If You Want People to Like You, Then Kill Yourself

After he died, everyone started to like him again. For years everyone would trash him. Then, about a year ago, our friend and ex-coworker suddenly died. The eulogies started spilling out onto the Internet. Everyone “learned how to live” from him. Or learned “everything I know about journalism” from him. One guy, “Rex” wrote the most glowing eulogy I had ever seen for anyone. The last time Rex and I actually spoke together about our dead mutual friend he had accused him of trying to molest him.

People are such liars.

But it makes me think: I always want people to like me more. Sometimes this is in a negative way (maybe I am using people as mirrors instead of just simply liking myself), sometimes this is in some societal, pseudo scientific way (people live longer when they have bigger support systems “studies show”), and sometimes this is in a positive way (I like being around and learning from good people).

10 Ways to Get People to Like you More

1) Die. If you die then certainly people will feel two things: A) they will feel bad. B) they should’ve learned more about the good side of you. C) it’s inappropriate to say anything bad about dead people so the only thing said will be positive things. Now, you might think its tongue-in-cheek that I suggest dying. I don’t really think you should die. But some of the later methods I mention are derived from this method. There are many ways to die. Death being only one of them.

Oh, also, this doesn’t mean faking your death and showing up at your own funeral to see who shows up. That only happens in bad detective novels.

2) You Can Hate Them. I’ve largely stopped myself from falling into this trap. But if Person A hates me and Person B likes me I used to spend much more time trying to get Person A to like me than spending time with the actual person who likes me. (You can see this phenomena on Internet message boards every day).

This is a psychological trap that stems from lack of self-confidence. If someone hates you, then allow them to hate you. You have to catch yourself. It’s normally their problem. Nine times out of ten (and this is quantified based on my experience) they usually hate some aspect of their own lives and they have found you to be a convenient target. They were beaten as a kid and now James is a convenient target. Why a convenient target? I don’t know. I don’t care. You let yourself be. You follow the rules of “How to Deal With Crappy People”. which recommends the exact opposite of what most people end up doing.

3) You Can Ignore Them. There’s two reasons to do this. If you they don’t like you why are you paying attention to them anyway? Rule #1 in the Emotional side of the Daily Practice: Ignore the people who either don’t like you or give you a hard time.

Meanwhile, nobody likes to be ignored. Ignorance is an invisible boundary you put between yourself and the other person. They feel it as soon as they cross that boundary. If they cross it and still choose to stay away, then fine – who needs them! If they cross it and want to still be near your infinitely cool presence, then they have to change the way they treat you.

A lot of this requires confidence in who YOU are, as opposed to the other person. Maybe there’s one person you have in mind that you wished liked you better. That’s ok. But still, rule #1: ignore the people who don’t treat you the way you deserve to be treated. Imagine a dying ancient wizard (SHAZAM!) who has chosen to give you all the magical secrets so you can be the new ancient wizard that would help the world. In our mind we think: “ok, he’s going to give me bee’s honey and bat’s excrement and I will mix them together and…” But the reality is the magic secrets are the way you transform yourself so that magic happens all around you automatically, without any say or control from you. This is rule #1.

Make yourself into magic.

4) You Can Find Something New Each Day. A human being is an archaeological dig. In an archaeological dig you don’t take a shovel and go right in and find the ancient city of Jerusalem, or wherever. Archaeologists have these tiny picks and they dig one millimeter at a time. Before they find the ancient city they were looking for they have to dig for years and years, one layer at a time. Humans are the same way.

And not only that, there’s more then one type  of layer: there’s the physical (always a pleasure to find something new). There’s the emotional (the years of happiness, sadness, abuse, abusing, the secrets dug away, the secrets she or he would be happy to share). There’s the mental: what do they know that you don’t? What can they teach you? And there’s the spiritual. Everyone realizes that their tiny bodies are not in control of the universe. So what do they believe separates them from whatever does control the beginning, middle, and end of everything. Maybe its purely scientific. Or maybe it’s a hodgepodge of ancient traditions. Or maybe its ideas that have worked for them that they have lived with in private for years.

Find out one small thing a day. One lovable thing. If you put in that effort, they will sense it on some level. If an archaeologist  puts in the time, unravels the layers, ancient treasure is the ultimate dessert.

5) Give Them Credit. At work everyone wants credit. At home everyone wants credit. “I DID clean the dishes today,” my daughter might say. People tend to hoard credit. They are afraid that if others get credit for what they did then they might get diminished in some way. So do the opposite. Give credit/appreciation for everything, even work you did. Here’s a ratio: for every piece of credit you give out, it comes back tenfold. How will it come back? We don’t know.

That’s part of becoming an ancient wizard. The world bends to create magic for you. Because you’ve given credit to it’s citizens, the world itself will return the favor. And, on top of it, the people you help – by either appreciating them more or giving credit to them – will like you more.

This is not being manipulative in any way. This is being a superhero. It’s making people feel better. It’s showing people that you paid attention to what they were doing. You NOTICED.

An example that happened to me by accident: I was at a public company that had about 1000 employees at one point. I was in charge of my division but I had a plan to leave. I wanted to start a venture capital fund. So I stopped caring about my job. Instead, all I did was give credit to everyone else. If someone had even helped me a slight bit on a project I would give them all the credit.

The next thing I knew the powers-that-be at the company offered me the job of CEO. Which I turned down. But that was the magic at work. The only way the universe rewards you infinitely is when you give away everything.

6) Listen. When my two daughters are over I have “office hours”. I talk to them one at a time in my “office” (the bedroom) and downstairs my wife will have “girl talk” with the other daughter. During office hours they can talk to me about whatever they want. Things that are bothering them, things they are happy with, or just anything. Sometimes talking to a ten year old about “anything” is really boring. But  they know they can just talk and talk until they are done and I will listen.

My goal is not for them to like me better. Who knows if they do or they don’t. But I always know it’s good to have someone to listen to. You don’t always want to judge. If a friend complains to you about her boyfriend, don’t egg her on. She might end up loving the boyfriend and hating you. The only goal is to listen.  DON’T FIX. Just listen. This is one way you learn about people also.

“But what if nobody listens to me?” you might say. Well, those might be the people you start weeding out of your life. You need someone also! But listening is just one of the tools you can use to dig through those archaeological layers, to open up the hidden vaults. Not everyone gets access to the hidden vaults. Only those who listen.

7) Honesty. This doesn’t necessarily mean spew all your garbage out towards a person. But it might mean “no more white lies”, which is harder than most people think. If you can’t make it for a night out on the town you might make up an excuse so as not to hurt their feelings.

If you can’t make a meeting you might say you have another meeting, even if that’s not true.  On the big things in life (Stealing, Adultery, etc) you might feel guilty over not being honest. But often people don’t mind telling white lies here and there. But they add up. They put a distance between you and the friend, very slowly, so that nobody notices. And suddenly you have to build a bridge to get across the distance. You suddenly wake up and realize, “I’ve lied over 1000 times to this person!” even if they were just the tiniest of lies.

And then even the bridge gets shaky. And suddenly the distance is insurmountable. I’m not an advocate of “radical honesty” where you say things like: “I want to sleep with your sister”. You can keep your hangups to yourself. But I am in favor of putting your amazing imagination in some other direction than your friendship.

People don’t realize: if you practice honesty without fail (and without harming anyone) then soon your words have actual power in them. The universe will listen to you because even it will know your words are always TRUTH.

8) You Can Be Quiet. This is different than Listening. Maybe they want to be quiet also. People are complicated. On my very first date with my wife we took a walk and then sat down at a bench. For about 15 minutes we were quiet and didn’t talk. Then she had to go and I walked her to the train station. When two people are comfortable being quiet with each other it’s a pleasant experience.

Not all communication is with words. Sometimes words hide the real communication. Words are the physical mask that our thoughts, emotions, and spirit wear. Sometimes we can take off the mask. Words are a “market” like the stock market. It’s based on supply and demand. Limit the supply of your words and demand will go up.

9) Intimacy. I don’t mean having sex. But sharing things that are personal. You tell me about your cheating and I will tell you about my stealing. You will tell me who you hate and I will tell you who hates me. You will tell me about your drugs and I will tell you about mine. Deep down we’re all the same. So if we build up the web of intimate threads that connects us even further, then we are bound together. Sharing creates caring.

My idea muscle is tired now. And my friend that I used to bounce ideas off of is now dead. Everywhere he went he got people laughing. He had enormous charisma and would throw big parties at local restaurants and would get everyone laughing. Too bad I hated his guts. Meanwhile, anyone with a tenth idea?

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