Many of us strive to be “likeable”or “liked”.
Now, what does this really mean, and should it be something we should strive towards? And if so, how can we do it?
What does it mean to be liked?
A “likeness”means a similarity. To simply get others to “like”you isn’t about pleasing others; it is about having others see themselves in you.
Therefore when others “like”, you, they are seeing themselves in you. When others like you, it is generally because you share the same beliefs, morals, ethics, and world views as you.
Then comes the question:
Do you want to become more alike (similar) to others, or to become more dislike (dissimilar) to others?
We are not alike.
Truth is, you’re alike others, and you’re also dislike others. And from a very pragmatic perspective the benefit of having others like you:
You can get others to do what you want them to do.
For example if you want to rally your troops, you cannot have your troops dislike you. Or they won’t listen/obey you.
Furthermore if you want to persuade someone towards an certain view (or your view), you cannot persuade them if you aren’t liked by them.
In a nutshell, to get others to like you:
To appear to appear as more similar to others than dissimilar.
In-group vs Out-group
If you want to fit within a certain social group, there is a certain set of cultural norms, expectations, lingo, vocabulary, fashion, style, and approach.
For example the way I interact with scholars is different than how I interact with “hype beasts”(people really into street clothing and $500 sneakers). Also different how I’d interact with Rolex collectors, Porsche racers, or Hermès shoppers.
I think the secret is this:
Become a sociologist, and learn to chameleon into any shape or form.
Good old Ulysses from the Odyssey was seen as the “master of cunning and deceit”(in a good way). For Homer and the ancient Greeks, there was virtue in being able to lie, trick and deceive others (while having a clean conscience). This runs contrary to everything we learn in modern Judeo-Christian-Protestant morality.
What does it mean to be “clever”?
In many languages, to be seen as “clever”is seen as slightly negative.
In America, clever is generally seen as good — an individual, child, comedian, or someone who has “the keen ability to make novel connections, and take on innovative approaches”. But to be too clever is bad (then you become an annoying “smartass”).
Finding a connection with anyone else
I think this is what makes me a successful teacher, street photographer, and overall people-person:
I’m not afraid of strangers, and I am brazen and bold enough to discover an interesting connection with anybody else.
The strategy is this:
- Ask someone else a very open ended question (what’s your dreams in life, what’s your passions in life, what’s your life story?)
- Listen keenly
- Interject strategically and discover commonality or “common ground”with the other person.
How to be authentic
To be authentic means:
- Don’t censor yourself (even if it might rub others the wrong way or piss them off).
- Boldly speak “your own truth”(and what’s on your mind).
- Allow others to have their own opinions. No need to prove others “wrong”, as all truth is subjective.
- Strive to find something admirable in others.
The goal isn’t to have EVERYONE to like you.
If you want EVERYBODY on planet earth to like you:
Sit in a cave, do nothing, say nothing, and occasionally go out and help others with what they need help with, and self sacrifice yourself until the point that you end up dying (squeezed dry like a sponge).