“Spend more time smiling than frowning and more time praising than criticising” – Richard Branson

By Donnavan Finlay, Co-Founder of Guyding Principals.


In my younger years I always thought that the popular and liked people were just born with the trait. They always had people listen to them and were always surrounded by friends. They were the popular kids and always got what they wanted. They made everything look so easy. I was jealous and I felt I was born without that talent. I was always the in-between kid trying to get people to listen and like me. I was never the popular kid due to my incorrect understanding of how this worked. And by trying to get people to like me I made myself look like an idiot at times.

Now that I am older I have found that you can learn a few of the traits that will improve your situation and become the person people are drawn to. If you follow these basic but fundamental steps you will be able to achieve what you set out to do. People will be willing to help you achieve your goals. You will attract the people to you that will have positive influence in your life.

Listed are the ten basic habits of likeable people.

  1. They are grateful.

Waking up in the morning and being grateful for what you have will set the tone for the rest of the day. You may not have what you dream of yet, but you should be grateful that you are on your way. You should be grateful that you have friends and family that care about you. You should be grateful that you have a place to live. Many people are not that fortunate. Be grateful for the small things that you have. Many people are not that lucky to have what you have. No matter how little you have, there is always someone with less. Be grateful for what you have and not sad about what you do not have.

Train this into your daily routine and it will become a habit. When you wake up in the morning, think of all the things you are grateful for. Some people like to write it down, others just like to think about it. It is up to you. This will put you in a positive mood for the rest of the day. A positive mind will lead to a positive life.

  1. They Listen.

As human beings we believe that it is all about us. Listen for this when people talk to you. It is usually all about them and what they did or want to do. It is just human nature I suppose. It is just the way we are wired.

When we are in a conversation we tend to listen less to what the person is saying and focus more on what our response will be. This is not really listening. Once again we can see that we are trying to make the conversation about us.

Next time you are in a conversation, try to focus on what the person is actually saying. Focus on nothing else. This will take some practice. Then when they do stop, ask questions. It will show the other person that you are truly listening. It is a good sign of trust. People will feel comfortable talking to you and you will be in a position to make some great friends. This will separate you from most other people. And we all know how important it is to stand out from the crowd. You will gain a lot of appreciation and respect.

  1. They are not fake.

Being genuine is a key factor to being liked and respected. Nobody likes a fake. Being fake will make you look untrustworthy and sometimes just silly.

Think of when people buy stuff. When you see fake items, no one goes “OMG, look how lovely this looks. Just look at the quality”. This response is only when people look at genuine stuff. We see genuine products as quality products. We think better quality is less likely to disappoint. Same with people.

Humans are drawn to genuine people as they feel that they are trustworthy. Nobody will like a person that they do not know how they really feel.

You need to be comfortable and confident with whom you are. You should focus on what you want and what drives you. People will be drawn to your focus and dedication. Nobody will be drawn to you if you just make choices that will keep other people happy.

  1. They don’t seek attention.

There is no need to try to be this big personality to draw attention onto yourself. People will see straight through it and will push away from you. I find people like that really annoying. Some may seem impressed, but only for a while.

Think of a person in your group that always seeks attention. Think of someone you were at school at that always tried to get all the attention. Really think about it. Do you or did you like them? I sure didn’t.

Being yourself, and speaking in a calm tone is just fine. Being friendly and considerate is all you need to win people over. When you speak in a friendly and confident manner you will notice that people are more attentive to what you are saying.

Think of good leaders in the world. On occasion when they are recognized for some achievements, they tend to shift the focus to the people who helped them get there. This is a genuine gesture and the people will feel appreciated. Appreciative and humble, two adjectives that are linked to likeability.

  1. They are Consistent.

At a previous job there was this one person that was always all over the place. You could never judge what response you were going to get from the person. Mood swings were up and down as the day went on. It was a very uncomfortable situation to be in. It affected the person’s reputation and the office atmosphere. Nobody liked working with that person. It was such a shame because he was not a bad person, just inconsistent.

Being consistent is very important to being liked. People like to be able to know how you will handle a request from them. You need to be consistent in what you do no matter your mood. Your personal mood should never affect the way you treat people.

  1. Leave a Good First Impression.

We have all read somewhere that people will judge you in the first few seconds they meet you. The rest of the conversation they will find ways to justify that initial reaction.

This all comes down to your body language and how you greet them. A firm hand shake and good eye contact is a perfect start. Stand up straight and smile. It sounds simple and is actually that easy. Once you have made that positive first impression you are already in a favored position.

Take note of your body language and how you present yourself all the time. You may not be talking to a whole room but there is always someone watching. You are always on stage. First impressions happen from across the room as well.

  1. Good Body Language.

As mentioned before you need to take note of yourself and what you are presenting. Focus on your gestures and expressions.

Maintaining eye contact, uncrossing your arms and leaning in towards the person speaking are all good signs that you are listening and interested. Good body language will always attract people to you. Having a positive body language you can set the tone of the conversation.

My body language is something I always work on to improve. My one college once mentioned to me how I was able to turn a negative conversation around into something positive.

I was working in a service delivery company at the time. A disgruntled customer came up to me with a list of complaints. I kept my attitude and body language positive towards the customer. I listened to him rant on and on without changing my position. I smiled while I listened and did not say a word.

As he kept on and on he started speaking in a more relaxed tone. Just with my body language and listening he had calmed down. When he was done with his rant. I asked some questions to clarify his complaint. After that I sorted it out for him and he left smiling. A couple of days later he was back making use of our services again.

Simple things like this can make a big difference in your results.

  1. They Smile.

Imagine two people standing in front of you. One with a frown and angry expression, and the other person smiling. Which one will you choose to start a conversation with? The person smiling of course.

People tend to return your expression when you talk or meet them. When you greet people with a smile they will smile back at you. When you smile at people during a conversation they will return the favor. I am not talking about people using the subway, we all know people avoid eye contact and smiling while on the train.

This will take some practice. I started by smiling at myself in the morning and kept smiling at every chance I had. It felt a bit silly in the beginning but my overall mood did improve.

Over some time my relationships with many people improved as well. People were friendlier towards me and I met a lot of new people. People just seemed more responsive towards me.

At networking events I started making better quality connections. I could not believe that this one change was making such a positive impact on my life. Try it, it does work.

  1. They know when to Share.

Opening up to someone too soon will get you labeled as a complainer. Something you should try to avoid at all costs. Let the other person guide the conversation to when to share.

  1. They Remember Names.

Your name is an important part of what and who you are. Think of people naming streets and buildings after them. People donate tons of money so they can get their name on the entrance of a building. People take pride in their names.

So why would you think it is not important to remember someone’s name? Greeting someone by their name will leave a lasting impression with the person. You will make them feel important. And we all like to feel important. This is a great first impression.

Some people will say they are poor at remembering names. Well, you need to find a way to change that. The way I changed it is to repeat the person’s name during the conversation. By repeating it a couple of times it was easier for me to remember it.

Work on this and notice the expression on the persons face when you greet them by name after only meeting once before. This will be proof enough that this is important to people.

Follow these basic habits will get you more liked and respected in all areas of your life. People will be drawn to you and you will be remembered.

Have fun out there!


Mention one thing that attracts you to  someone.












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