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Chapter OneGet Anyone to Like You . . . Every Time What are those elusive traits and qualities that arouse feelings of friendship and likability in a person? In just a minute you'll discover that they're not elusive at all. In fact they can be reduced to a simple formula that will help you to develop a natural chemistry with anyone.
The fact is we like or dislike a person based upon a strict set of mostly unconscious processes. It does not happen by chance. But the reality that we're unaware of the process makes it seem as if it occurs without much rhyme or reason. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The following is a complete list and discussion of the nine psychological laws and phenomena that affect, influence, and even alter what we think of someone so you can get anyone to like you.
Keep in mind, too, that research shows that our liking a person can influence how physically attractive we think he or she is, and that we also tend to like more someone whom we find attractive. So this chapter and the one that follows it go hand-in-hand and can be used as part of an overall strategy.
1. Law of Association
The law of association is discussed in more detail throughout this book, but it has a very specific application here. Briefly, by pairing yourself with pleasurable stimuli another person will begin to associate you with this feeling. Studies conclude that if, for instance, you were planning your vacation you would associate those favorable feelings with whoever was around you at the time, and you would subsequently like the person more. Conversely, research in this area shows us that when you have a stomachache, for instance, those around you become unconscious victims of circumstance, and you tend to like them less. Of course there's more to liking than just this pairing of pleasant stimuli with a person, but it can generate powerful feelings, either good or bad, toward you.
So if you want to be liked by a person, try talking to him when he is in a good mood or excited about something. These feelings are anchored and associated with you, and this person will then come to have positive feelings toward you.
2. Repeat Exposure
The old adage "familiarity breeds contempt" is commonly accepted but interestingly enough, it's not true. In reality, it's the opposite. Numerous studies conclude that the more you interact with someone, the more he or she will like you.
According to Moreland and Zajonc (1982), repeated exposure to any stimulus-in this case a person-leads to a greater appreciation and liking (as long as the initial reaction is not negative). This is true of anything-a person, a place, or even a product: the greater the exposure, the more positive the response. This is why companies sometimes advertise just a picture of a product, or its name, without any specific features or benefits of using the product. They don't need to tell us how wonderful it is, only remind us of it. Exposure, being an obvious component of repetition, can alone increase sales or votes, which is why advertisers and politicians exploit this phenomenon. This factor of human behavior is so powerful that studies show that even a letter in the alphabet that also appears in our name is perceived as more attractive than a letter that is not in our name.
By simply being around more, you will actually "grow" on this person. Sometimes we make the mistake of trying to appear mysterious, aloof, or unavailable to someone, but in doing so we diminish our number of interactions. Studies conclude that we become friends with, and tend to like more, those who are physically nearest to us because of this increased level of interaction. (By the way, you don't have to worry about enacting the law of scarcity, unless you want this person to be attracted to you! That is because the basis of liking follows a different paradigm than for attraction. We will learn more about that law in this section.)
3. Reciprocal Affection
Countless studies (and common sense) have established that we tend to like more those who like us. When we find out that someone thinks well of us, we in turn are unconsciously driven to find him or her more likable as well. Therefore, you want to let your "target person" know that you like and respect him, if indeed you do.
It is not true that opposites attract. We actually like more those people who are similar to us and who have similar interests. We may find someone interesting because of how different he is from us, but it's the similarities and commonalities that generate mutual liking. Like attracts like. When you speak to this person, talk about what you both enjoy and what you have in common.
Similar to this law is the principle of "comrades in arms." Essentially, people who go through life-changing situations together tend to create a significant bond. For instance, soldiers in battle or those in fraternity pledge classes who get hazed together usually develop strong friendships. This is also a powerful bonding method even if the experience was not shared, but similarly experienced. It's for this reason that two people who have never met but who have shared a similar previous experience-whether it's an illness or winning the lottery-can become instant friends. It is the "she understands me" perspective that generates these warm feelings for another who has had a similar experience. It all comes down to the fact that we all want to be understood, and this powerful event has likely helped to shape the person into who she is today; hence this other person "knows and understands" what she is all about.
5. How You Make Her Feel
How someone feels about you is greatly determined by how you make her feel about herself. You can spend all day trying to get her to like you and to think well of you, but it's how you make her feel when she is around you that makes the difference. Have you ever noticed how nice it is to be around someone who is complimentary and sincerely kind and warm? Conversely, have you ever thought about how annoying it is to spend five minutes with the person who's always finding fault with everything and everyone? These people seem to drain the life right out of you. Being the person who makes people feel good will go a long way toward their finding you quite likable.
6. Rapport Matching posture and movements: For instance, if someone has one hand in his pocket, you put your hand in yours. If he makes a gesture with his hand, after a moment and without being obvious, you casually make the same gesture. Matching speech: Try to match his rate of speech. If he's speaking in a slow, relaxed tone, you do the same. If he's speaking quickly, then you begin to speak more rapidly.
Rapport creates trust, allowing you to build a psychological bridge to someone. The conversation is likely to be more positive and comfortable when two people are "in sync" with each other. Just as we tend to like someone who shares our interests, we are also unconsciously driven to like a person when she "appears as we do." This means that when someone makes gestures the way we do, or uses words or phrases as we do, we tend to find him likable. More on rapport-building skills is discussed throughout various chapters in the book. For now, two powerful tips for establishing and building rapport are:
7. Helping Her Out
Studies in human nature show us that people dislike others more after doing them harm. Please note that I did not say that we do harm to those whom we dislike, although this may be true. The point here is that when we do harm to another, either on purpose or by accident, we are unconsciously driven to dislike the person. This is an attempt to reduce dissonance. (Cognitive dissonance theory as it applies here states that we feel uneasy when we do something that is inconsistent with how we see ourselves. Therefore to reduce this inner conflict we rationalize our actions to remain consistent with our self-concept.) The internal conflict created is, "Why did I do this to this person?" The rationalization then becomes, "It must be because I really don't like him and he deserves it. Otherwise I would be a bad or careless person, and that cannot be so." This works in reverse as well. We like someone more after doing something nice for him or her. If we do someone a favor we are likely to have positive feelings toward that person.
If you can get him to do you a small favor, this will generate kind and warm feelings toward you. Often, in our attempt to get someone to like us, we make the mistake of doing nice things for him. And while he may appreciate your kindness and think you're a nice person, it doesn't make him like you more, even though you may be viewed as more likable. What you want is for him to have kind feelings toward you, not to just believe that you are a kind person. This is accomplished by him doing for you, not by you doing for him.
8. He's Only Human
Seeing someone you admire do something stupid or clumsy will make you like him more (Aronson, Willerman, and Floyd, 1966). Contrary to popular belief, being a perfect, confident figure will not produce the desired outcome-meaning that it rarely leads to your being liked more and thought of in a positive way. When you want to be seen as more likable, do something embarrassing and smile at yourself. Don't try to ignore it or pretend it didn't happen. Self-deprecating humor is a terrific way to ingratiate yourself with anyone.
When you show others that you don't take yourself so seriously, it makes them feel closer to you and want to be around you. "Nobody likes a show-off" or a person who is so consumed with himself and his image that he needs to pretend that he is perfect. We tend to like and gravitate toward those who are not self-absorbed and egotistical. Showing that you can laugh at yourself makes you infinitely more approachable and likable. This is often at odds with what we think we should do. In our attempt to appear as "cool" and "important," others perceive us as taking ourselves too seriously, and this air of "false confidence" can be quite unbecoming.
This aspect of human nature confuses many people because the fact is that we do like confident people; we're drawn to and like those who are self-assured. But we know that a person who is confident doesn't feel the need to let the world know how great he is; he lets the world find out for itself. So the bragging, arrogant person is really a person who feels small inside and we are often instinctively uninterested and unattracted to this person. The one who is confident and secure is the one who is apt to laugh at his own mistakes and is not afraid to let people know that he is human. So you see, they are not at conflict with one another. Not taking ourselves so seriously and acknowledging our faults and mistakes shows the world that we are confident.
9. Positive Attitude
As we talked about before, we like people who are similar to us. But there is one exception to this rule. Nobody wants to be around a moody, often pissed-off, pessimistic person. We all seek, like, and admire those who have a positive, happy outlook and perspective on life. Why? Because that is what we all want. And seeing this desirable spirit in others makes us like them more. You may know a person-or may even be someone-who finds annoying those who wake up smiling and in a good mood. The fact is though, at some level we are drawn to that attitude and to that person. Think of the people in your life whom you really can't stand to be around. Chances are they are always complaining about something; always annoyed with somebody; always finding fault with everything. Like confidence, a positive attitude toward life will help to turn you into a superhuman magnet for attracting people and getting anyone to like you.
But wait a minute! Doesn't misery love company? Actually it does. Miserable people like to be around others who are just as annoyed with life as they are. But this quality does not make them like these people more. Someone who feels miserable enjoys commiserating and complaining with another miserable individual, but the minute he's in a good mood he will abandon the toxic, annoying person. He seeks solace with somebody who feels as he does, but when he no longer feels that way he will instantly leave this relationship. This is because he never liked the person (at least not for this similarity); he enjoyed only the shared attitude. Strategy Review
- Be around the person as much as you can because familiarity breeds fondness, not contempt!
- When you speak with him try to do it when he's in a good mood to enact the law of association. Talk about common interests or experiences that you share and try to do more of the listening and less of the talking.
- To enact the law of reciprocal affection, if you respect or admire him for something make sure that he knows this.
- Let him do a simple favor for you, but make sure that it's not out of a sense of obligation. This creates an unconscious motivation to like you more.
- Build a psychological bridge and establish rapport by matching the person's gestures, rate of speech, and vocal patterns.
- We are drawn to confident people. Show your confidence by being able to laugh at yourself and not taking yourself too seriously.
- Make her feel good about herself. Be someone who is complimentary and sincerely kind and warm.
- Have a positive mental attitude. We are drawn to people who are excited, passionate, and happy about life and being alive.
- See Chapter 2, Get Anyone to Find You Irresistibly Attractive, because we tend to like more those whom we find attractive-same sex or not.