How To Get People To Like You In 5 Seconds Or Less

Trying to get people to like you on an elevator is tough

I had to get over 100 prostitutes to like me in five seconds or less.

I didn’t do this because I wanted to sleep with them. I did it because it was my job.

For about 2.5 years I had a job that I created for myself. I had to interview people at three in the morning on a Wednesday night and find out what they were up to.

If someone is out at three in the morning on a Wednesday night, there is usually a reason. And usually not a good reason.

Why three in the morning? Because one time a girlfriend kicked me out of her house at three in the morning. “Any guy would be better than you!”

I left. And when I walked outside I was surprised how vibrant and exciting three in the morning was.

I wanted to find out what was going on. I wanted to talk to all the interesting people.

But I was too shy. I couldn’t do it. I could only watch. So I made it my job.

I was a computer programmer at HBO. I pitched to them. “Just like you specialize in original programming for TV, you should do original programming for the web”.

I pitched a web show “III:am” about what goes on at three in the morning.

III:am had a lot to do with figuring out how to get people to like you

In three years I probably interviewed 1,500+ people.

Every week I’d take the top four interviews and put them on the “world wide web”.

One thing was always true: NOBODY wanted to talk to a random stranger like me at three in the morning.

And I was scared and shy every time we started.

Here’s what I did:


People are constipated with facts.

They are relieved to get rid of those facts. Ask them. “Why are you crying?” or (to a drug dealer) “What are people buying tonight?”

Get specific. Nobody wants: “How is the weather?”

Everyone wants to vomit their facts if you ask the right question.


When I meet someone, the first thing I wonder is NOT whether or not I like them, but whether or not they like me.

Smiling is the best way to let them know you like them. And be genuine about it. Fake smiles are creepy.


If someone says, “I wasn’t always using crack. But now I’m just looking for a place to live” ask them when they started using crack.

Why do they like it? Do they plan on stopping? Where do they usually sleep and how come they can’t just go back there?

Every time someone says anything, it’s the clothing that covers a gold secret. Dig until you find that secret because that’s the gold.


Your brain doesn’t want to talk to strangers. It wants comfort. It wants you to be safe.

We have the same genes now that we had 40,000 years ago. Talking to someone outside your tribe might have gotten you killed.

Hence, your brain will scream and shout and freeze you and cause you actual physical pain if you want to talk to someone new.

Curiosity somehow bypasses the brain. So if I see, for instance, two people arguing, I’ll focus on the curiosity instead of the pain that SPIKES as I start to approach them.


Sometimes I lie in the sidewalk near where I am staying and I ask people for money as they pass. I don’t want my kids to know this.

99% of the people ignore me and walk right past me. I do this to practice talking in uncomfortable situations.

I shouldn’t do this. There’s crap and pee on the sidewalk when I lie down. But if you stand straight and dress nice and smile, people will at least stop.

They will wonder if you are an opportunity for them. Be one.


I watched an interview show the other day. A famous newscaster was on the street interviewing people.

Sometimes she’d look at the camera and make a face because she hated who she was interviewing. I thought this was nasty.

From the moment our feet finally leave the inside of our mother’s womb, until the day we die, life is a battle.

Respect everyone’s battles. Respect that everyone has it hard, or harder, than you do.

Don’t fake sympathy or sincerity. People can smell that.


One time I was interviewing a transvestite prostitute. She told me her parents had been in jail since she was a kid.

She got into trouble when she was young and was raped in every juvenile detention center she was in until she was so hopelessly confused as to her sexuality that she didn’t know if she was a man or a woman.

And now that she is halfway in between, she was afraid to walk around during the day and have people stare at her.

I had no way to relate to her at all. My life seemed stupid. But I guess I felt like I was often an outsider. So I asked her about that.

So she talked and talked. Finally someone to talk to.


I do a podcast. I’ve interviewed hundreds of people. But the one hour I get to spend with that person is the only time I will EVER get to talk to them.

And they often have their canned answers. You HAVE to interrupt.

I tell them in advance, “I’m sorry but if I get insanely curious about something you say, is it ok if I interrupt?”

People always say yes. When Tony Robbins says, “And then Bill Clinton called me and…”

“Wait a second! Why is Bill Clinton calling you?”

I will never ever again get a chance to ask that. So interrupt and ask when your curiosity pushes you.

People write me and say, “Let your guest finish!”

No! I have to interrupt. I’m stupid and if I don’t understand NOW, I will never ever get the chance to understand.

Oh, and you can subscribe to my podcast here so you don’t miss an episode.


I give lots of talks. I want people in the audience to like me. I also used to go on lots of dates. I wanted my date to like me. Or if I’m selling something, I want the potential customer to like me.

Arguably, all of the above is “me selling to a customer”.

Here’s what I do every time: watch stand-up comedy for several hours beforehand.

This seems lame but it works. We each have mirror neurons. This means we can learn by watching.

If I never climbed a ladder before but now I watch someone climb a ladder, I can now climb a ladder.

If I watch stand-up comedy I won’t be a stand-up comedian but I can talk better, I can be a little funnier, I can do more things with my voice and face, I’m more at ease.

This works every time and is my biggest crutch.

Someone once told me, “That’s not how mirror neurons work”.

Shut up.


This seems like a cliche. Not because it’s so easy, but it’s so easy to say and so hard to do.

How do I be myself? I don’t know. I am not so self-aware.

I assume I’m always the dumbest person in the room. Somehow that makes it easier to be myself.

We’re all on this journey together. And it’s such a pleasure to find someone, for even just a minute, to hold hands with and kiss.

You might also enjoy: How to be THE LUCKIEST GUY ON THE PLANET in 4 Easy Steps

  • Nicole Wirch

    Great article, you are an interesting guy James!

    • James Buechler

      It was interesting, I could read it again in fact I probably will, given that it’s 5 in the morning and I mostly skimmed it

  • I’ve made 104000 bucks previous year by freelancing online a­n­d I did that by wor­king part-time f­o­r 3 or sometimes more h every day. I’m using a business model I came across from this website i found online and I am so happy that i earned so much extra income. It’s very newbie friendly a­n­d I’m just so grateful that I found out about this. Here’s what I did…

    • JohnG

      Hi Frank, I did what you said and went to that website and promptly lost over $8000. Could you maybe front me a loan until I can turn things around? I feel good about my upcoming chances since I just met a great lady over the Internet and I think she really likes me. But she lives in Nigeria and needs some money for legal paperwork to free up her inheritance from her father’s recent passing. Once I send her the money, she can wrap everything up and fly over here where we can meet face-to-face for the first time. Really excited about that since all we have done so far is exchange emails. Anyway, I just need $3000 and then we are good to go. Thanks in advance, Frank, for the help. You seem like a really good guy just trying to help everyone get by in this world.

      • Rahul

        I love you John

        • JohnG

          Thanks, Rahul. Just really tired of these trolls. But, glad you enjoyed the humor.

      • vivid

        Hi, Frank. We are a loan company located in India. We help people like you. And you don’t worry at all. Just reply back with your bank details, your SS number, password for online banking, and we’ll take care of the rest.

        Hope you meet with your soul mate soon. May God bless you.
        Don’t forget to send the details. That’s the real important part.

        • I’ve earned $104000 previous year by doing an on-line job from home a­n­d I was able to do it by w­o­r­k­i­n­g part-time f­o­r several hrs a day. I used a money making model I found on-line and I am so happy that i made so much money. It’s really newbie-friendly and I’m just so thankful that I found out about it. Here is what i do…

      • frankz00

        Hi Frank, I’m Frank too and I am a Nigerian prince with a few million to give you. PM me with your bank account number and I’ll load it up!

    • bucko1948

      fuck off you troll

  • Angie Clark

    I’ve been waiting for months to read your story about interviewing prostitutes. Not kidding. The most interesting people are usually the ones who never get interviewed. Your web show idea would’ve been a lot better than most crap online. I suppose people would rather watch the “Pretty Woman” movie or a scripted Reality TV show.
    I think you should consider writing or filming interviews with less well-known people. Maybe I’d be one of the few viewers, but I know it would be thought-provoking if not entertaining.
    One thing though, this post has an odd closing. It’s not clear with whom and why you are suddenly holding hands and kissing. One of the prostitutes? Someone on the sidewalk? Your girlfriend/wife? Did you just get bored with your own advice and start to daydream?
    Just curious.

    • Peter-the1

      LOL…He means someone to relate to in this fast-paced world where everyone has no time for everyone. Yea, it could be someone on the sidewalk – anyone. Like he did with the transvestite prostitute

  • Paul_Morphy

    Everybody hates their job and you know why? It’s because everybody works pretty hard, believe it or not. The thing is, that’s why the US has one of the best standard of living to be found anywhere in the world.

  • Michael Mclennan

    love this article its beautiful

  • Like others as you like others to like you

  • Rob Tyson

    James, why don’t you document these things you do? Like, laying on the sidewalk? It would be interesting to watch.

  • Nick Vulich

    I like your ideas on interviewing. Don’t know if I could lay down on the street, and try to talk to people walking by. I could probably talk to people walking by if I was standing up. I do like your idea to interrupt and ask questions right off. How else are your going to figure out what’s going on? People go off in so many directions. Great post!

    • I have profited 104000 dollars previous year by freelancing online a­n­d I was able to do it by wor­king part time f­o­r few h daily. I followed an earning model I stumbled upon online and I am thrilled that i made so much money. It’s so beginner friendly a­­n­­d I’m just so happy that i found this. Here’s what I did…

  • Ajith Vardhan

    Absolutely we need to stop to feel the feelings of our mind and let you believe in our gut feeling.

  • Padraig

    You seriously act as a beggar and ask unsuspecting people for money like that? You’re sick and a deranged individual, you should be thrown in jail. You’re a mentally damaged person to think that is going to be any good to anything, and even if it was it’s incredibly unethical.

  • Jorge Colorado

    “I assume I’m always the dumbest person in the room. Somehow that makes it easier to be myself”…. i’m going to practice that one, i had enough of the pretending… jajaja…. thanks James…

  • thiripurasundari palanikannan

    James why don’t you make it as short video clips so that the message through those incidents would be easily understandable

  • Tobey Lee Dodge


  • Lee Kostik

    Solid, practical advice!

  • Vally Petrou


  • JC Otero

    Great post, thanks for sharing it! One to add is to use the other person’s name, I don’t mean in an annoying way in every sentence but occasionally throughout the conversation. I am currently going through the Dale Carnegie trainer certification process and for anyone reading this that has not read ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People”, I highly recommend you get a copy to build upon this post!