As the adage goes, first impressions are everything. Whether you are interviewing for a job, networking a career event, or going on a first date, you want to be liked. Some people make being likable look so easy. Being well-liked isn’t hard nor does it have to be. But as the Internet creates a new avenue to guide and master in socializing, the rules to being likable are changing. If you’ve been struggling with first impressions on and offline, here are 13 reasons why.
13. Sharing Too Much Online
Social media allows us to stay connected with friends, family, coworkers, and even strangers. Now we can share major life events, vacations, and special memories with anyone and everyone. However, not everyone appreciates the constant stream of sharing life updates. A study conducted by the Birmingham Business School explored how others felt about social media posts. Their research found that most people felt a disconnect between their friends who frequently shared images and updates about their life. This is especially true for family members of other family members who only shared photos of their friends.
12. Having too Many or too Few Facebook Friends
There’s a fine line between how many Facebook friends you should have. Too few and you seem unlikeable, too many and you come off as insincere. The average amount of Facebook friends that makes one ‘likeable’ is about 300. Any more than 300 and others may perceive you as someone who spends too much time on Facebook. You are also more likely to be perceived as someone who is desperate for attention. One hundred friends and under were deemed to be unlikeable or suspicious. Make sure you friend only people you know or have met.
11. Disclosing Too Much Personal Information Too Soon
Making new friends is exciting. You want to know as much about them as possible. As a result, you share personal information in an attempt to establish a bond. When you disclose intimate details about your present or past life, you risk coming off insecure. Not only does disclosing personal details early on seem insecure, but it also comes off as gossipy and desperate. Personal life details about yourself should be shared organically or with discretion. Warm, happy memories make you seem likable. Instead of finding common ground over traumas and gossip, try exploring hobbies or interest you might share.
10. Never Talking about Yourself
Another social-etiquette fine line is never talking about you. While it’s rude to only talk about you, endlessly inquiring about someone else is worse. Mutual closeness and bonds are formed when both individuals reciprocate self-disclosure. Only asking questions about someone makes it seem less like a conversation and more like an interrogation. A conversation is a two-way street, and a first meet is not a job interview. Skip the interrogation and let your walls down. They want to know about you as much you want to know about them.
9. Posting A Bad Profile Photo
Today, it’s not uncommon for the first meet between employers, lovers, and even friends to be online. Using a bad profile photo can affect the way others perceive your level of trustworthiness. A picture of your face smashed against the camera is perceived as untrustworthy and lacking competence. Poor profile pictures can also affect your attractiveness level. The photo distance sweet spot is about 4.5 feet from the camera. Make sure the lighting is good, your eyes are open, and you are smiling and happy. First impressions are everything.
8. Hiding your Emotions
Hiding the way you are feeling about a situation or a person can adversely impact the way you are perceived. Most people base their fondness of another on the reciprocity of the other person’s emotional investment. While being overly emotional is never a good thing, never showing emotion is even worse. Repressing your emotions is perceived as disinterest in a situation or a person. If you want people to accept you with open arms, lighten up a bit and express yourself. People in your life want to know how you’re feeling, let them know.
7. Being too nice
Altruistic behavior is a positive trait, though at some point it begins to become disingenuous. This is because the overtly nice behavior is perceived as behavior with ulterior motives. Is anyone really that nice? One study compared perception and overly altruistic behavior. The result was that the overly nice students were deemed, suspect. Some students even noted that they would not be willing to work with the overly nice student again. Being too nice too soon in any relationship dynamic can have a negative impact. You can be nice, just don’t bend over backward right from the start.
6. Humble bragging
There’s nothing wrong with being proud of your accomplishments. However, humble bragging is the fastest way to get someone new to dislike you. Humble bragging is when you spin a positive trait as a negative. This often happens during job interviews and in college essay answers. For example, someone asking you what your weakness is and you respond with perfectionism. This seems generic and dishonest. Also, who doesn’t like things done right? Instead of trying to spin a positive into a negative, just be honest.
5. Being too nervous
This may be the hardest one to quit, however being too nervous makes others anxious. When you nervous, your body releases a unique type of sweat. Unlike sweat produced from exercise, this sweat has a very distinct, unpleasant odor. Whether you or the other person consciously realizes this difference or not, it doesn’t matter. The subconscious picks up on the smell, resulting in the person acting negatively towards you. Wearing antiperspirant can help diffuse or eliminate that nervous sweat smell. Taking deep breaths and staying in the moment and out of your head can keep you from being anxious.
4. Not Smiling
Smiling is a nonverbal way to let others know you are open, receptive, and inviting as a person. Even though you might feel silly keeping a smile on your face, do it anyways. Smiling increases your likeability and increases your chance for others to remember you. You wouldn’t want to approach someone who was scowling or frowning, would you? The next time you are out in public, at an event, or on a date try to remember to smile. Smiling can also boost your mood if you’re feeling sad or blue.
3. Acting Aloof
An air of mystery around you can be intriguing and enticing, however acting aloof is not. When you act as if you don’t like someone they will perceive that behavior for face value. The phenomenon ‘reciprocity of liking’ explores the idea that when you like someone, they like you too. Of course, showing too much interest too soon can have an adverse effect as well. As you begin to get to know a new person, showing mutual interest in them can make you more likable to them. While mysteries can be fun, they’re best saved for television shows and books.
2. Having a Hard to Pronounce Name
This one is tough because you probably didn’t choose your name when you were born. However, having a difficult to pronounce name can inadvertently make people dislike you. Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do aside from changing your name or adopting an easy to say nickname. When introducing yourself to new people make sure to say your name clearly and loud enough to hear properly. If they are still struggling to pronounce your name, offer a nickname instead. Nicknames make people feel close to you.
1. Name Dropping
Constantly name-dropping well-known people you loosely associate with seems desperate and manipulative. This is especially true in cases where the name of the person has little to do with the conversation. Before dropping a name, ask yourself why you are doing it? Most of the time you will realize it’s only for external validation from your peers. Incidentally, most of the time, your peers really won’t care about your loose association either. Save the name drop and move on; your friends and family will thank you.