You’re a great person, and you love connecting with like-minded people.
But there seems to be a problem… people just don’t seem to approach you.
You know it’s not your intention to push people away, but you might have a few habits that do just that without you even knowing.
Watch out for these 11 habits — they could be making you seem unapproachable.
1) You have closed off body language
How do you typically sit or stand?
It’s natural to want to cross your arms or legs just to give yourself some rest. But doing this can make you look closed off, and like you don’t want to talk to anyone.
Body language is a huge factor of first impressions. If you want to look approachable, make sure you stand with your arms by your side rather than wrapped around you, and don’t turn your back to other people.
2) You avoid eye contact
Not everyone is comfortable with eye contact — but unfortunately, this is another thing that could make you seem unapproachable.
This is the basic way of acknowledging someone’s existence. And if someone hasn’t even acknowledged that you’re there, how comfortable would you feel going up to them to start an interaction?
If you’re open to people approaching you, make sure you don’t avoid eye contact with them.
3) You hide your face
I know a couple people who feel very self-conscious, and tend to hide behind a cup of coffee they hold in front of their face.
Their friends know this is a part of their charming personality. But to strangers, it may look like they’re trying to hide.
We are much more likely to trust people when we can see their whole face. Otherwise, you’ll seem reserved and closed-off.
That’s why wearing sunglasses or big scarves and hats that hide your face are another no-go — at least not if you’re up to having people come to you.
4) You’re always on your phone
I’ve been attending some Latin dance classes, and there is always a party on Tuesdays where everyone can practice.
As I was there a few days ago, I noticed a few ladies sitting at a table, staring at their phone as if they were hypnotized by it.
Some time later, they were still there in the exact same position. I knew exactly why — this habit was making them seem very unapproachable.
If they could put their phone away for a moment and use the tips above as well, they would immediately seem much more open to being asked to dance.
Whether or not you like to dance, the same applies in any situation. Don’t make the same mistake as them!
5) You wear headphones a lot
This is pretty much the same thing as looking at your phone. Rather than being inaccessible to eye contact, you are inaccessible to conversation.
Nobody will feel comfortable interrupting whatever it is you’re doing it makes you take your headphones off. The very fact you have them on makes it look like you don’t want to be disturbed.
You might do this because you love listening to music — and I totally get that!
But be mindful of when you want to enjoy this hobby, as you could be missing out on some chances to meet new people.
6) You look like you’re in a bad mood
Obviously, we all have bad moods sometimes, and we are all allowed to have them. However, we can also all agree that a smiling person is much more approachable than a total grouch.
It’s hard to keep a smile plastered on your face 24/7, and of course that isn’t necessary.
But if you at least look relaxed, it makes it much easier for someone to strike up a conversation with you.
You might be surprised how tense we can be without even noticing it, especially if you’ve been thinking about something stressful or negative.
Try doing a body scan to notice any areas of tension and relax your facial muscles.
7) You don’t smile when you make eye contact with someone
What do you do when you make eye contact with someone? Do you give them a smile, or do you quickly look away?
I think it’s pretty obvious which one of these is better for seeming approachable.
Of course, you should only smile at someone if you’re comfortable doing so (especially since smiling is very likely to invite them to interact with you).
Just be mindful of the big impact this has on your approachability, and use it wisely.
8) You give super short answers to questions
I have a friend who is not much of a texter — and you can really tell, because his replies are a couple words at most. Sometimes, he even answers with just an emoji.
It’s funny because he’s practically always talking when I hang out with him in person. He just doesn’t really like to text.
And that’s fine. But I can imagine that if someone met him online, they could get the impression he’s really unapproachable.
Whether it’s in a live conversation or online, if you want to come off as approachable make sure you don’t use one-word or super short answers to questions.
It helps if you also put in some effort to move the conversation forward, by giving more developed comments or asking some questions of your own.
9) You accidentally exclude people from a group conversation
It’s a special skill to navigate group conversations well. The bigger the group, the more of a risk there is of someone falling into the shadows and feeling excluded.
I experienced first hand how unpleasant this felt. I was traveling with a group of friends, and we were all hanging out in the kitchen.
It was quite small, so it was difficult for all of us to sit around the table. What made it much worse though, was that one of my friends didn’t seem to care at all that he was sitting directly in front of me, with his back turned entirely towards me.
Even though I know he didn’t have bad intentions, it still brings up negative feelings when I remember it. And of course, he was not able to talk to me at all from that position, so I ended up being excluded from the conversation too — that is, until I got fed up and moved to the other side of the room.
If you want to seem approachable, this is a great skill to work on. Make sure everyone has visual access to all the members of the group, and has a chance to participate in the conversation too.
10) You have nervous habits
Life is stressful, and many of us develop nervous habits to cope.
These could be fidgeting, playing with your hair, tapping your foot, or shifting nervously from one leg to the other.
This is only human, but unfortunately it can also be a bit off-putting to others.
If you find yourself feeling nervous in a setting where you want to be approachable, try practicing deep breathing instead and relax the muscles in your body.
11) You say a lot of negative things
You’ve probably heard people say “misery loves company”. Well, not in the case of new company!
If people notice you always seem to complain or criticize others, you might find they don’t stick around for very long.
Nobody likes to hang around people that bring them down. I have a close family member who does this a lot, and surprise surprise — he doesn’t tend to make a lot of new friends.
He’s a really great person on the inside, and he didn’t even realize he was doing this. When he started being a bit more mindful of this habit, he found it a lot easier to talk to people at social events.
If you want to become more approachable, now you know 11 behaviors that you should absolutely avoid.
Once you make these changes, you’re sure to notice a big difference in your interactions with other people — and most importantly, how comfortable and relaxed you feel around them.