“Just be yourself.”
It’s the advice that we’re always given in new situations or when we’re keen to make a good impression.
But being yourself isn’t easy for everyone.
Yet authenticity is highly prized.
It has a huge impact on everything from our own happiness and wellbeing, to the relationships we forge with others.
Here are some strong signs you’ve nailed sincerity, and people love you for it!
1) Who you are inside and how you act on the outside consistently match up
It sounds such a simple thing. And it is. Yet so many people in the world can’t say the same.
Wearing masks becomes a habit.
We put them on to protect ourselves from others. We wear them to try to be what we think someone wants us to be.
We may have a professional mask, a family mask, a dating mask, a new friend’s mask, and even an old friend’s mask.
As a consequence, we almost become two separate people. The real us and the one we show to others.
Genuine people have only one.
What you see is what you get.
If you have mastered this, then no doubt people appreciate you for it.
It helps them to know where they stand, and as we’ll see next. it helps them to be themselves too.
2) You don’t put on airs and graces
You radiate a warmth that others can feel.
You behave the same around everyone, no matter who they are.
When we show up as ourselves, rather than desperate to impress, it does something remarkable.
It gives others permission to do the same.
That instantly puts them at ease.
It signals to them that it is a safe space where they too can be whoever they are.
Understandably, this makes someone incredibly likable.
3) You don’t try to be perfect
You have the self-acceptance and strength to acknowledge your own flaws.
When someone tries too hard to hide these sorts of things in an attempt to win favor, it usually has the opposite effect.
Rather than increasing our admiration, they actually come across as less likable. Because we just don’t buy it. Our intuition senses that it’s fake.
Because we know that nobody is perfect.
So anyone who tries to present this sort of polished image of themselves seems arrogant and fraudulent as opposed to faultless.
4) You’re able to show vulnerability
There’s an interesting phenomenon known as the beautiful mess effect.
It highlights the intriguing mismatch between how we perceive vulnerability in others compared to how we see it in ourselves.
Things like confessing romantic feelings, asking for help, or owning up to a mistake leave us fearful, but we admire it in others.
In the words of vulnerability researcher Brené Brown:
“We love seeing raw truth and openness in other people, but we are afraid to let them see it in us … Vulnerability is courage in you and inadequacy in me.”
You are brave enough to be vulnerable with others, and they appreciate that in you, even when they cannot find the strength to do the same.
5) Others open up to you quite quickly
We make a first impression about someone incredibly quickly.
In fact, you may be surprised to hear that it can happen in one-tenth of a second.
We get an intuitive “vibe” about others and this split decision then steers the course of our remaining conversation with them.
Others seem to get a good feeling about you very quickly. And that means they start to feel comfortable almost straight away.
It’s like they can sense that letting their guard down around you is safe.
So you may find that they tell you quite private or personal things early in your relationship.
You are the one who people frequently turn to, and you are the keeper of many a secret.
6) You’re honest, but still tactful
It can feel like a fine line we have to tread.
Honesty is almost universally valued by others.
After all, there is no trust without truth.
But go around blurting out harsh realities wherever you go, and you will quickly realize it won’t win you many popularity contests.
Being a sincere person requires authenticity and honesty. But being a likable person demands that is navigated with tact and diplomacy.
You have a knack for this. It means that people come to value your upfront opinions as they are still delivered with thoughtfulness.
7) You have a lot of empathy
If there’s one trait above all others that helps us to navigate relationships much better it’s empathy.
As Pope Francis once said:
“This capacity for empathy leads to a genuine encounter – we have to progress toward this culture of encounter – in which heart speaks to heart.”
Hearts can speak to hearts with far greater ease when they can understand one another.
Empathy allows us to not just recognize someone else’s feelings, but to also share in them.
No wonder that leads to more trusting and meaningful connections.
This often demands an open mind and an unjudgmental attitude.
8) You always try to leave your ego at the door
And that’s so much easier said than done.
Because most of us have a bit of an ego that likes to rear its head from time to time.
I can see when mine comes out to play, and I confess, it’s ugly.
I’ve noticed something:
Some of the most likable people I’ve ever met have one thing in common:
They don’t have to be right all the time.
They don’t feel the need to hog the attention.
They aren’t overly concerned with how they look.
They are just humbly themselves and are sure to make room for others. They are able to keep their ego in check.
9) You are very self-aware
Without self-awareness, we’re far more likely to rub people up the wrong way.
Because it’s this consciousness around who we are, what we say, how we behave, and importantly, how others react, that allows us to be more socially aware too.
Rather than remain in your own little world, you’re better placed to think about and respond to the needs of others.
Relationships are in many ways a dance with each other.
We have to be aware of the moves we are making, and simultaneously those of our dance partner.
This allows for more graceful and tuned-in interactions. And in the process, helps us to avoid inadvertently treading on toes!
10) You’re respectful of boundaries
All healthy connections hinge on the often unspoken lines that need to be navigated.
Cross them, and others quickly lose trust and respect for you.
Pushy people, those who invade your space, the one’s who don’t seem to listen to what you’re telling them…
It’s no wonder we find them less likable.
Whilst some people remain painfully ignorant of boundaries, genuine people pick up on cues and instinctively know not to break people’s rules.
11) You take a real interest in others and aren’t afraid to go deep
Research shows that people who ask questions are more likable.
That’s because it shows someone that you are interested in them.
You are clearly making an effort to get to know them and what makes them tick.
But this isn’t some trick you’ve learned. It’s not a carefully crafted tactic to try to win friends and influence people.
It’s part of your curious nature. And that makes all the difference.
You show up to conversations with fascination rather than trying to force polite small talk.
It means it becomes effortless for you to start meaningful talks that dig deeper below the surface.
12) You don’t mindlessly follow the crowd or agree with everything other people say
Here’s where people who want to be liked so often go wrong:
They fall into people pleasing.
And in the process, they lose their own identity.
But how can someone really like and value you, if they’re not seeing the real you?
It can feel risky to stay true to ourselves when we think it isn’t going to be the popular choice.
It’s brave to speak up when you think your opinion isn’t going to be shared by the majority.
But it’s important if we are to give a real representation. And the truth is that others simply don’t respect a so-called “yes man” (or woman).
It’s fear that keeps us faking
I try to be as genuine as possible. I value the qualities and way of living that come with authenticity.
But there are certainly times when I fall down.
I think that’s pretty normal.
Fear teaches us to hide our true selves. We may worry about rejection or that we are not simply “enough” as we are.
That’s why greater self-love and self-acceptance can become the key to growing authenticity in all of us.