7 signs you have great people skills (and how to develop them)

We sometimes include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate disclosure.

Everybody likes a so-called people person.

Much of human evolution has been built around this sense of fitting in and learning to get along.

So it’s no wonder that strong social skills can carry us far in life. They give us influence, power, respect, and that all-important likability factor.

But what are the signs that you already have great people skills?

Let’s find out!

1) You know how to really listen to others so that they feel heard

Many of us like to think we’re good listeners, but most of us aren’t.

The stats prove it:

One survey found as many as 96% of people believe they’re a good listener. But meanwhile, research found people tend to only retain about half of what someone tells them.

Clearly, there’s a mismatch going on somewhere.

How many of us have cursed our memory for “forgetting” someone’s name when we’ve just been told it?

But is it really our memory at fault or could it be our listening skills?

Listening is about more than just keeping schtum whilst someone else talks.

It needs to be something active, rather than passive.

It’s about effectively taking in what someone says and being able to reflect that back to them so they feel heard.

How to hone your skill:

  • Aim to be fully present in the conversation at hand and avoid external distractions
  • Quieten your internal dialogue and resist the urge to rehearse your response in your head whilst someone else is talking.
  • Show that you are listening by nodding your head, keeping eye contact, using mirroring mannerisms, and giving appropriate facial expressions in response to what they say
  • Use silences effectively, rather than rushing to jump in and say something straight away

2) You are warm and approachable

 Warmth can feel like a tricky quality to put your finger on.

What really defines a “warm” character?

Because at first glance, it can seem more like an energy than a tangible action someone carries out.

Research has suggested that many people who naturally have this warmth are extroverts.

But when you dig deeper warmth comes from the way you carry yourself and approach others. That means introverts can just as easily adopt the same behaviors that give this impression.

It’s the sense of friendliness, openness, enthusiasm, and affection toward people that characterizes this image. 

How to hone your skill:

  • Use open and friendly body language, have good eye contact, and smile
  • Use someone’s name in conversation with them to show recognition and respect
  • Remember your manners — please and thank you really do go a long way
  • Treat others as equals regardless of your or their “status”
  • Build your own inner confidence so you can show up with greater sincerity and ease
  • Work on your empathy skills (yes, it is a skill that can be built!)
  • Be willing to share yourself with others and show greater vulnerability

3) You are willing to compromise so that others’ needs are included

I’m willing to bet that you have great people skills if you are known for being considerate and prepared to compromise.

It’s not your way or the highway. You’re a team player rather than focused on your own wants 24-7.

Self-centeredness isn’t a good look on anyone.

So it’s unsurprising that selfish and uncompromising people don’t win any awards in the social skills department.

Being able to compromise means that you think about how others perceive a problem or issue.

If we want to work well with others and have healthy relationships, everyone needs to feel like they have a voice.

How to hone your skill:

  • Build your listening skills so people feel heard and understood
  • Cultivate greater self-awareness to know what you will and will not compromise on
  • Develop your problem-solving skills to find new solutions for stalemates
  • Use the power of appreciation by expressing gratitude to others
  • Let go of grudges and don’t hold on to resentment
  • Cultivate a growth mindset that’s open to change and new perspectives

4) You are not afraid of conflict but are delicate in navigating it

Of course, compromise doesn’t mean fully shying away from conflict.

I will openly admit, I suck at conflict sometimes.

I can feel so uncomfortable with disagreements that in the past I have attempted to avoid them at all costs.

I suspect that’s natural. Few of us enjoy discord. But the problem is that conflict is an inevitable part of life.

Avoiding it means you aren’t addressing problems, which means you’re not resolving them either.

Ultimately, good people skills are about more than just being liked.

Those with the best people skills do not run and hide from conflict, they use their expertise to approach the situation with compassion and tact.

How to hone your skill:

  • Separate your feelings from facts so you can leave your emotions out of it
  • Work on your emotional intelligence
  • Give credit where it is due and offer them recognition, praise, and compliments for it
  • Neutralize your language
  • Strive for solutions rather than “winning” at all cost

5) You take a sincere interest in people and try to get to know them

Curiosity is a vital, yet all too often overlooked, element to having good people skills.

It’s a fact of life that we like people who take an interest in us.


Not because we’re egomaniacs. But because we are all looking for connection and we all want to feel valued and interesting.

That’s why the crux of people skills comes down to simply trying to get to know someone. That way it’s easy to understand and empathize with them.

In more practical terms, the best way to use that curiosity is by asking questions.

Research has highlighted how asking plenty of questions is the simple secret ingredient to being viewed favorably, and instantly increases likeability.

How to hone your skill:

  • Make it your mission to find out 3 interesting things about someone
  • Play a game and try to find common ground even with people who seem so different to you
  • Try to observe things other people may overlook about someone
  • After asking a question, use follow-up questions to show you are interested and paying attention

6) You aren’t quick to criticize or jump to conclusions

In an imperfect world where we all make mistakes, cutting others some slack goes a long way.

That doesn’t mean accepting poor behavior or ignoring issues that need addressing. But it does mean taking your time before going in full steam ahead with any critique or “feedback”.

Nobody needs mistakes rubbed in their faces or lorded over them.

We all are prone to defensiveness when we feel attacked or judged.

As the saying goes, you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. So staying open-minded tends to benefit you and your relationships with others.

Hone your skills:

  • Keep a check on your ego and be alert for when it tries to be “right”
  • Try to look for the good in someone, even when it’s not instantly apparent
  • Aim to take other people’s behavior less personally
  • Ditch perfectionist tendencies and remember everyone gets it wrong occasionally
  • Be responsible for your own expectations rather than placing them on others
  • Think before your speak — because as we’ll see next, there can be a big difference between what we mean to say, and how it’s received!

7) You realize it’s not just about what you say to others, it’s how you say it

Our people skills so often rest on our communication skills.

Speaking first and thinking later can be a recipe for misunderstandings.

As a naturally opinionated and forthright person, I’ve learned this the hard way.

That’s not to say we can’t and shouldn’t be straightforward and honest in the way we speak with others.

But we need to remember that in a conversation there is always:

  • What you mean to say (how it sounds in your head)
  • What you do say (the language and tone you use to get your point across)
  • How that is interpreted and received by someone else hearing it

Because here’s the thing:

Conversation may be just words, but good communication involves the effective transferring of thoughts into words — and that’s much more.

How to hone your skill:

  • Practice what you want to say or write it down
  • Be mindful of what your body language is “saying”
  • Be clear and concise
  • Check your tone of voice
  • Remember your listening skills
  • Strive to take on board positive feedback
  • Avoid misunderstandings over text by having face-to-face or phone conversations

To conclude: A good rule of thumb is to simply ask how you like to be treated

For some of us, people skills just seem to come naturally. But for others, we can fret about how to behave or worry about how well-liked we are.

Sadly, I’m the latter not the former.

But the good news is that it doesn’t need to be so complicated. Rather than overthink it, if in doubt, remember that old adage:

Treat others how you would wish to be treated.

We all want to feel heard, respected, valued, welcomed, and not judged. And this is what those of us with the greatest people skills strive to bring to others.

Did you like my article? Like me on Facebook to see more articles like this in your feed.

Tina Fey

I'm Tina Fey, the founder of the blog Love Connection. I've extremely passionate about sharing relationship advice. I've studied psychology and have my Masters in marital, family, and relationship counseling. I hope with all my heart to help you improve your relationships, and I hope that even if one thing I write helps you, it means more to me than just about anything else in the world. Check out my blog Love Connection, and if you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter

10 things women can do to attract men, rather than chase them

10 habits of men who exude emotional intelligence and self-awareness