Making friends as an adult is hard.
There are so many things to consider — from where to meet new people in the first place to how you spend time together. And what happens if you really like them but aren’t sure whether they’re keen on you?
Several recent psychological studies suggest there are a few simple ways to make yourself more likable — something that can come in handy for everything from friendships to job interviews. Here are a few of our favorites.
Reveal, don’t conceal
It’s tempting to shy away from probing questions because you don’t want to overshare or reveal too much personal information.
As it turns out, people might actually see you in a more positive light if you share that information than if you withhold it, according to a study from Harvard Business School. The researchers looked at how revealing versus concealing information affected two scenarios: potential dates and potential employers.
Study participants were split into two groups — half were prospects for dates, and the rest could choose whether or not to date these individuals. The dating prospects then got split again — half were “revealers” who admitted to engaging in some unsavory behavior, like fantasizing about doing something terrible. The other half were “hiders” who did not volunteer this information.
When the volunteers were given the chance to pick who they’d rather date, 79% of them chose the revealer.
The researchers replicated the experiment in a job interview scenario and came to similar conclusions. For this experiment, the participants had to respond to the question, “Have you ever done drugs?” They could say yes, no, or choose not to answer. Then potential employers got their pick of the candidates. Overall, the employers were more interested in hiring the people who’d answered ‘yes’ than the people who’d chosen not to answer or said ‘no.’
Other research backs up this idea. A large review of multiple studies from the American Psychological Association found that people who engage in what they called “intimate disclosures” tend to be liked more than those who disclose less about themselves. The same study also found that people tend to share more personal information with people whom they initially like. And people tend like others as a result of sharing personal information with them as well.