Do you find that people gravitate towards you? Confide in you? Approach you about things they wouldn’t speak to others about?
If so, you might be engaging in simple, everyday behaviors that signal safety and comfort to those around you.
From the way you listen to the subtleties of your body language, these little things can make a world of difference in how people feel in your company.
In this article, we’ll delve into some of these unintentional, yet powerful actions you might be taking that make people feel safe around you.
Let’s dive in:
1) You exhibit consistent behavior
People like consistency.
That’s one thing I’ve learned over the years – if you’re turbulent and up and down in your moods and actions, other people don’t know how to behave around you. And unpredictability leads to fear.
But if you’re fairly consistent in everything you do, it gives other people the space to feel safe around you.
Put it this way – they know you won’t suddenly flip a table over because they bring up a sensitive subject. You’re level-headed and that brings them comfort and predictability.
2) You practice active listening
Listening, and I mean really listening, is an incredibly powerful way to make people feel safe around you.
You might not have realized you’re doing it, but if you:
- Maintain eye contact
- Avoid interrupting
- Ask thoughtful questions
- Switch off distractions
You’re exhibiting active listening. This is where you give someone your full attention when they speak.
So why does this make people feel so safe?
Essentially, you’re showing them you value and care about what they have to say. You don’t brush them off or give more importance to your TV or phone, and that says a lot.
3) You maintain open body language
Another thing you don’t realize you’re doing but makes others feel safe around you is your body language…
Think about it:
Are you relaxed? Smiley? Comfortable in your own skin?
All these things instantly put others at ease.
On the other hand, if you tend to hunch over, avoid making eye contact or smiling, and cross your arms and legs …you’d put people off from approaching you.
So if you recognize the former body language in yourself, there’s a good chance you’re doing the right things to make people feel safe to be around you.
4) You have a non-judgmental attitude
When someone comes to you with a problem, or a new partner, or a new business idea, how do you react?
Is it to listen with an open mind? Or to instantly start pulling faces and looking for flaws?
My bet is that you keep an open mind. This makes people feel like they can tell you anything and you won’t judge them.
That’s why you may find people come to you with their issues, secrets, or dreams, rather than to others who might be less receptive.
5) You show empathy
As well as being non-judgmental, you probably don’t realize you’re showing empathy either.
It comes naturally to you to sympathize with others and validate their feelings.
Even when you haven’t been in their exact situation, you can still understand how they must feel, and that makes people feel extremely comfortable around you.
They know that no matter what they’re going through, you’ll be there to support them emotionally.
6) You are reliable
When I think of those few people I genuinely feel safe around, there’s one thing they’ve all got in common:
So if you do your utmost to keep to your word and follow through on your commitments, just know that people find you safe to be around because you build trust with them.
Every time they rely on you and you show up for them, you’re solidifying the fact that they can turn to you in their time of need.
7) You keep matters confidential
I don’t know about you, but blabbermouths don’t usually come to mind when I think about someone whom I trust and feel safe to speak to.
If you’re the type who holds information in and never spreads it, it’s no wonder people are drawn to you!
No matter how small or big the information is, you respect their right to privacy.
And you value the fact that they’ve chosen you to come to – even though you may not realize you’re doing it, you’re proving to be trustworthy and respectful.
Talking about respect…
8) You respect boundaries
If someone doesn’t want to talk about something, you don’t push them.
If they don’t want to go somewhere or do something, you respect that.
This creates an environment where people don’t feel pressured or forced into doing things against their will.
I have a friend who is pretty bad at respecting my boundaries, and I’ve noticed that I go to her less and less.
On the other hand, those friends who never push their agenda on me and accept me as I am, well, I always feel safe around them.
9) You have a calm demeanor
Now, another thing you don’t realize you do that goes a long way in making people feel safe around you is being calm.
There’s nothing wrong with being loud, jovial, or excited, but generally, we equate “safe” with “calm”.
You’re likely the chilled person in the group, the one that has fun but keeps things real. You’re not hectic or bouncing all over the show.
Even when you speak, you do so in a way that soothes people and reassures them.
10) You provide positive reinforcement
Imagine if every time you went to speak to somebody, they criticized you. How would you feel?
Probably not very good about yourself.
Now think about how you respond to people. Do you big them up? Make them feel good about themselves? Use plenty of positive reinforcement and give lots of good feedback?
In doing this, you’re unknowingly creating a trusting bond. You make people feel better about themselves and as a result, they want to be around you more.
You become their safe space.
11) You make appropriate eye contact
I mentioned eye contact earlier and how important it is when listening to people.
But let’s dive into it a bit further:
When it comes to it, making the right amount of eye contact is critical. You don’t want to stare into people’s eyes for too long as this can be intimidating.
Alternatively, you don’t want to look around the room or focus on the mole by their chin rather than reach people’s eyes during conversation.
This can make you seem uninterested or insecure.
So if you keep enough eye contact for people to know you’re listening, but not too much that it freaks them out, you’re probably doing a good job of making them feel safe around you.
12) You take a genuine interest in others
The other day, my husband told me that I have a knack for making other people feel important.
Apparently, the fact that I’m so interested in even the mundane little things makes people warm to me very quickly.
I hadn’t realized I was doing that – secretly I just thought it was the nosy journalist inside me at work!
But you see, showing an interest is a powerful way of connecting with others.
And if you find yourself asking lots of questions and becoming truly engaged in what other people say, it’s just another thing you do to create a safe environment.
13) You use inclusive language
Think back to your last few conversations – did you use “I” or “We” predominantly?
If you used “We” then it’s another thing you’re doing to make people feel safe around you. You’re not singling them out, your language makes them feel part of a wider community.
Instead of saying, “You should really work out more,” you might say, “We should get a fitness regime going, what do you say?”
This creates a sense of unity. A feeling of, “We’re all in it together.”
So there we have it – 13 things you never realized you were doing that put others at ease around you.
I have to say, creating a safe place for others is a beautiful thing to do.
If you recognize yourself in these signs, keep it up. The world needs more people like you!