This Is Why I Want To Be Your Friend

May 14, 2012

I never knew likeability played such a huge role in how the world goes around. Hey, everybody knows they enjoy being around people they like, but I don’t think many of us consider why, or for that matter, try to be more likeable ourselves.

Some people might say working on being more likeable is caring too much about what other people think and working to please others. I disagree. I think being likeable is an absolute necessity for successful living. Here is why.

Think of it this way. You go in for an interview. You dress in a blue shirt and dark grey pants. Your shoes are shined to a perfect gloss. Your teeth are freshly whitened and glow when you smile. Your stylish leather Saddleback bag is draped over your shoulder and you feel great! Your introduction speech is perfectly memorized; your resume, flawless. You are confident you will get the job.

When you arrive exactly 10 minutes early you sharply introduce yourself to the secretary who gives you a blank stare. You take your seat.

As you look to your left you see another interviewee walk through the door. He is dressed in the exact same outfit, blue shirt and dark grey pants, and of all things, is carrying the same awesome leather bag as you. His shoes are also shiny and when he smiles, you can see his straight white teeth gleam in the light.

You watch him as he goes up to introduce himself to the secretary. He speaks kindly and says something to the woman who is suddenly smiling from ear to ear. They chat lightheartedly and you can’t believe this is the same woman who gave you a blank stare just moments earlier.

As he sits down he strikes up conversation with the guy next to him and within moments they are laughing heartily together. They are having so much fun talking that you move a little closer, you want to hear what they are talking about. 

You begin to wonder who this guy is and although you want to dislike him because he is your competition, you actually almost want him to get the job because he seems so… likeable.

You are soon called in to your interview and it goes flawlessly. You are confident you will get the job. You have all the credentials and experience. It doesn’t matter that you really didn’t hit it off with the boss, he was as boring as a brick. Surely they would hire you based on your experience anyway.

As you leave, you watch the other guy enter the room, within seconds you hear laughter. That was the boss whom you had just labeled as “boring as a brick” laughing. “Humph,” you say to yourself. You shrug your shoulders and walk out.

The next day you get a call saying that you didn’t get the job. 

Outraged you ask “why?” You explain that you had all the right credentials (ok, so maybe you wouldn’t say this, but for stories’ sake… you do) The secretary answered quickly, “You didn’t get the job because they liked the other guy better.”

Likeability is powerful. 

I am just beginning to explore the reaches of it, but am realizing that it plays a huge role in all the inner workings of our society, from who becomes president to how much tip you decide to leave for your waitress.

Likeability (being likeable and liking yourself) is even connected with living longer and having fewer illnesses. Basically it is a life or death issue! That may sound a bit over the top, but think about it.

Think of who you like to be around and why.

Think of why you tipped that cab driver more than you ever have any other driver.

Think of why you always go back to your favorite coffee shop.

Think of why you buy from that small dealer rather than the big one who sells the same thing for less.

Think of why you call one friend quicker than another.

Think of why you are always drawn to read one person’s blog versus another one.

I think you will find it all comes down to likeability.

Isn’t that interesting?

Question: What features make the people you like being around so very likeable?

p.s. For more on this topic, I suggest “The Likeability Factor” by Tim Sanders. It’s a book I’m listening to right now and am thoroughly enjoying it!

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  • Joe Lalonde May 14, 2012 at 6:40 am

    You nailed it Claudia. We often think it’s our credentials that should land us our jobs and more. Yet it’s that factor of likeability.

    The likeability factors that I look for are smiling/happy, open to new conversations, a starter, etc.

    • Claudia Good May 14, 2012 at 8:07 pm

      Are these traits you yourself have? From the little bit I know you… I would guess that they are 🙂

      • Joe Lalonde May 14, 2012 at 8:27 pm


        I do my best to practice those traits. It’s been something I had to practice and work on as I was taught it was knowledge and skills that created that likeability factor. For the last 10 or so years it’s been disciplining myself to practice and carry out these traits.

  • Ann Musico May 14, 2012 at 7:13 am

    Wonderful Claudia and I heartily agree!! Here’s an illustration from my life right now – the man I used to work for lost his license. He has been accused of doing unlawful things. He was extremely disorganized and a bit lazy. However, he was unfailing respectful of me personally and we had many very good conversations. I didn’t like how he ran his business – but I truly did like him. The man who took over is very successful, extremely organized and “by the book.” The business will more than likely do well and there will not be any legal problems. However, he is arrogant, talks down to people and must always be right – whether he is or not. I don’t like him and I don’t enjoy working for him very much. It takes so little effort to be personable – but some people just don’t have it in them, it seems. Likeability is definitely important.

    • Claudia Good May 14, 2012 at 5:35 pm

      Isn’t that interesting!
      I’m sorry to hear that you lost your more likeable boss! A good boss can make a job so very enjoyable and a bad boss so very un-enjoyable.
      … and you are right, it takes so little to be personable! People don’t realize that it actually benefits them in the end to be nice to others… they just think about how they feel in the moment and let that determine how they treat others.

      Thanks for sharing your story here Ann. Truly hope the situation gets better for you!

  • AnnetteDarityGarber May 14, 2012 at 9:13 am

    The people I gravitate to are those who make others feel great by listening to them and asking thoughtful questions; they also usually laugh easily and are generally optimistic about life and others. These people tend to attract a lot of other people to them as well, because as you said, they are just so likable! Personally, I think the number one factor that makes someone likable is their ability to make others feel “liked.” 🙂

    • Claudia Good May 14, 2012 at 8:10 pm

      Indeed Annette dear,
      I think you are so right! You and your family are amazing at this… and I think it shows in the following of friends/fans you all have 😉

      • AnnetteDarityGarber May 15, 2012 at 1:31 pm

        Thanks, Claudi!

  • Cindy Hirch May 14, 2012 at 11:19 am

    Claudia – a kind word, being friendly, respectful and not arrogant, and showing others that you are truly interested in them goes a long way. Those folks are remembered. You may be the best dresser and have the perfect look, but it doesn’t mean anything if you don’t treat others well.

    • Claudia Good May 14, 2012 at 4:57 pm

      Really true! The ones you remember are the people that made you feel special and took time to treat you with kindness. Funny, sometimes you only meet them for a minute, but you remember them for a lifetime! 🙂

  • Alana Mokma May 14, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    Love this topic and post! I was just discussing this with a few friends last week. I am an interior designer, and there are two flooring shops right next door to each other. I used to go into both every time I had a new design job to work on. Then… I began to notice a difference in customer service. The first shop barely gave me a few minutes of their time. The second began to greet me by name (almost ALL the employees knew my name AND pronounced it correctly – BIG deal). They would also ask me about my personal endeavors and we began to develop a deeper relationship. Now, I will not even step foot into the first shop unless I have to and I rave and rave about the great customer service at the second shop! Similar product, ENTIRELY different level of service.

    I have another book on a similar topic you may be interested in if you haven’t checked it out yet. I just finished the audio this morning. It is called, Winning with People by John C. Maxwell. He mentioned that in the work or church place, when people are assembling teams for a particular project, they seek out the people they LIKE and would enjoy working with!

    This was quite the wake-up call for me because I am a generally likeable person, however in my current workplace, I have allowed my (bad) attitude to overshadow who I really am and my true hearts desire to be helpful and positive change. I have noticed that I am being invited less and less to work on projects within my office and in turn, I am being handed the crappy projects where I mostly work alone… which in turn makes me more agitated because my strength is to work in teams.

    SO, this topic is spot-on for me right now. 🙂 Thank you for sharing your take on it as well!

    • Claudia Good May 14, 2012 at 4:55 pm

      Wow… cool story about the flooring shops. Did you ever ask the second shop what their mission statement was? I would be curious seeing that they functioned at such a high level of customer service. Very interesting…. I love that stuff.

      How do people usually pronounce your name??

      It is so easy to gravitate towards a bad attitude… I think it is most peoples default mode… which is sad. That is neat, however, that you had the insight to see this within yourself and work towards change! Have you been getting some not so “crappy” projects since you started this change?

      • Alana Mokma May 15, 2012 at 7:06 am

        I haven’t yet asked the second company about their mission statement, but I should! Now I’m curious if that has something to do with it. The topic came up in conversation because I was talking to a past employee from the first shop (that had poor customer service). He mentioned that they have always been understaffed, so that may be part of the issue that as a client, I did not realize.

        My name gets pronounced many different ways. haha. The most common is: uh-lahh-nuh. I usually tell others it is pronounced uh-lane-nuh. 🙂

        My change in attitude has only been over the past week – and I am still working on it, so unfortunately I have not seen much change yet… however I do now realize this has a lot to do with the types of projects I’ve been getting. So, I’m continuing to work on it. 🙂

  • Michael Wright May 16, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    Lots to think on here! We are want to be liked, but are we willing to put the effort to be likeable?

    Speaking as an introvert, trying to socialize and be outgoing can sometimes seem like a task. I thrive on one on one time, which is where I like to reach out to others. Dale Carnegie was right on – a hallmark of relationships is becoming genuinely interested in other people. It’s a work in progress.

    I think that is why so many like (no – LOVE) wholeheartedhuman.com – you two are so darn likeable to begin with. The content is the topping on the ice cream.

    • Claudia Good May 19, 2012 at 11:37 am

      hahahaha thanks Michael!!!

      My Michael and I were talking about the introvert/ socializing thing just a couple of days ago… because he is energized as well when he is by himself… I think introverts can have many, many friends… they just don’t like the big group aspect or lots of people at once. This however doesn’t mean that they can’t have an active social life or make an impact on lots of people.

      My social “I” wiring seems to do battle with my introvert “C” on an almost daily basis… so I understand the struggle 😉

      I especially thrive on a few very close/trusted friendships…

      • Ryan Ash May 23, 2012 at 1:16 am

        I’m going to have to agree with @fatherofonesite:disqus here! I do LOVE you guys blog, and I’m so glad that we connected what seems like forever ago!

        I didn’t realize that you were an I/C mix. I’m primarily I/D, but I’ve got a LOT of C in me too, so sometimes I get really confused about myself. 😉