I can count on one hand my closest friends in life. Whilst I’ve experienced instantly clicking with someone before, I’d say it’s rare for me.
Rather than be something that comes naturally, I’ve had to hone the skill of making friends.
Because there are certain qualities that popular people tend to emulate.
So let’s take a look at them.
1) They’re curious
Whenever I’ve written articles in the past about how to win people over, this always features on the list.
We can get really caught up in our heads about how we interact with one another. I know I’m super guilty of it.
We overthink things and worry about what to say.
But the best advice is to simply be curious. People like people who are interested in them.
When we show our curiosity by asking questions, we’re instantly more likable, and the research proves it.
Making friends is essentially just getting to know someone.
And there’s no better way to do that than being genuinely intrigued by who they are and what makes them tick.
2) They’re extroverted
As an introvert, I do believe there are many benefits that come with it. But effortlessly making friends isn’t one of them.
Maybe you can relate to this meme I once saw:
“How do introverts make friends? An extrovert adopts them.”
There’s no denying that an extrovert’s vibrant personality is more compatible with putting yourself out there.
They’re often better at small talk, and they can feel less shy in new and unfamiliar settings.
If you’re extroverted, your naturally outgoing and energized qualities likely mean that people gravitate toward you.
There’s not a lot you can do about it if you’re introverted. Because it’s not just a personality difference it’s a biological difference. We’re not wired in the same way.
But you can still push your comfort zone and brush up on the social skills that help you to thrive.
3) They’re warm and approachable
**Obvious point alert**
But hey, if you’re intimidating, there’s unlikely to be a queue forming of people who are dying to get to know you.
We’re all more skilled at subtly reading energy than we give ourselves credit for.
That good vibe you get from someone is actually down to the energy they are giving off.
Someone comes across as warm and inviting when they:
- Make eye contact with you
- Have relaxed body language
- Are enthusiastic
- Are engaged and attentive
- Are at ease with themselves which allows them to be at ease with others
As the last point on the list highlights, we can inadvertently close ourselves off to new connections.
It’s not that we don’t want to make friends, it’s that we are lacking in self-confidence.
4) They’re confident and comfortable with who they are
People who really easily make friends usually aren’t short of self-esteem.
We’re not talking arrogance here. But without healthy self-regard, it’s difficult to put yourself out there.
When we are uncertain of ourselves, unfortunately, it also tends to show to others.
I think of it a bit like a salesman who doesn’t like their own product. It’s hard to hide. The awkwardness and fakery shine through.
If you’re not sold on yourself, it’s harder to get other people to be.
The reality is that having confidence inspires a sense of security in others. There’s just something a lot more convincing about it.
We all want to be around self-assured people because we want what they’ve got.
5) They are authentic and show up as themselves
If we want to make strong connections, we’ve got to be ourselves. But being sincere is way harder than it sounds.
It’s not that we go out of our way to lie or be something we’re not. The problem is that the fear of social rejection is real.
Experts suspect it’s hard-wired into us as an evolutionary thing. That’s why the brain reads it in the same way as it does physical pain.
The bottom line is that not being liked can hurt.
So is it any wonder that we’re focused on making a good impression, or second-guessing what others may be thinking of us?
But the real kicker is that this prevents us from showing the vulnerability needed to truly connect.
Because in the words of vulnerability researcher and author Brené Brown: “to connect, we have to allow ourselves to be seen.”
6) Yes, they’re open but they’re also appropriate
Ok, so what the heck does that mean?
What I’m trying to say is that they’re familiar but not over-familiar.
It can be a tricky balance to achieve. That’s why it takes plenty of emotional intelligence.
It demands reading the room. It requires tapping into someone else’s tone and matching it.
How we behave in some circumstances isn’t always going to be a good idea in others.
We have to share ourselves if we want to form new friendships. But we also need to intuitively know what’s TMI.
If you’re crass, dish all your secrets, or come on too strong initially it can scare people away.
The most likable people tread a fine line between revealing what you need to know about them, without oversharing.
7) They’re positive and have a zest for life
I’ve had friends in the past who have a very negative outlook on life, but they have quickly fallen by the wayside.
Because negative people are quite frankly a drag to be around. That might sound cruel, but it’s true.
That doesn’t mean being a fair-weather friend. Of course, part of true friendship is being there for each other through the bad and good.
We all experience hard times and we don’t have to put a brave face on and strive for “positive vibes only”.
But what we’re talking about here is different. It’s about your mindset and your approach.
It’s this that dictates whether you sit around complaining or if you’re solution focused.
It defines whether you take a glass-half-full or half-empty attitude.
Positivity is good for both our physical and mental health. So it stands to reason that positive people attract more friends.
8) They’re non-judgmental
The most agreeable types of people in this world take a live-and-let-live approach.
Don’t confuse that with lacking beliefs and opinions of their own. It’s more that they don’t feel any need to push those on others.
What’s more, they’re interested to hear about different ideas and approaches.
It doesn’t feel threatening to them when someone sees things another way. They value diversity and see it as a fascinating part of the rich tapestry of life.
That helps them to connect with all sorts of different people from all walks of life.
Rather than jump to conclusions, they will take the time to understand someone and get to know them first.
Judgmental people instantly limit themselves through their assumptions and rigid views.
9) They’re proactive
You meet someone you’d love to be friends with. Do you ask them to hang out, or do you wait for them to?
Do you worry it’s creepy, weird, or pushy if you made the move to start a new friendship?
In the past, one of the biggest obstacles to me making friends has been my mind-made negative storytelling.
I’d say to myself that maybe they don’t want to hang out again. Or I’d read into the fact I hadn’t heard from them in a while.
So instead of reaching out, I’d think the worst and do nothing. Really this was just a reflection of my own faltering self-esteem.
People who make friends easily are proactive. They don’t overthink, they act instead.
They fall back on their self-belief to make a concerted effort to meet new people.
10) They know how to listen and don’t hog the conversation
Yes, being funny or the life and soul of the party can make you incredibly popular. But there is a far more humble trait that holds more weight.
And that’s being a good listener.
When it comes to being likable, time and time again, being an attentive listener makes the list.
It goes back to what we said before about us preferring people who seem interested in us. So we appreciate it when someone gives us the space to talk about ourselves.
Researchers have noted that in new situations we have a tendency to jabber on about ourselves.
But this also backfires.
Perhaps it can make us seem a bit conceited because the more we draw attention back upon ourselves, the more our likability decreases.
It’s good news when you think about it.
It means that rather than dazzling potential new friends, you just need to zip it and give them the floor!
Final thoughts: A so-called “people person” simply has a high EQ
If you’re a bit of a people person, you’re really showing that you have high emotional intelligence.
Because all your most appealing qualities highlight an awareness, understanding, and respect for others as well as yourself.
It’s this finely-tuned sensitivity that helps people make friends really easily.