15 Things People Do In Conversation That Make Them Instantly Likable

15 Things People Do In Conversation That Make Them Instantly Likable

Ever wonder why some people can just waltz into a room and strike a chord with anyone they meet? It’s not always about what they say, but how they say it and how they make others feel. It’s those subtle cues and small gestures that can transform a simple chat into a connection that leaves a lasting impression. Here are 15 things that people do in conversations that make them instantly likable – without relying on clichés or charm tactics.

1. They Remember people’s Names.

There’s a certain magic to hearing your name in conversation. It feels personal, like a cue that someone sees you as person. People who remember names show that they were paying attention from the very beginning. They often repeat the name after they hear it, engraining it in their memory, and use it thoughtfully in conversation without overdoing it. It’s a small effort that makes a big difference, making the person they’re speaking with feel important and valued.

2. They Listen More Than They Speak.

People who are likable in conversation aren’t just waiting for their turn to talk, which makes them instantly likable without ever making a peep. They truly listen, giving the other person the floor to express themselves. They don’t interrupt or hijack the conversation; instead, they encourage the other person to share more. This approach shows that they value other people’s opinions and experiences. By giving someone their full attention, they create a space for a two-way dialogue that’s more genuine and a lot more enjoyable to be a part of.

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4. They put Their Phones Away.

This one’s tough but it’s SO important. Keeping your phone out of sight during a conversation is a sign of respect and genuine interest. People who do this are signaling that the conversation at hand is their priority. It’s a way of saying, “I’m here with you, and nothing else is more important right now.” This proves that they value the present moment and the person they’re sharing it with more than scrolling meaningless social media networks or dating apps.

5. They Ask Open-Ended Questions.

Instead of questions that lead to a dead-end ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer, likable conversationalists ask open-ended questions. These questions show that they’re interested in a deeper dive into the topic. They spark discussions that might lead to shared interests or surprising revelations. Open-ended questions can transform small talk into a meaningful exchange, giving both parties a chance to contribute and learn from each other.

6. They Share, but avoid giving TMI.

While they’re willing to share about themselves, they maintain a balance. They don’t dominate the conversation with long-winded personal stories. Instead, they offer just enough to show authenticity and vulnerability, encouraging a reciprocal level of openness. This exchange builds trust and makes the conversation feel like a shared journey rather than a one-sided monologue.

7. They can pick up on Non-Verbal Cues.

A nod, a smile, an open posture – likable people notice these subtle non-verbal cues and respond to them. They can tell if someone is engaged or if they’re losing interest. They use this information to steer the conversation in a direction that’s more comfortable and engaging for the other person. By being in tune with the silent part of the conversation, they create a connection that goes beyond words.

8. They Keep It Positive.

Even when the conversation could easily go down a path of complaints or negativity, likable people keep the tone positive. They steer clear of gossip and make an effort to find common ground on which to build a positive exchange. They don’t ignore the challenges but choose to focus on the constructive aspects, which often leaves others feeling uplifted after the conversation.

9. They Use Humor Wisely.

Humor is a powerful tool in conversation, but only when used correctly. People who are instantly likable know how to lighten the mood without offending or trying too hard. They’re witty, but their humor is inclusive and never at someone else’s expense. A well-timed joke or a playful comment can bridge gaps and warm up the atmosphere.

10. They Give geniune Compliments.

Compliments, when given sincerely, have the power to light up someone’s day. People who are instantaneously likable know the art of giving genuine praise. They pay attention to the details and recognize the efforts of others, be it a new hairstyle, a well-thought-out presentation, or a good decision someone made. Their compliments are specific and heartfelt, never generic or disingenuous. By noticing and vocalizing the positive attributes of others, they not only make them feel valued but also demonstrate an appreciation for the people around them. This type of positivity tends to be contagious, making others feel good about themselves and about the interaction.

11. They Show Empathy.

Empathy goes beyond simply listening to someone; it’s about truly connecting with them on an emotional level. Empathetic people acknowledge the feelings of others, they resonate with their experiences, and they communicate understanding. This can be through a simple nod, a gentle “that sounds really tough,” or by sharing a similar experience of their own. When someone shows empathy, they’re not rushing to provide a solution or minimize the issue, but they’re validating the other person’s feelings. This can quickly build rapport and trust, as it shows a depth of character and a caring nature that is undeniably likable.

12. They Are Authentic.

In a world where many people feel pressured to conform or put on a facade, authenticity is a breath of fresh air. Likable people don’t feel the need to impress others by being someone they’re not. They’re comfortable in their own skin, and this comfort can put others at ease too. Authentic people share their true thoughts and feelings, but they do so respectfully and without imposing on others. They’re the same person in any setting, and this consistency is reassuring. People are drawn to authentic people because they know they can trust them to be real and straightforward.

13. They Avoid Controversial Topics.

While it’s important to have meaningful conversations, instantly likable people know that there is a time and place for delving into heated topics. They have the social savvy to recognize when discussing controversial matters might make others uncomfortable or lead to conflict. Instead, they choose to focus on topics that are inclusive and unlikely to alienate anyone in the conversation. This doesn’t mean they avoid depth or substance in dialogue; rather, they opt for subjects that unite rather than divide. This approach can make conversations more enjoyable and stress-free, encouraging a light-hearted and harmonious exchange.

14. They’re always present and avoid unnecessary distractions.

Being present in conversation is more than just physically showing up. Likable people engage fully, giving their undivided attention to the person they’re speaking with. They don’t glance at their watches or phones, and they don’t scan the room looking for someone else to talk to. Instead, they make eye contact, they react appropriately to what’s being said, and they make the other person feel like the center of attention. This level of presence communicates respect and interest, making the other person feel important and heard. It’s a simple but powerful way to deepen the connection and make a positive, lasting impression.

15. They Adapt Their Conversation Style to their audience.

Flexibility in conversation is a subtle but crucial trait of likable people. They have the ability to match the tone, pace, and style of the person they’re talking with. This might mean being more reflective and serious when the topic requires it or being light and humorous when the situation is more relaxed. By adapting their conversation style, they show a high level of emotional intelligence and respect for the dynamics of interaction. They meet people where they are, which can make others feel more comfortable and open. This doesn’t mean they are being inauthentic; rather, they’re being considerate of the other person’s communication preferences, creating a more engaging and enjoyable conversation for everyone involved.

Gail is Bolde's social media and partnership manager, as well as an all-around behind-the-scenes renaissance woman. She worked for more than 25 years in her city's local government before making the switch to women's lifestyle and relationship sites, initially at HelloGiggles before making the switch to Bolde.