always be willing and happy to share and to give, but also to take. Social interaction can be solidified with the simplest of gestures, whether it be a hot beverage, a beer, or a bit of food. It builds trust when we share. This does not mean trying to buy love, or being walked all over by those who would never return the favor. Share with those who would help you out, so that your relationships are not one sided.
- Be a good listener. Everyone needs someone to talk to. It doesn’t have to be a big issue, or a dilemma, and sometimes it can just be for the joy of conversation. We like to speak to the people we love, and we like it even more when we know they are listening. Listening is a skill, and just as valuable as talking. Learn to really listen, not just to the words, but to the whole communication, and respond to the needs of the people around you.
- Be open. Being a good listener is a part of being open; being open enough to take on other people’s perspectives and emotions. It is also important to share our own thoughts and feelings with others too. Opening up, and being honest about our humanity, is one of the golden dawns of friendship. When openness and honesty and a part of your character people will know they can speak with you, and share themselves intimately.
- Be trustworthy. Some facets of trust are obvious moral ideals. Never steal from friends for example. Cultivate trust, and never betray friends. This includes learning to be honest and pay back money they have lent, return favors, not stabbing them in the back for some gossip or for sex. When you can trust yourself, others will trust you, and when they trust you they will be able to let you in on a deeper level.
- Teach people something. Have knowledge? A skill? Play a musical instrument? Teach someone something. If someone wants to learn something that you are capable of teaching them, then let them know you would enjoy that very much. One of the primary functions of socializing is to learn from one another, and it can still be one of the biggest bonding experiences now.
- Be yourself. I told you it couldn’t be overstated!