The last ten days of my life have been interesting, to say the least, and highly thought-provoking, to put a positive spin on this period of time.
I’ve been quarantined in a hotel room in Rome, overlooking the playground of a children’s daycare center, waiting to test negative from Covid so I can fly back home.
During these ten days, I’ve missed my wedding anniversary, my wife’s birthday, my daughter’s birthday, a speaking engagement in Aruba, and so much more. I want to get back to my life.
However, I’ve made the best of it and learned a great deal by just watching these little children play, fight, and interact. And I’ve been reminded that everyone wants to be liked, but not everyone knows how to do that.
So that’s my focus of today’s Tuesday Tip: How to Be Liked Wherever You Go
► 1. Make it a habit to show kindness every day.
Whether it’s your customer, your coworker, someone at home, or another kid on the playground, simply ask yourself, “What can I do right now to make that person’s life a little better?”
Maybe you listen to that other person for thirty seconds, give a compliment, help carry a package, or find a telephone number. Just do something to brighten that person’s world. You’ll almost always be liked a little bit more for doing so.
Take on the kindness challenge. For one day this week, show a little kindness to every person you meet. That’s right … every person. That includes a passerby in the hallway, a clerk at the gas pump, your newest prospect, a long-time customer, and each of your friends and family that cross your path. Watch their response. They’re going to like you.
I’m sure you remember the most famous line in the movie, Field of Dreams: If you build it, they will come.
Likewise, if you bring in the treats, they will come … towards you … towards liking you even more. I noticed that happening while watching the kids in my Roman playground. Any kid willing to share their treats was not lacking for companionship.
The same is true for you, no matter what your job is. You could bring in donuts for the night shift personnel in the morning as they get off work. You could treat your coworkers to pizza for lunch. You could watch for the postal carrier or the custodian and offer them a cold drink. You could offer a cup of coffee to someone in uniform and say “Thank you.”
There’s always something you can do. Even if you’re a truck driver with a cooler full of cold drinks, you could pass them out as you pass by other coworkers in the warehouse.
Better yet, bring in treats when no one expects it, when it’s not your “turn.” Bring in treats just because you want to brighten someone’s day.
► 3. Greet more people.
Most people want to be liked. Most people want to be noticed. So greet more people, whether or not you feel like it … if indeed your long-term goal is to be more liked by others.
There are lots of ways to do this. You could try to make eye contact, smile, and say hello to more people as you go down the hall or street. You could surprise your team members by greeting them at the door, shaking their hands, and thanking them for being a part of the team.
Try calling a team member (or anyone, for that matter) who has been sick, just to see how they are.
Ask a person that is sitting alone in the company cafeteria if you could join them for lunch. Or ask a new person each week to take a walk with you on their lunch hour so you can get more acquainted.
This past week as I’ve watched the children play, I’ve noticed some new kids showing up. Of course they’re scared, not knowing anyone, but the one or two kids that go over to greet the new kids are immediately liked. The same thing will happen for you when you greet new coworkers, neighbors, or people who show up at your events.
Now I realize if you greet more people, or even greet the same people more frequently at work, for example, there will always be some people who will never greet you back, no matter how kind you are. There will always be a few people out there who get their kicks … and lots of attention … for being a sourpuss. Greet them anyway. Don’t let them have the final say in how you’re going to behave!
You greet others because it’s the right thing to do, not necessarily the easy thing to do. Whoever said being liked was going to be easy?
► 4. Find something in common.
To some extent, we all feel a bit alone, that we don’t fit in. So another great way to be liked is to find something you and the other person has in common.
I learned this when I was 18 and spent the summer hitchhiking through Europe by myself. It was a great adventure, but it was a lonely adventure until I stumbled upon this technique of finding something in common with whomever I met.
If I came across another hitchhiker, I would ask where he or she was headed. If I heard an American accent, I would ask which state they were from. If I checked into a youth hostel, I would ask the receptionist how long he or she had been doing that job and would share my experience as a hotel desk clerk. It worked like magic. We both liked each other a bit more and the conversation flowed more easily.
When you are first meeting someone, look for a connector. Perhaps the two of you grew up in the same part of the country or are both avid football fans. Comment on that. Instant rapport and liking is built on a foundation of common experience. So find one connector and then another and another.
As I’ve been watching the kids in the Roman playground and hearing them talk (I have no idea what they’re talking about because I don’t understand Italian), I’ve seen this technique work time and again. Two kids may be interacting somewhat calmly and nonchalantly until one of them mentions something that evokes an enthusiastic scream, giggle, laugh, or Si Si. All of a sudden, they found something in common and their likeability factor goes way up.
Final Thought: People want to be around people they know, like and trust. They even want to buy from them and marry them. Now you’ve got four more ways to be more liked