Most of us would much rather be liked than disliked, and yet many of us have trouble getting to know other people and establishing friendly relationship
s. The suggestions outlined here are based on social psychological research
. Of course, if you don't want to be liked and prefer to be alone, just do the opposite.
Control Proximity Factors
Whenever possible, play an active role in arranging the ordinarily accidental contacts that control who becomes acquainted with whom. In the classroom, for example, sit beside others and avoid seats on the end of rows or in the corners. After a while, if you haven't become acquainted with those sitting near you, move to a new location and start over.
Create Positive Affect
In situations where you hope to make friends, do whatever you can to create a pleasant mood. Depending on the situation, this could involve playing pleasant music, finding upbeat conversational topics, providing something good to eat and drink, as well as being nice yourself. It's as easy to be nice as to be obnoxious, and "nice" includes saying sincerely positive things to others. Compliments, praise, congratulations, and positive evaluations are almost always guranteed to create a favourable impression; insults, criticisms, derogatory remarks, and negative evaluations are almost always guaranteed to cause discomfort.
Make the Most of Your Appearance and Look Beyond Appearances
Because observable characteristics play an important role in how others react to you, anything you can do to improve your physical appearance and outward manner can be helpful. Without becoming obsessed about it, there are multiple ways to improve how you look and (much more easily) to improve whatever you say or do that pleases or offends others. On the other hand, try very hard to overcome inaccurate stereotypes based on superficial characteristics that may influence your responses to others.
Stress Similarites and Minimize Differences
Remember that people respond well to agreement and similarity. You don't need to deceive anyone about your own views or beliefs or interests, but there is absolutely no need to emphasize and dwell on areas of dissimilarity when you can find areas of similarity instead. No one likes to have their beliefs and values continually challenged (and potentially threatened), so approach disagreements in an open-minded and nondogmatic way. At the same time, try to make sense of the views of others without becoming threatened and defensive yourself. Keep in mind that agreement need not mean you are correct, and disagreement need not mean you are wrong.