Want to know how to be more likeable? It’s way easier than you might think.
There’s nothing more frustrating than talking without being heard. Whether you’re pouring your heart out to a friend who’s more interested in the text-fight she’s having with her bf, or your sig-o’s eyes glaze over as you vent about your day, or your manager barely acknowledges the amazing idea you’ve shared, there are days when it feels like you’re invisible.
Brutal truth: We all love to talk about ourselves, and often mistake hearing what a person is saying for legitimately listening to their words. If you want to learn how to be more likeable and build stronger bonds with your wolf pack, all you have to do is one thing: listen. It really is that simple.
Unfortunately, many of us have forgotten how to sit still long enough to process a conversation. Connecting with people has become this haphazard, scattered experience thanks to our perma-distracted way of life, and it’s only getting worse. But like strengthening a muscle, you can become the go-to pal that everyone needs in their life. And who knows? You just might inspire your buds to do the same.
Here’s a refresher course on how to get the job done like the girl boss you are:
1. Make sure it’s the right time
For example, if your sig-o wants to talk about something important or needs to vent about the crap day he had, set time aside to chat so you don’t miss parts of what he says while doing other things.
2. Body language
Shut your trap. Make eye contact. Listen intently. Nod (but only if you mean it). And most importantly: Step away from the smartphone.
3. Don’t play tug-of-war
It happens to the best of us: Your bestie is talking about topic A, you answer as if you’re talking about topic B—and both of you leave the convo feeling like you weren’t really listened to. Keep the train on the tracks by not changing the subject and offering subtle confirmations that your friend’s thoughts are being heard.
4. Don’t prepare what you’re going to say next
It’ll distract you from what the person is currently saying, which totally defeats the purpose of having a conversation. Bonus: By not rehearsing your answer, your chat will become more authentic and less strained.
5. Don’t interrupt
Let them finish the thought they’re having. It’s never easy to spill your guts to someone, and you don’t want to upset them along the way.
6. Respect their feelings
You don’t have to agree with how they’re feeling or what they’re going to do about it, but you do have to respect their decision and trust that they know what’s best for them. After all, one day (probably tomorrow) it’s going to be you spilling your guts, and you’re going to want them to return the favor.
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Friends chatting image via Shutterstock