12 Science-Backed Ways to Get People to Like You

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Whether you’re looking to get a promotion at work or hoping to expand your social circle, your success can depend on whether you’re liked or not.

Research undertaken by the University of Massachusetts proved that likability really matters. The study found that auditors could get managers to comply with their suggestions (even if the manager didn’t agree with their proposals) as long as they were likeable.

Luckily being likeable isn’t just a natural talent that some people are born with; it’s a skill you can learn. Patrick King, author of The Science of Likability: 27 Studies says it’s possible to “Learn how to subconsciously make yourself seem likable, trustworthy, and intelligent”.

So how do we make ourselves more likeable? As always, the answer lies in the science.

To help you make a great impression with friends and colleagues, we’ve reviewed the research into what makes people popular and selected the best science-backed tips.

Did you know that there’s a thing called ‘spontaneous trait transference,’ where a compliment that you give another person can be associated with you as well? So not only do you get to look generous for giving out compliments, but you also get the boost of people applying those same compliment-worthy traits to you.

Studies have also shown that ‘reciprocity of liking’, which is when you make it obvious you like the person you’re talking to, makes it easier for them to like you back. So simply liking people can help you become more likeable.

Of course, body language can be an important part of making a good impression. Be sure to smile and maintain open hand and body language (no crossed arms!). This will convey that you are sincere and welcoming.

Getting people to like you may take a little effort, but being liked can help you become more successful at work and in your personal life. So check out these 12 tips that will help you show people just how great you really are.

12 Science-Backed Ways to Get People to Like You Infographic


  1. Fanning, Kirsten and Piercey, M. David. (2014) Internal Auditors’ Use of Interpersonal Likability, Arguments, and Accounting Information in a Corporate Governance Setting. papers.ssrn.com
  2. King, P. (2017) The Science of Likability: 27 Studies to Master Charisma, Attract Friends, Captivate People, and Take Advantage of Human Psychology.
  3. 3. Newcomb, T. M. (1956) The prediction of interpersonal attraction. psycnet.apa.org
  1. Dale Carnegie Training. (2012) Dale Tip # 6: A person’s name is the sweetest sound. dalecarnegieboston.tumblr.com
  2. Chartrand, T. L., Brand, J.A. (1999) The Chameleon Effect: The Perception-Behavior Link And Social Interaction. faculty.fuqua.duke.edu
  3. Mae, L., Carlston, D. E., & Skowronski, J. J. (1999) Spontaneous trait transference to familiar communications: Is a little knowledge a dangerous thing? psycnet.apa.org
  4. Brodwin, E. (2015) These are the questions one writer says can make you fall in love with a stranger. businessinsider.com
  5. Cottrell, C.A., Neuberg, S.L., Li, N. P. (2007) What Do People Desire in Others? A Sociofunctional Perspective on the Importance of Different Valued Characteristics. library.smu.edu
  6. Treger, S. Sprecher, S. Erber, R. (2013) Laughing and liking: Exploring the interpersonal effects of humor use in initial social interactions. wiley.com
  7. Backman, C.W., Secord, P.F. (1959) The Effect of Perceived Liking on Interpersonal Attraction. journals.sagepub.com
  8. Vacharkulksemsuk, T., Reit, E. et al. (2016) Dominant, open nonverbal displays are attractive at zero-acquaintance. pnas.org
  9. Goulston, M., Ullmen, J. (2013) Are You Listening? amanet.org
  10. McGinley, H. McGinley, P, Nicholas, K. (1978) Smiling, body position, and interpersonal attraction. springer.com

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