The “likeability” factor or “popularity” referred to in this
article isn’t about being part of the cool group. Or about not being authentic just
to “fit in the crowd”. It’s about making a true connection with people and not inadvertently
isolating yourself or making yourself “that person” that everyone tries to
avoid or secretly hopes doesn’t show up at the dinner party or to the office.
Everyone has bad days but if any of the below is something that you do daily –
do something to change it. Even if it means you need to go see a counsellor,
therapist or coach – don’t just shrug your shoulders and say: “Well, that’s me –
if you don’t like me then tough!”
Everyone needs a community to thrive (whether you like it or
#1 The Humble-Brag
Most people love to brag about themselves but have learnt it
isn’t acceptable to do so openly. Enter the humble-brag. But don’t be fooled
the humble-brag is just as annoying to folks as open-bragging – so, avoid,
avoid, avoid. What constitutes as a humble brag? A guy that makes fun of his
strict diet or sore arms; but what he actually is doing, is pointing out how
fit or healthy he is. Or a lady complaining how old she is – to draw attention
to the fact that she looks great for her age. These self-deprecating remarks
supposedly mask the bragging, but everyone sees straight through it. And it
makes you less likeable.
#2 Being Too Serious
This often manifests in the workplace but being too serious can also be an issue in people’s social lives. Most people will agree there is something magnetic about passionate people, but passion needs balance. If a passionate person is too serious and absorbed in their work, not making time to interact with colleagues or friends, they may appear disinterested and become very unpopular. A well-balanced and passionate person can be serious but still value social interactions with co-workers or friends. And will refer back to things that people mentioned weeks before – showing those people that they are just as important as work or the serious person’s passion.
#3 Not Truly Engaging or Asking Enough Questions
Unfortunately, plenty of people listen to answer and don’t
listen to truly hear the other person speaking to them out. People who don’t
truly listen or who take what a person is saying as a cue to tell their own
story (instead of listening) – truly make themselves unlikeable and unpopular.
To stop yourself from falling in this trap – ask loads of clarifying questions.
This assures the person you are listening, and it will keep your focus off
yourself (for once – just kidding). Asking questions and showing interest
garners bucket loads of respect. Especially if you follow up with this person
about the topic weeks later. #Browniepoints
Also, totes worth a mention under this section, is the big
no-no, the one-upper… “You think you’ve got it bad. I …”, “You think you had a
bad day. Don’t worry mine was worse…”, “I had an even worse experience…” etc. The
one-uppers not only frustrate people with their false empathy but make themselves
#4 Oooo Honey Those Tantrums
Acting out in anger – shouting at people, making them cry,
even snapping at people that might “deserve it” – will make you super unpopular
amongst friends, acquaintances, co-workers – you name it (except the fans of
Jerry Springer). Whether you do it verbally or via group written communication
(WhatsApp/Emails) people will label you “unstable”, “overly emotional”,
“intimidating” and “unapproachable”. When you are in control of your emotions even
when someone openly wrongs you, you get all the respect and victory; and the
other person comes off looking bad. But throw those temper tantrums (justified
or not) and you will find yourself #disliked.
#5 Phone Junkies
Nothing will make you more unpopular than if you constantly check your phone in the middle of a conversation. Even if it is a quick look – it clearly shows the person that you don’t find them or your convo with them important enough.
#6 Dropping Names Like Jagger
Knowing famous (and interesting) people is great. But don’t drop names in every conversation and like bragging and humble-bragging – people see right through it if you do. And unfortunately, instead of making you look powerful and cool, it makes you look insecure and a little bit desperate to get people’s approvals and attention. Just be friendly, confident and communicate in a concise manner and this will do way more for you than who you know.
Everyone falls in the trap of gossiping or “sharing” now and
then. But it is so off-putting when you wallow in people’s mistakes,
transgressions or disasters and gossip makes its “wearers” look negative, a little
insecure and nasty every time. Forget the damage it causes when the person
finds out. You keep that gossiping up and you will be labelled #disliked,
#unpopular and a #PersontoAvoid.
#8 Closed Mindedness
Nothing makes people more disliked than if they are
unwilling to listen to the opinions and beliefs of others. Having an open mind
doesn’t mean you compromise your beliefs; it means that you remain open to what
others have to say. This is particularly important in the workplace. Just
listen and respect people – you have way greater impact and influence on people
if you show that when they talk to you, it’s a judgement free zone.
#9 Oversharing Too Quickly
Being open and willing to share about yourself is very important when meeting new people. Oversharing too many personal details, stories, dramas and tragedies in the first 20 minutes of your convo, however, is a big no-no and a recipe for making people dislike and mistrust you. Likeable (aka. “popular” people) read-the-air and situation, and allows the person they chatting to, to set the tone of the convo. No matter how badly you want to share all about your tragic past, problems, disorders, a dysfunctional family or confess snippets from your dreadful life – don’t do it too quickly or you may appear self-obsessed. The conversation must always be balanced and if you are unpacking your life without being cued, you are basically treating the other person as a journal or therapist.
On the topic of therapists… therapists suggest that if you
want to truly connect with people rather bring up stuff like details of your
favourite hobby or a fond childhood memory; rather than your father’s
extramarital affair or your eating disorder (these stories come later; after
the tequila later).
#10 Oh, the Arrogance!
Humility (not false humility) is one of the most attractive
things you can wear. No one appreciates someone that has a massive ego or
thinks they are superior to others. And if you are arrogant and proud of it – #shamepies
you are isolated for sure.
#11 Plain Rude
Rude people often hide behind the words “I just say it as it
is – I am honest” … but truly they just don’t have a filter and they don’t
consider other people’s feelings. Rude people also often ignore other people and
the result is: they are often EXTREMELY lonely (and may not even know why). And
one more thing – rude people are truly unpopular and disliked.
#12 Dishonest Goes The Weasel
Everyone may tell a lie to spare a feeling or protect someone (not that this is more “okay” or something). But people who lie or distort the truth to “weasel” their way around situations with co-workers, friends or family, will very soon find themselves without comrades, and supporters; and will be very, VERY disliked. Even called “snakes” (by their observers) while they slither around from one situation to the next. The truth will always out, and once people have sniffed out serious deception – they’ll say cheers-goodbye quicker than a pay-check during the Festive Season.
#12 See-Saw Emotions
People that have mood swings will find themselves with few friends;
whether you are at work or at home, going through a hell of a morning or the
best season of your life – don’t jump between extreme moods. Practice mastering
your emotions or get professional help if needs be.
If you manage your emotions, people will be genuinely
sympathetic and supportive when you are going through a seriously serious tough
time. But if every other day you are screaming, crying, blowing your lid then
laughing, being flippant and being the jokester of the century and then sadness
itself… people will label you inconsistent and keep their distance from you.
Not keeping your word, never being on-time, saying you will
do something and then you flake or promising you will help someone and then say
“whoops, something came up” or “next time” – will earn you a solid flake-ball reputation
and definitely will make people tire of you quickly. Next thing you know you
ain’t invited anymore, not in the loop and don’t crack the nod to social
gatherings – all because you are #unreliable (and now disliked too).
#14 Being the Face of Pessimism
“I love that he/she complains so much and has such a cynical
view of life” – said no one ever. Let’s face it … nobody likes a “Debbie
Downer” and if you focus on the negatives in life, pointing out everyone’s
weaknesses or faults to anything with ears, you are going to be avoided like
For pitchfork’s-sake, stop complaining about “the
government”, “Eskom” or “those people” etc. Haven’t you noticed people can’t
make enough excuses to avoid you or escape from you? Pull yourself together and
focus on a few blessings.
#15 Control Freaks
Control freaks, micro-managers, ‘perfectionists’, overbearing parents/team leaders/ spouses or siblings – leave the people surrounding them feeling unworthy, frustrated and feeling like they need to walk on egg-shells. If you catch yourself always correcting others, pointing out every mistake, or noticing people stop talking when you walk into the room or don’t share parts of their lives with you (but do with others) – you are probably a control freak/micromanager of your friends, loved ones, and/or co-workers. If you only point out mistakes and never praise the good things people do, you are a control freak.
Just know if you try to control everything – you will enjoy nothing.
#16 Posting Like A Beast
Studies have shown that people who share too many photos and
intimate details on Social Media are often very unpopular and/or openly disliked.
This seems contrary to the concept of “influencers”. It appears people are
happy to see too many pics and read too many details about strangers but don’t
want the same level of “dedication” from people they know. So, apparently, to
be more “likeable” be more selective on the amount and frequency you post on
#17 Disclosing Nothing at All
Disclosing too much detail too quickly is a no-no –
disclosing nothing about yourself is just as bad. If you are just asking
questions and not offering some clue of who you are to people, they’ll start
feeling uncomfortable. Disclosing details equals trusting individuals. But it
is a two-way street. Being open about your emotions and feelings is also part
of this (without going overboard psycho-clown).
#18 Frown As A Crown
Not smiling seem obvious? Well, apparently not when you look
around in the world. People are attracted to people that smile more (imagine –
shock – horror). What an easy way to be more likeable. It’s not always necessary
for you to wear all your problems on your face. You can smile at a stranger,
friend, colleague, doctor, teller, security guard, beggar, or politician – even
if you had the worse day ever.
#19 Shake ‘Em Like A Fish
Have you ever shook-the-hand of a wet-fish? Well, that is
sometimes how “pap” handshakes feel like. Research has shown that people find
people with firm and confident handshakes as more likeable from the get-go. So,
practice your handshake. It could give you a quick advantage in a social or
#20 And A Bonus Tip
The greatest way to be disliked and be unpopular is not to show love. You know all the wise sayings: love conquers all, perfect love drives out all fear and the greatest thing of all is love. Showing love can brighten someone’s day and life. It can soften the heart of the most “unlovable” person. And the most difficult, nasty, rude, dramatic and moody people, need the most love of all; because they perhaps may have never experienced it or accepted it. And naturally, the reward for loving others is you get showered with love (for the measure you give, is the measure you receive).
But if you find yourself on the unpopular side of this point. If you don’t give out all the love; if you are unpopular due to your lack of love you show others – the best place to start is random acts of kindness. Give that petrol attended, waiter/waitress, security guard a ridiculously large tip to show them love. Meet someone’s need… perhaps someone needs school shoes for their kid but just doesn’t have the funds – buy those shoes. Perhaps someone can do with a few pizzas delivered to their house. Maybe a colleague could do with a new mug with a handwritten note or perhaps you should quickly leave a voice note to several of your friends and/or family telling them you love them, you miss them, you are thinking of them, what’s happening in their lives, how can you assist them or just tell them something nice about them. This world needs more love and it starts with each of us stepping out.
So how many did you score out of 19/20? Please comment below or on Social Media if there is anything you have observed that makes people less likeable – without naming and shaming of course.