That is truly the bottom line.
We want to be liked and feel accepted.
So I went in search of what makes someone a “likable” person.
- Is there a specific factor?
- Are their certain traits one must exhibit?
- Are you just born with it?
- Does the “it” factor truly exist?
I think I figured it out…. let’s see if you agree.
In my own observations of “likable” people, I came up with the following list of people. I’m using celebrity examples so we all know who the person is (or can at least look them up) rather than real-life examples that I’ve observed. My point being that you don’t have to be a celebrity to be liked.
These are people who are liked by millions, for a variety of reasons, but all have very specific things in common.
- Jennifer Lawrence, actress and star of the Hunger Games
- Gabourey Sidibe, actress and star of Precious and American Horror Story
- Lady Gaga, pop star named one of the most influential people in the world by Time magazine
- Malala Yousafzai, political activist
- Ellen DeGeneres, comedienne and talk show host
I’m betting there are at least two or more people on this list that you like. Each of these ladies is “liked” for different reasons by different people, but they all share 1 very important trait which I think is the heart and soul of being a likable person: Confidence
Confidence is made up of a lot of things. It’s not just something you’re born with. It’s a character trait that you develop. Whether intentionally or not, each of these women have developed a strong sense of who they are and what they stand for.
Mistakes do not shatter them. They are not afraid to make screw things up, say something weird or laugh at themselves when they trip and fall on the way to receive an Oscar.
Criticism does not deter them. They respond to their critics with humor and let harsh comments roll right off their backs. See this famous tweet from Gabourney for a real-life example.
They are not arrogant. There is a huge difference between confidence and arrogance. The two are often mistaken for one another but there is a distinct difference. People are drawn to those who have confidence and turned off by arrogance.
But wait, there’s more!
While confidence is a key trait for likable people, I also discovered there are a lot of confident people that just aren’t likable (no need to name names here). So I set out to discover what makes the difference.
After much thought (and studying many men and women throughout history to the present), I came up with compassion. People who show great compassion for others are extremely likable people.
Compassion can be summed up in many ways. Whether it’s Malala’s fight for women to get an education or Lady Gaga’s anti-bullying campaign, their compassion shines through. This is most evident on the Ellen DeGeneres show through her “Giving Back” segments.
Compassion is not just an outward trait. Having compassion towards yourself is also a critical factor in this equation. People who are able to forgive themselves are happier and more balanced, which makes them more likable. Also, people who take care of themselves, physically emotionally and spiritually are also more likable because they aren’t walking around with a huge weight on their shoulders. They are willing teach and to help others – and who doesn’t like someone providing assistance?
Is that all there is?
I think there is at least one more thing that we can look at to balance out this notion of “likability”. Honesty. Pure, raw honesty. I’m not talking about people who always tell the truth (no one really does that anyway). I’m talking about people who are honest with themselves and honest about how they see the world and how they interact with it. They are real and authentic and we can sense that.
Can you have one without the others and still be likable?
Sure, anything is possible. But when it comes right down to it, confidence, compassion and honesty are three of the strongest character traits a woman can possess. You can have 2 of the 3 or even just 1 of the 3, but for complete balance, I think developing all three of these areas is important.
But what about….
There will always be haters. We aren’t going to agree on everything with everyone. But I’m betting if you took your own personal list of people you like, that you will see these 3 traits at the top of the list.
So how does one develop Confidence, Compassion and Honesty? Well that’s a post for another day, but for the moment, I’d like to invite you to think upon this concept (remember it’s just my own personal theory) and let’s discuss it. Do you agree with these 3 concepts or is there something else you would add to the mix?
What celebrities or real-life people are do you find to be good examples of “likable” folks? I’d love to see your list in the comments below.