Hendrie Weisinger Ph.D.

Thicken Your Skin

What's your Likability Quotient?

It pays to be likable so increase your LQ!

Posted Oct 13, 2015

ABC NEWGo
Source: ABC NEWGo

 Likability—it's a key predictor to success in all areas of life. From getting invited to the right parties or scoring that job promotion, likability can get you where you want to go. Likability pulls people toward you, so a good way to maximize your success is to develop attractiveness that increases your likability quotient. Mother Nature generously provides two key tips.

Sense of Humor. Your ancestors who had the keenest senses of seeing and hearing were probably their clan's best hunters, but, all things being equal, those who developed a sense of humor are the ones that become the chieftains. Two points explain why.

The first is the mental and physical benefits of positive emotions. Laughing, for example, triggers the release of endorphins-hormones and enzymes that serve as natural painkillers for your body. When we laugh, we feel good, and when we feel good, we are more productive in our work, are better partners, and more loving parents. Humor's evolutionary function is to make both ourselves and the people around us feel good.

Now the second point. Studies-under the rubric of emotional contagion-indicate that nature has provided creatures the capacity to transmit modes to each other, no doubt for the purpose of communication.

In humans, for example, emotional communication between mother and infant begins almost immediately after birth, through sounds and facial expressions. You know by the tone of a person's voice when she's irritable and by the smile on a person's face that she's in a good mood.

Emotions are contagious. It is not a coincidence that many partners of depressed mates inevitably find themselves depressed too. They are catching the emotions of their partners like they would a bad cold.

Happily, humor is also contagious. This is why many television shows have laugh tracks, to infect you with positive feelings.

Back on the savannah, when things got tough, who would you want to be with, the clansman who turned gloomy or the one who made you laugh? Because your human nature is to want to feel good and because humor is contagious, you would gravitate to the caveman who transmitted positive emotions, and this would be the one with a good sense of humor. 

It is also fair to assume that this caveman's sense of humor would attract others, too, and inevitably, he would go on to achieve status in the community.

Hundreds of thousands of years later, I frequently hear managers and front line employees saying, "I love working for my boss. She has great sense of humor," but I'm never told, "I love working for my boss because she's depressed and irritable."

You can also make the assumption that those ancestors of yours who had a good sense of humor also attracted more than their share of desirable mates. Not only did this caveman have status, but his sense of humor also filled the air with positive emotions and pulled women toward him.

Four decades of studies in the research of interpersonal attraction consistently support that among the top reasons women select their mate is for their sense of humor.

To make yourself more likeable so you can pull people toward you, connect to your sense of humor. Here are some effective ways to do so:

• Candid camera glasses. People-watch for 5 minutes a day with the goal being to tune in to the fact that we take ourselves too seriously. Instead of feeling road rage in traffic, look at the people in the car next to you, and you are sure to gain perspective. It is a way to lighten up.
• Humor Breaks. Take a daily 5 minute break to think of things that make you laugh. You will feel enthused, and feel your stress melt away.
• Formal joke sessions. You will have to get out of your comfort zone to start each team meeting with a joke, but numerous companies have told me it brings enthusiasm into the workplace.

Listen Well. It's easy to see how natural selection favors those who listen well. Imagine two cavemen going out for a walk. You can bet the one who returned was the one who "heard" the leopard stalking them. Hundreds of thousands of years later, listening well still enhances your edge and likeability.

Listening is a fundamental survival tool. By listening you collect data to solve problems and innovate, and you strengthen interpersonal bonds. Good listeners are sought-after leaders. In every profession and interaction, parent, lover, therapist, doctor, lawyer, or Indian chief, listening well is imperative. It also bonds us to the person who respects us enough to listen to our ideas.

Make yourself more attractive by listening to others. Some points to remember:
• Do not interrupt others; doing so indicates you are not listening.
• Respond to what people say rather than initiate a new topic.
• Validate your understanding by paraphrasing or summarizing what you think the person is communicating.
• When you are not sure you understand, gently probe for more information and ask for clarification.
• Remember the function of listening is to collect data so that you can help people enhance their lives.

Having a sense of humor and listening to others are instinctual tools that nature has given us so that we can make ourselves more likeable and attractive to others and thereby enhance our lives in all of our arenas. Be sure to use both of them!

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Visit me at http://www.drhendrieweisinger.com

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