Getting people you like to like you back is sometimes impossible, we learn that in school or ever earlier. Scientists have looked at the problem and thought of some pointers. Warm up your facial muscles, but you’re gonna need to be smiling. A lot. First be conscious about you actions, treat it like a task even.
Copy the Person You’re With. This is called "mirroring" and it’s about subtly mimicking another person’s body language, facial expressions and gestures when talking to them. This unconsciously promotes a feeling of similarity in the other person, as if you’re just like them because you act like them. People are more likely to be drawn to someone who they find similar, than someone who’s the complete opposite.
Spend More Time Around the People You Want to Befriend. This is something called the “mere-exposure” effect. People tend to like other people who are familiar to them. So if you want to hang with the cool kids, get that promotion, or ask out your crush, you need to be visible and let them get to know you. Even, in some cases, you don’t even need to interact with them to get noticed. In a study conducted by the University of Pittsburgh, they had 4 women pretend to be university students in a psychology class. Each woman showed up a handful of times to class, and when photos were shown to male students in the class, they showed a greater sense of like for the women they’d seen most often in class, even though they’d never met them.
Compliment Other People. People notice how you treat others, and will associate the adjectives you use to describe other people, with your personalty. This is called “Spontaneous trait transference.” In fact, a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, found that this occurred even when people knew certain traits didn’t describe the person using that compliment. So if you call someone genuine, kind and/or beautiful, people will tend to think that of you. As well, the reverse is true. If you trash talk people, you’ll be associated with those traits as well. Plus, it’s not nice.
Try to Display Positive Emotions. There’s a thing called “emotional contagion” where people are strongly influenced by the moods of others. It’s an unconscious thing, but if you’re around happy people, or just one happy person, it tends to spread. So try being that happy person. As we try to naturally mimic the other person’s movements, facial expressions and overall tone, we start to feel what they’re feeling. And we all like feeling good.
Act Like You Like Them. There’s this thing called “Reciprocity of Liking.” When we think someone likes us, we like them as well. All it takes is the thought of the potential like or acceptance, and we change our way of thinking. So next time you’re not sure about the person you’re interacting with, act like you like them, and they’ll start to like you back.
Be Warm and Competent. There’s a theory out that that suggests people are judged based on their warmth and their competence. If you portray yourself as warm, friendly and non competitive, as well as intelligent and economically stable, they people are include to trust and respect you. But when it comes down to which one comes first, experts suggest that you make sure people know that you can be trusted, before they even think to respect you.
Reveal Your Flaws From Time to Time. Nobody’s perfect, and you’re not expected to be. We’re all human. There’s something called the “Pratfall Effect” where people will like you more after you make a mistake, but only if they believe that you’re competent to begin with. This makes you relatable and vulnerable to the people around you. There was a study done at the University of Texas, Austin where they studied how mistakes can affect attraction. They listened to people taking a quiz, and found that people who did well on the quiz, but spilled coffee at the end of the interview were rated higher than people who did well on the quiz and didn’t spill coffee, or people who failed the quiz and spilled coffee.
Emphasize Shared Values. As mentioned in the first point, people are more attracted to those who are similar to them – this is known as the “Similarity-Attraction Effect.” This is especially true with opinions and attitudes. Studies have found that people get along better with others that share the same political views, attitudes on sex, etc… Seems pretty obvious, right? But, it gets more interesting. A recent study found that Air Force recruits liked each other more when they had similar negative personality traits in common, than when they had similar positive ones.
Casually Touch Them. Subliminal touching is when you touch a person so subtly that they barely notice, but goes a long way. Things like tapping someone’s back, touching their arm, etc. can do a lot for building warmth. In a study conducted in Mississippi, they looked at the results of interpersonal touching and tipping in a restaurant, and found that waitresses that briefly touch a hand or a shoulder when returning change, got greater tips.
Smile. Pretty obvious, right? In a study done in Wyoming, 100 women were asked to look at a photo of a woman in 4 poses: smiling with an open-body position, smiling with a closed-body position, not smiling/open-body and not smiling/closed-body. The results suggested that the women liked the photos where there was a smile, regardless of body position. As well, when interacting online, a different study found that a smiling profile photo/avatar goes a long way in making you better liked. Plus, if you smile when you first meet someone, you’ll be better remembered.
See the Other Person How They Want to be Seen. People want to be perceived in a way that works within their personal beliefs about themselves. We all want verification of our views, positive or negative, and want to be viewed as such. In a study done at Stanford, participants with both negative and positive perceptions of themselves are asked whether they wanted to interact with people who thought of them positively or negatively. Those with positive self-views wanted that positivity reinforced, while those who felt negatively towards themselves, wanted critics. This proves that people want to be around people that give feedback that is consistent with their self-identity.
Tell Them A Secret. This is probably one of the best relationship-building techniques. Research has found that disclosing close and personal revelations goes a long way for building intimacy
Show That You Can Keep a Secret. There’s a high value that’s placed on trustworthiness in a relationship. If you can keep a secret, and demonstrate loyalty, dependability and honesty, that’ll go a long way with making you liked.
Display a Sense of Humor. Whether it’s deciding if you want a friend, a romantic partner or whatever, a sense of humor is really important. This is key when you’re first getting to know someone. Using humor to break the ice and build a relationship is one of the best ways to get a long lasting relationship, platonically and romantically.
Let Them Talk About Themselves. According to Harvard researchers, people find that talking about themselves is as rewarding as food, money and sex to them. Being allowed to talk about opinions, stories and their info, triggers the reward and motivation centres of the brain. So in future interactions, letting someone talk about themselves, instead of talking about yours, can go a long way in making a memorable interaction and a positive association.
Allow Yourself to be Vulnerable. Emotional openness, or the lack thereof, can go a long way to whether or not a relationship can be successful. Admitting that you have doubts and emotions, can be scary, but that act of opening up, makes you trust and gets people trust you more. According to several studies, expressiveness and openness are desirable traits in partners and friends.