We’ve all known people who were a complete joy to be around.
Sometimes these connections were random, such as meeting an amazing person at a festival whom we simply “clicked” with.
Other times, they were friends who acted like a hub at social gatherings, cheering up everyone in the vicinity.
So, what makes these people so likeable?
What do they do differently from the average person that draws others to them like birds to a french fry buffet?
Below are some of the most common traits you’ll come across in likeable people.
1. They give others their sincere attention.
Likeable people make others feel like they’re the only other person in the world.
When you talk to them, you can tell by their body language that they’re fully engaged in conversation with you.
They meet your gaze, and bring up points that you’ve mentioned and expand upon them to let you know that they’ve heard you.
These people won’t lean back in their chairs with their arms crossed over their chests. Instead, everything about their posture will be open and welcoming.
They’ll lean in forward so they can pay more attention to you, and may even touch your arm or gesticulate with their hands when talking with you.
Basically, everything about their actions says, “nothing else in the world is as important to me as you are right now.”
2. They ask more than they talk.
In general, people like to feel seen and heard by others. They like it when folks take an active interest in who they are and ask details about what fuels their souls.
Those who are considered likeable by others make a point of asking great (even challenging) questions in order to learn about and understand other people’s lives.
Quite frankly, they care enough about others to want to learn more about them and what they’re passionate about, rather than simply babbling incessantly about their own interests and issues.
3. They remember important details.
Have you ever had an acquaintance or coworker reach out to you on your birthday simply to let you know that they’re thinking of you, and wishing you well?
It’s one thing for your spouse or parent to contact you on a meaningful date, and another for a friend—even a casual one—to do so.
This tells you that they sincerely care about you and have taken the time to memorize dates that are important to you.
Getting a birthday wish from a relative is a given, and usually an obligation on their part. In contrast, receiving one from someone you barely know tells you that they actually care.
4. They find delight in the smallest things.
Some of the most likeable people in the world are those who can find joy and beauty in just about anything.
They don’t take things for granted and appreciate the small delights that life can bring—even when everything around them is going to hell in a handbasket.
You may have encountered this kind of attitude when you visited someone in the hospital and they raved about how great the jello desserts and sponge baths were.
They’re also the type to enjoy how pretty snow looks on a sunny day even when it’s -40 and everyone’s teeth are chattering.
It’s guaranteed that when you hang out with them, they’ll shift your perspective by drawing your attention to the wonderful things going on all around you.
5. They have contagious enthusiasm.
In the same way that they’ll find joy in the bleakest (or most boring) circumstances, they’ll also get incredibly enthusiastic about various things.
Furthermore, others around them can’t help but get giddy right along with them.
Their bubbly, joyous energy percolates into and around everyone in the vicinity, and before you know it, complete strangers are holding hands and skipping in circles because of how bloody delightful dandelions are.
This kind of effervescent energy lends well to performances and entertainment. As such, many people who are authentically likeable gravitate towards career paths that bring joy to others.
Some may be actors or musicians, while others may enjoy public relations or event management and party planning.
Many nurses and grade school teachers also have this kind of energy, which engages and lightens the spirits of those in their care exponentially.
6. They smile and laugh a lot (and encourage this behavior in others as well).
When you think about the people you enjoy spending time with the most, are they rather dour stoics?
Or are they people who make you laugh so hard that you end up doubled over and hiccupping?
Most prefer to hang out with those who smile and laugh often, and are generally hilarious to be around.
Likeable people have wonderful senses of humor. The type of humor they enjoy will vary from person to person, but they’ll find amusement easily and do what they can to amuse others as well.
Their delivery will vary too: one of your amazingly likeable friends may be deadpan and nerdy like Richard Ayoade, while another will be highly energetic and crass like Robin Williams, or anywhere in between.
Regardless of their personality type, you know that after spending a couple of hours with them, your face and ribs will ache from grinning and laughing, and you’ll have made some spectacular core memories to look back upon fondly.
7. They are often spontaneous.
Rather than being stuck in behavioral ruts or adhering strongly to set schedules, likeable people tend to enjoy spontaneity.
They tend to be the go-to friends to approach for taking impromptu road trips or exploring unusual pop-up restaurants, and often suggest amazing things to do.
You rarely need to plan things months in advance, nor will they avoid certain experiences because they’re outside of a narrow window of personal interest.
They like to surprise people with fun activities, and can be counted on to be enthusiastic about a random midnight picnic outing or buying tickets to another country “just because.”
To them, life is a grand adventure and they’re happy to enjoy new experiences whenever the opportunity presents itself. And if new opportunities don’t appear, they’ll make them happen.
8. They tend to be generous.
This doesn’t necessarily refer to money or items, although that may be part of what they offer, but in general they’re generous with their time and energy.
For many likeable people, acts of service, quality time, and gift-giving are their primary love languages.
You may have a neighbor whom everyone adores because they take time to get to know all the people who live in the area and do kind things for them simply for the joy of doing so.
For instance, they may be the type to show up with food during a health crisis or shovel other people’s walkways on snowy days.
A lot of likeable people sincerely try to give back to their communities, so they may be actively involved in volunteer work ranging from home visits with the elderly to weeding the community garden or helping out with kids at their local place of worship.
Basically, wherever there’s a need, they’ll step up to help.
9. They’re playful.
Likeable people haven’t tossed their inner child into a cell and forgotten about them.
That doesn’t mean they’re infantile or immature, but rather that they still allow themselves to play and be silly when the situation calls for it.
For example, there’s an amazing video going around about a fun-loving grandma who went around a WalMart putting googly eyes on everything.
The sheer joy that this dear lady had in such a fun, silly little prank has delighted hundreds of thousands of viewers. This kind of behavior isn’t childish—it is innocently playful and fun.
Once again, the key here is authenticity. There are plenty of people out there who pretend to be silly because they think it’s cute, but there’s no sincerity in their actions.
You can absolutely tell the difference because authentic, child-like joy is contagious, and appreciated on a soul-deep level.
In fact, one way to tell whether someone’s “fun” energy is real or not is to observe how animals behave around them.
For example, horses and cats are excellent judges of emotional energy and authentic behaviour. If you see a horse acting energetically or being super affectionate to a total stranger, or if your cat curls up in a new acquaintance’s lap, that’s a great indicator of how authentically likeable they are.
10. They can relate to just about everyone on some level.
If you know people who others generally find likeable, you’ve probably noticed that they’re able to find common ground easily.
In a group environment, they’ll attune their energy to suit whoever they’re talking to at the moment, and they can discuss different topics quite easily.
They might discuss indie bands with one person, switch to discussing archaeological finds with another, then end up trading recipes with someone’s aunt in the kitchen.
Basically, they have a high degree of social intelligence. They also have a solid sense of social rhythm, e.g. knowing when to say things, and when not to.
This often involves being observant and aware of other people’s energy. They’ll be energetic with those who are upbeat, and quieter with those who are more introverted.
Furthermore, they won’t pry into others’ lives, but let people open up to them on their own time, and in their own way.
11. They offer kindness and inclusivity.
Speaking of authentic behavior, likeable people are generally kind and inclusive and adapt themselves to suit whomever they happen to be interacting with.
This doesn’t mean that they’re condescending or insincere, but rather that they meet people at their own level and try to make them feel as welcome and comfortable as possible.
Furthermore, they often take the time to learn new skill sets that allow them to connect with others more easily.
This may include learning sign language so they can communicate with Deaf or nonverbal individuals, or researching topics they don’t necessarily have personal interest in so that they can have common ground with groups they work with.
They’ll also go above and beyond to make people feel welcome and included—especially those who may feel ostracized or uncomfortable in other situations.
12. They accept and celebrate differences.
One of the greatest traits shared by likeable people is that they tend to accept and appreciate others for who they are, rather than despite, and embrace differences rather than balking at them.
Furthermore, they don’t try to change others into versions that they’d find more acceptable or comfortable.
That isn’t to say that they don’t have preferences, nor that they agree with everyone’s life choices.
Rather, they appreciate differences and celebrate them accordingly.
For instance, people of two different religions may be best friends because they love one another as is. They may not believe the same things, and may not even be supportive of one another’s practices, but they can find common ground and adore each other as individuals.
13. They’re often unapologetically authentic.
Some of the greatest people to spend time with are those who fully embody their unique natures and personal modes of expression rather than trying to keep up with the Joneses.
Just about every neighborhood, workplace, or school has some interesting characters whom people can’t help but like.
This could be a quirky Druid who plays a little bone pipe as he meanders along and always has interesting stories to share, or a young man whose pet cat or ferret is perpetually draped over his shoulders.
These people are so likeable because they bask in their differences and are happy and confident in who they are.
They don’t feel a need to bow to others’ expectations, and as such are usually more trustworthy than those who follow the herd out of cowardice.
14. They maintain grace and joy, even in difficult circumstances.
Likeable people often show grace even when they’re under considerable stress and pressure.
As we mentioned earlier, they’ll find joy even in the most dire situations, and will try to cheer others up even though they’re suffering as well.
A person who’s a natural, authentic source of brightness and joy is a beacon and magnet for others. They’re like candles in the darkness, and they encourage others to shine their own light in turn.
They’re also the complete opposite to the “good vibez only!” crowd, for whom these behaviors are contrived and meant to ingratiate themselves to others.
Rather, they simply shine with their own natural light, which others can’t help but be warmed by and drawn to.
The former could go out at any moment: it’s tetchy, unreliable, and at its core essence, as manufactured and cold as an iPhone flashlight. In contrast, the latter is the light from a vast, warm star that guides others and ignites potential in its wake.
15. They don’t complain much.
You’ve probably noticed that people who complain constantly aren’t much fun to be around.
In contrast, likeable people tend to focus on the bright side, even when things are difficult.
They can always find the silver lining and try not to burden people—strangers or friends—with a litany of moanings about their various health issues and personal problems.
These folks also tend to define themselves by what they love, rather than by the difficulties they experience.
Of course they still struggle with things at times (because everyone does), but if you ask them how they’re doing, they won’t launch into a laundry list of their many illnesses and grievances.
They generally try to alleviate other people’s loads, not add to them with their own issues.
This isn’t a full and complete list, but it encompasses many things that likeable people do that make them so much fun to hang out with.
If you don’t already embody these traits, consider cultivating them with a bit more enthusiasm!
And if you’re friends with likeable people like this, treasure these rare gems with all your heart.
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