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How to Be Universally Adored in Five Quick Steps

How to Be Universally Adored in Five Quick Steps

So you’re meeting someone new. Maybe it’s a job interview, coffee date, you’re at a party. You made it out, you’re looking fresh, and you want to make a brand new friend.

There are five steps you can use to make a guaranteed, fail-safe, foolproof good impression. They’re very simple, and best of all, they cost you nothing. Don’t pay for charisma classes and don’t buy people expensive gifts.

This is how you can demonstrate that you’re trustworthy, genuine, caring and passionate — all in less than five active minutes of time.

To me, this one is the most important and underrated thing you can do. Show up at the specified time.

When you’re late, what you’re telling the other person is, “My time is more important than yours.” Whether that’s your time watching llama videos on YouTube, or your time spent in traffic, you failed to plan for the distractions, delays, and disappointments that would make you late. That communicates a lack of trustworthiness and inconsiderateness to the person who’s forced to wait on you.

One of my friends purposefully showed up twenty minutes late to a date because he misguidedly wanted to make a good first impression. He was worried that if he was on time, he’d seem too keen.

Newsflash: if you’re on a date with another person, pretending like you don’t care about them is Not Cool. We’re not in middle school anymore, folks.

No surprises, there was no second date.

That being said, it’s important to note that “on time” is different for different events. Being “on time” for a party means 10–15 minutes after the specified time (because the host will almost always be running late). Being “on time” for a date is 5–10 minutes early, same as a job interview.Never make them wait for you. Being “on time” to meet your friends is around the specified time, though I’d say you have a five minute window either side.

Err on the side of caution. Always plan to leave five to ten minutes earlier than you actually have to be out the door, because the unspoken rule of being on time is that things always take longer than you think they will.

Arrive when you said you would, and you’ll already tick the first box: proving that you value and respect their time.

This one is my least favorite, because I’m super awkward. I struggle to know when is too long (don’t want to seem too intense) and when’s too short (untrustworthy?).

So I Googled it: 3.3 seconds. Just enough time to shake hands and say “Hi, how are you?”

Three point three seconds is the optimal amount of time to meet someone’s eyes and make them feel comfortable with you. This kind of eye contact has been linked to all sorts of positive traits — leadership, charisma, even love. All that for a tiny muscle movement.

Some people with anxiety, for example, struggle to make eye contact. This is not aimed at those people. This is aimed at people like me who know they should, and are perfectly capable but don’t.

Count to three and make a good first impression. It really is that easy.

This is such an easy one, but it gets missed out all the time. I stick to a rule of three, minimum. First, when they introduce themselves, I say, “It’s so nice to meet you, Rosa,” or whatever societally equivalent nicety and name is. Then, I drop it in at least once during the conversation.

Rosa, I have to say…”

Finally, at the end, I make it the very last thing I say. “It was so wonderful spending time with you, Rosa.”

People love hearing their own name. Give anyone a ballpoint pen, the first thing they write is their name. It’s music to our self-absorbed ears, and we can’t get enough of it. When you use the other person’s name, you’re letting them know you like them. It’s a little bit of social shorthand that helps communicate what words can’t always say.

It’s very important to note that pronunciation is key. If you’re not sure, ask and remember. Don’t cop out and say you’re bad with names, most of us aren’t really bad at names, we just don’t make the effort that we could.

Make an effort and pronounce it the way they do. Trust me, as someone with a tricky-to-pronounce name, I do not mind when people ask me — even repeatedly! — how to say it.

I do mind when people assume they know, and say it incorrectly.

There is nothing more jarring than when you think you’re really getting along with someone and then they open their mouth, and out comes a mangled mess of what you call yourself.

Names are important. If you can, make the effort.

Whether you’re at a job interview, first date, or making small talk at a party you’re stuck at, people are prone to talking way too much about themselves.

I get it — you know yourself and your experience best, and it’s the easiest thing to discuss when you’re nervous.

But you know what? Other people also love talking about themselves.

And when you are genuinely interested in what they have to say, when you show you care about what they care about, that’s going to give them a nice fuzzy feeling that they associate with spending time with you.

Ideally, it’s best if you genuinely do feel curiosity or natural passion for something they do or like, as it comes across much less forced. But even asking things like, “What do you think about X?” or “What is your take on Y?” lets them know you value their opinion.

Note: don’t just use their answer as a springboard to launch into your own monologue. Listen actively and respond to what they say.

This one seems easy, but I think it’s the hardest.

Make just one complimentary comment about someone, and not about the way they look. Make it genuine. Bring it back to something they’ve talked about with passion.

If you’re at a job interview, compliment the product, service, or company. Make sure you’ve done your research, and give a genuine reason for why you, personally, like that about the product, service or company.

Things like:

Done well, it shows them that you’re listening to them and that you care about what they have to say. It’s powerful, charming, and makes you instantly more likable.

This is the most basic checklist for easily befriending people. But the truth is, it’s not the steps themselves that work their magic. It’s what you’re communicating with these little actions.

There’s a famous rule I love to quote: human communication is 7% verbal, and 93% nonverbal. What you say matters, but what you do matters way more. When you use someone’s name, you’re not just saying a collection of syllables. You’re reaffirming their core identity and personality markers in a way that nothing else can. When you compliment someone on their life’s passion, you’re not just repeating a trie sentiment. You’re communicating that you value their passion, even if you don’t necessarily share it.

This kind of subtle, underlying communication happens all the time, and it is so important to our relationships. It is wild to me how people think they can miss every single one of these markers and not understand why people don’t immediately take to them.

When you arrive on time, you’re saying you value their time, that they’re worth making an effort for. When you make eye contact, you’re not just ticking a box of societal expectations, you’re showing you’re glad to meet them and get to know them.

You’re communicating that you want to take the time to get to know about them, that you think they’re interesting, and that you care. And that’s what people like.

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How to Be Universally Adored in Five Quick Steps

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