We all want to make a good first impression on people at a social gathering, even if we don’t like to admit that fact. We wonder what we can do at our friend’s party that would make us seem more likable — should we crack a lot of jokes? Request a killer song? Bring the best wine?
Harvard researchers found all you have to do to be more likable is ask people questions about themselves.
First of all, it’s important to know that we talk about ourselves a lot more than we realize we do. The Journal of Personality and Social Psychology published a paper saying that “most people spend the majority of their conversations sharing their own views rather than focusing on the other person.”
So researchers at Harvard Business School put two groups of people to the test. One group was given nine or more questions to ask in an instant-message chat window, and the other group was given only a few questions to ask. After it was all said and done, the individuals in the first group were rated as the more likable ones by the people on the other end.
All that to say, people like to be listened to.
Experts say you don’t even need to ask complicated questions. Something as simple as a follow-up question will make the person feel like you’re interested in what they’re all about.
So the next time you’re at a party, don’t be afraid to ask the person next to you where they bought their cute dress or what they do for work. You’ll probably come off as more likable, and you won’t have to worry about being the life of the party (or giving up your favorite bottle of wine).