Four Key Steps to Becoming a Well-Liked Person

For those of us who didn’t have the time of our lives in high school, words like “popular” can bring up less than positive images. Maybe we see the basketball team captain striding down the hallway to meet his sizzling hot girlfriend and feeling invisible on the sidelines or the guy we always wanted to date going out with the girl who wears all the right clothes and listens to all the cool music. But popular doesn’t have to be a bad thing: there are a number of ways to be a more respected and well-loved person that create win-win situations for everyone. Here’s a guide.

The Fundamentals Of Caring

One of the primary things that popular individuals do more than others is care about those around them. Even if it’s only doing a small favor now and then or asking how someone’s day was, well-liked people do care. They listen when someone talks to them and give you all their attention, even if it’s just for a short while during a busy day.

A popular person who is valued by others knows that they can’t fix all the problems of the world, but they also know that sometimes a shoulder to cry on or a little bit of help is all someone needs to make a lousy day turn around.¹

Dates Matter

One of the small details that can make someone well-liked is remembering dates like birthdays, anniversaries, work events and even the anniversary of a friend’s loved one’s death. Sometimes just discreetly noting this down can help you remember and it truly can improve someone’s day and raise their estimation of you to have you mention happy birthday or “thinking of Steve today, man” when you see them around the office or out for drinks.

There is nothing like showing you care quite like details such as dates and any other things like keeping in mind the music, interests and hobbies of your friends and colleagues. When you show you care about what people are into they start to care about you too and respond positively to you.²

Don’t Be A Negative Nancy

There are times for everyone when the day is a slimy puddle of disappointments and bad luck, even someone who is popular, positive and well-liked. What will set you apart is to avoid the temptation to be a negative Nancy (no offense to Nancy, whoever she might be). It’s fine to admit your day is going poorly or even share one or two brief comments on bad traffic or a problem that occurred to you, but resist the desire to go in depth or into despair about your life problems, especially more serious problems. The truth is that everyone is struggling in various ways, often ways you may not even be aware of. They don’t want even more on their plate. Help lighten the burden instead of adding to it: people will love you for it.³

Lighten Up

As part of being a Positive Polly or Peter, try out a joke now and then. Humor can help lighten up even the sourest person’s day. Whether it’s just a passing comment about the new recycling regulations or an e-mail with funny, harmless memes, you can be that guy or gal who gets friends, family and coworkers chuckling. Try to keep your humor inoffensive and non-controversial, however, and also resist the urge to bombard people with jokes or email chains day and night: that’s one way to go overboard. Still, keep in mind that there’s no law against joking or making a funny, lighthearted comment. Plus, it’s kind of fun to watch someone smile who rarely does, you should try it – if you dare.¹