Want More People To Like You?
Show Interest In Others
Image by L.E. Wilson from RedBubble based on work by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay
To begin with, it is important to identify potential personality issues that may be limiting your reach. Perhaps you are the type of person who is introspective and observant, like the Nicolas Cage characters in the movies Moonstruck (1987) and The Family Man (2000), both of whom spend a lot of time deeply focused on their own thoughts and feelings:
I remember I used to walk to work and I had a warm bialy in my hand and hot cup of coffee from Dean & Deluca, crisp feeling of the Wall Street Journal, smell of leather from my briefcase. I used to be so sure about everything, confident. I knew exactly who I was and what I wanted, and then one morning I woke up and suddenly it was all different.
— Jack Campbell (Nicolas Cage) in The Family Man (2000)
What is life? … They say ‘bread is life.’ And, and I bake bread, bread, bread, and I sweat, and shovel this stinking dough in and out of this hot hole in the wall and, and I should be SO happy, huh, sweetie?
— Ronny Cammareri (Nicolas Cage) in Moonstruck (1987)
While these are fine qualities, unless you constructively share your opinions and interests with others, people generally are not going to take an interest in you, nor will they be inclined to approach someone who is brooding in a corner. In fact, too much self-consciousness and quiet rumination will likely leave you out on the sidelines, which is how these characters initially feel.
Or, perhaps you are the type of person who is fiercely independent and self-assured, like the Bill Murray characters in Scrooged (1988) and Groundhog Day (1993), both of whom are self-confident loners. While these are great attributes, unless you share your joys and struggles with others, people are not going to be able to connect with you. In fact, too much aloofness will likely leave you feeling sidelined and excluded, which is how these two characters behave initially.
Oh, my gosh. Does that suck! […] I am the youngest president in the history of television for a reason. I know the people. […] Now, if I were in charge, and I am, perhaps I can help you. Here’s the kind of thing I would have done…
— Frank Cross (Bill Murray) in Scrooged (1988)
Come on, ALL the long distance lines are down? What about the satellite? Is it snowing in space? Don't you have some kind of a line that you keep open for emergencies or for celebrities? I'm both. I'm a celebrity in an emergency. Can you patch me through on that line please?
— Phil Connors (Bill Murray) in Groundhog Day (1993)
The characteristics above have one very important and consequential effect, which is that they increase the risk of isolating yourself from others in meaningful ways, with the ultimate result being that most people won’t get the chance to like you, simply because they won’t be able to know or understand you. So therein lies the problem.
So how do you get more people to like you? It’s simply a matter of turning your gaze outward, of sharing your thoughts, effectively communicating your emotions, and, most significantly, caring about others, about their thoughts, their emotions, their observations, their beliefs.
It is a kindness to ask people about themselves because it shows that you feel they have value, that they are unique and worth knowing more about. Hence it’s no surprise that people will then find you likable and pleasant since in a short amount of time you could make them feel validated and give them some comfort and joy. Yes, to create all this good, all it takes is showing a sincere interest in another person.
The truth is that you can find happiness no matter where you are or who you are with, which is the ultimate message in all four of these movies. In every single one, the situation does not change, only the characters’ attitudes do, and this makes all the difference between feeling bitterness, resentment, anger, hostility on the one hand, and peace, happiness, harmony, love on the other.
And it really boils down to the fact that they all learned to care about someone else. In other words, they turned their gaze outward, showed an interest in another person, and found joy in building those relationships.
As it turns out, the capacity to make any interaction warm, fun, playful, and enjoyable is within you. It takes some practice, but all it really amounts to is asking someone, even a stranger, a genuine question and being delighted by their answer.
Try it today! You may change your life (and another one’s) for the better.