Almost 5 Traits of People Who Stand Out

Do you know someone who stands out on their “likability” alone? If so, have you studied them?

Let’s do that here by exploring 5 traits likable people possess. Yes, there are more than five, but in this space I’ll share four and then you can come up with #5!

Here we go … 

1) Likable = Doing the Listening Loop

While in a conversation that is interrupted by a child, doorbell, restaurant server, phone call, or colleague’s urgent question, a likable person loops back to the one who’d been talking, saying, “You were sharing about _________________ … please go on.”

Hardly anything makes a person feel more special than to truly be listened to, eh? And the good news is the skill of “looping” is one that can be learned. Try it today!

2) Likable = Being Reasonable

The Millers decided to rent a “villa” for Spring break. The property management firm required a check to hold the reservation, so I mailed it to their PO box. 

A week later, Louis, the agent, emailed saying it hadn’t arrived. So I spent $35 to stop payment on it, and mailed a second check. 

It didn’t arrive either.

Grrrrrrrrrr … 

So I stopped payment on the second check. What a waste of money! I thought. I was frustrated! Louis was, too. But nobody was “at fault.” We were both simply baffled.

But, a day later, both checks arrived!

Then, without even being asked, Louis emailed to say he was mailing us a check to cover one of the $35 bank charges.

He didn’t have to, but he did. It wasn’t just nice of him, either—it was REASONABLE. 

I love reasonable people, don’t you? 

3) Likable = Humble, Not Haughty 

There has been debate over Richard Sherman’s (Seattle Seahawk NFL player) post game TV interview (rant?) on January 19th. If you missed it: 

From USA Today, 30 seconds long 

Most discussion has centered on this question: Was his behavior arrogant or interesting? Personally, I don’t care what fans and the media think. Here’s what I wonder …

Deep down inside, were his mom and dad proud of their son’s on-camera performance? 

Maybe. I don’t know. I can only speak for me, and this father of seven would not have been, not in the least. I want my kids to demonstrate humility in all they do.

And, since it begins with me, I must always keep this truth in mind:

Arrogance repels, but HUMILITY is the magnet that draws people to me.

4) Likable = Accepts Others Just As They Are

When my speaking colleague, Kristin, who will turn 31 on Jan 26th, was 15, she said something profound. Over Sunday lunch I was whining because I’d learned that someone had asserted that I “wasn’t friendly” and should be “nicer” to people. I was indignant because I believe I am very “friendly and nice” to those I meet. 

Then Kristin straightened it all out with this insight: 

“Dad, you’re friendly. You’re just not social.” 

Out of the mouths of teens. 

Years later, I am blessed to have people in my life that accept me as me. These folks, I’m sure, think thoughts of kindness and grace such as, That John Miller is a really nice guy—just don’t invite him to a party! 

In the QBQ! book, we write what my client/friend, Bob Elgin, once shared: 

“A true teammate is someone who can look right through you and still enjoy the view.” 

Who can’t use more teammates and friends like that? Of course, I need to do that for others, as well. 

5) Likable = __________?___________

Can you provide #5 in the Comments section below? The answer we deem best wins a signed copy of Outstanding! 47 Ways to Make Your Organization Exceptional! 

Lastly, one introspective question related to traits 1-4: 

Which of these do I need to work on?

Please share!

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80 Responses

  1. Sincerely interested in others without being exclusionary. (No private jokes between people when others are present; never leaving anyone behind)

  2. Ownership. It is one thing to say, “Yes, i accomplished this amazing task,” but also necessary to admit when we have made poor choices without pointing fingers. The blame game is a narcissistic trait. When we can own our mistakes, we draw people to us. Integrity goes a long ways.

  3. No agenda. When you genuinely lend a hand or give to someone else without expecting a return you instantly gain a like ability factor.

  4. Honor your word. We all have the ability to say we will do something, and when we follow through that makes us likable, and trustworthy.

  5. Likeable = eager to help solve. Reduces the need to “blamestorm” or complain. Also, likeable = eager to empathize. When others are fraught with anxiety, worry or anger, listening and trying to understand BEFORE moving on to the solution makes for an is always the better solution.

  6. Positive: always has something good to say to others and about others and it comes from the heart, it’s not meant to adulate and does not expect anything in return.

  7. Likeable = Respectful of others; no matter who or what they seem to be,
    the president of a corporation to the homeless person on the street,
    showing respect hopefully gets likability (and respect) in return.

  8. #5 Likeable = Accountability. Don’t make excuses. If you did something wrong, own it and apologize or do what it takes to make things right. Everyone has excuses and you only look like a fool when you use them. And never end your apology with, “but………

  9. I was going to say a positive outlook, but it looks that someone else beat me to it. Oh well, I will be positive and say that Lily has it right too. Really, nobody wants to be around people who are always negative. Positive people can make a cloudy day feel like a sunny day.

  10. An edifier. Someone who sees and encourages the best in you. Someone who makes you feel that you are lovable and capable.

  11. You chose 4 great traits for being likeable… I think the 5th is: Being Teachable

    Being teachable demonstrates respect and honor for other person who is giving the advice. It makes the them feel valued for their opinion, and makes them feel important.

    THIS translates into Likeability…. every time.

    Thanks JGM!

  12. Likeable = totally focused on the person you are talking to. No texting, cell phone, computer screens, (in my case TV screens! I have to orient myself so that I can’t see TV screens or my jaw drops slack and my eyes unfocus. Rude of me but it’s an unconscious reflex.)

  13. Other-centered. A likeable teammate is GENUINELY more interested in hearing about you than in talking about themselves. They don’t pry, they just really care about what’s going on with you!

  14. Likeable = happy! Happy people who are always smiling and laughing…. enjoying life. I love being around happy people! Unhappy people are very hard to be around.

  15. Likeable = Sincerely Helpful.
    We can always consider ourselves “helpful” when it is part of our job, but sometimes we need to be sincerely concerned with the well being of others and truly desire to do anything we can to help them out if they need it. In my job, I receive a lot of emails from business partners who have a challenge they are trying to meet. Sometimes it is a quick and simple answer they need, but other times, they have a true problem. I’ve seen a lot of things come my way that truly are “not my job” and I could push them off to another area, but that isn’t how I work. If I see a problem, I will do whatever I can to solve it, try to anticipate questions, and even offer assistance in the little things that have gone unsaid but are obvious needs when you do the proveribial “read between the lines” with what was said. I don’t always have all of the answers, but I do have the resources and contacts to find the answer, or the right person to get it from. I sincerely do want others to succeed, and will help out any way I can without expecting anything in return.
    Some people are likeable for doing what they need to, being nice, and helping out, but when we are willing to go above and beyone to help someone else out without expecting anything in return, that is truly likeable.

  16. Likable= Is working hard, being kind, sincere and honest. Doing the right thing to further yourself, your family , your business and the community.
    Being realistic and positive while working hard. Being and staying accountable to yourself and others. “you can achieve great things, when no one cares who gets the credit”.. Lead, work hard, have compassion, look out for others, and try your best everyday.

  17. Likeable = open minded. Nothing feel better than to have an your idea accepted. Being open minded to others ideas and thoughts is very powerful. John Wooden once said “it is amazing how much can be accomplished when no body cares who gets the credit” That is having an open mind. It doesn’t matter weather it was the CEO or the janitor that came up with the best idea. That is likeable in anyone.

  18. Likeable=Being an energy-giver. You smile at people, and other expressions of happiness. When you pout or assume a poor demeanor folks are focused on what is wrong with you, and then are distracted from their work or projects. This results in taking energy away. You want to help people be motivated.

  19. Likeable= Keeps short accounts. Forgives quickly the transgressions of others against them, either intentional or unintentional. Forgives and forgets….

  20. Likeable = Honest and sincere

    Honest: Have the morals to say what is right and true. I will be honest (see what I did there), sometimes this makes me LESS likeable to some, but in the long run I think it is for the best.

    Sincere: Say what you mean and mean what you say.

  21. Positive Outlook- I agree with Lily and Tom. Someone that has a natural (or learned) tendency to see the brighter side of things is more enjoyable to work/socialize with.

  22. Likeable = Ready with a smile – A smile is something that can turn anyone’s day into a positive experience. It makes someone forget why they were having a bad day to begin with and gives them a ray of sunshine even for just a moment.

  23. Likeable = Doesn’t hold a grudge. Sometimes we walk over people and don’t even realize it, the ones that can let you know when you do it without anger and are still willing to help you out are the ones that I truly like. We all get caught up in the heat of the moment at times and don’t stop to think what we are asking our peers OR how we are asking them for the things we need. Those that understand that you might not have meant something the way you said it and have no fear of helping you through those instances are truly great.

  24. Likable= serving others with joy. No matter what level of help that you are providing for another do it with all that you have. openly sharing any insight that might be of use. Just being a light in a dark world is the key and in all that you do, do it as unto the Lord.

  25. Likeable = a smiling face always happy to see you. They place value in themselves and in you. They remind you that you are an important person.

  26. team player…speaks like a member of a team “What can we do as A TEAM to solve this problem”? What can we do as A TEAM to increase morale or productivity in our company/department. AND MOST IMPORTANTLY…WHAT CAN “I DO” AS A TEAM MEMBER TO IMPROVE OUR CUSTOMER SERVICE/SALES/PROBEM SOLVE. this prevents finger pointing and defensive conversations and the blame game.

  27. Likable = Showing grace when needed is a strong characteristic that I find helps in almost any situation. Showing grace means willing to be forgiving but also willing to aid in correction so things are not repeated. We all fail or make mistakes. By showing someone else grace in their failure or mistake you help to encourage them to better the next time and to take ownership and come up with what fixes it so it improves.

  28. I believe someone who can genuinely show they value others and what they think, feel, etc. is a good #5 for your list.

    It doesn’t matter how skilled you are at looping back to a conversation, showing you are reasonable, etc. If you do not outwardly show that you value another person, none of the other really matters.

  29. A likeable person is helpful. He/she steps in to help others accomplish something without regard for whether it directly impacts him/her or not. Doing this reinforces the notion that the one being helped is worthy.

  30. Likable = accountable, by this I mean accountable for body language , for level of interaction, do not allow the other person to be only one that is engaged in the conversation.

  31. Likeable = Spirit-Led.
    The Holy Spirit knows what’s best, in every situation. If we live by the spirit, we are guaranteed not to go wrong. God’s ways are always best. However, it won’t always make us most likeable. Respected, if we are humble, confident, and genuine. Jesus was loved AND hated, but mostly hated because others were not spirit led, and were insecure in themselves. He spoke right through them. We are spirit led when we make God the hero of our stories and lives. I play the villain every time.

  32. Likable = Caring
    Do you care about me as an individual or do you just care about me for what I can do for you? Caring is a quality that is felt but seldom heard, because it is what is inside of us. It encompasses our heart, our mind and our soul. It can not be fake because it lives with-in each of us!

  33. They remember!
    Like able people remember who you are. They remember details about your last conversation your life your kids. They take time to be a part of your life and what matters to you!

  34. Likeable = Giving credit to others and making sure it is known. Not taking credit for others’ ideas. Don’t imply they are your own by conveniently forgetting to say who was the originator. Don’t rephrase what someone else said and make it sound like it’s your original thoughts.

  35. 5) Likeable = One who has the ability to smile in the face of adversity. Life is hard sometimes. We all have challenges. Some of us have challenges that are much more difficult than others. Last year a friend of mine passed away from cancer; from diagnosis to death was a mere 2 months. But even as she faced this certain death she smiled. She was one through four and more but as I think of her today in my mind’s eye I see only that smile and the zest for life that she personified.

  36. Likeable people are honest. I am not just talking about telling the truth when asked, which is helpful in knowing I can trust them even if the answer is no they can not do something for you. I am talking about telling the truty when not asked. This is the hardest thing it seems for some people. I told my children as they were growing up, it is not just wrong if someone sees you saying, doing, not doing. It is just wrong. So for me a likeable person is honest all the time, I can trust what I see and hear from them.

  37. Likeable = open, not secretive

    Willing to be vulnerable by revealing their thoughts, feelings and experiences when it is helpful.

  38. #5 I believe will be integrity…doing what you say, or making sure if things change that everyone is made aware. integrity can be involved in every aspect of life and people like the fact that they can count on honesty, clear communication, and consistency from a person. integrity also means that if it cannot be done, the person lets you know that they misspoke or cannot meet the deadline, etc.
    yes, I do believe that #5 is integrity. I really like that in a person. (integrity is also personal accountability)

  39. Likeable = Interested instead of interesting. Asking questions and being engaged with someone shows an interest in them. It is easy to chat about oneself…more difficult to listen about someone else yet it is a sincere way of showing someone they are important and worth the time. Being interested is very ‘worthwhile’.

  40. Admitting you could be wrong. Many an argument or unpleasant exchange can be avoided if you are willing to give the other person the benefit of the doubt. “I could be wrong” were some of the wisest words someone ever shared with me and have helped me avoid numerous disagreements–both personal and professional. And in truth, I’m glad I this exercise reminded me of them because I have been guilty of forgetting them far too often!

  41. Present. A truly likable person is present in the moment they’re in with the person they’re with. There’s an attorney that comes to the courthouse I work at and he came in to drop off some papers.. Within 2 minutes of talking with him I knew who I wanted to be when I grew up! He was there to drop off papers but what he did was engage me in conversation while being “fully present”. I truly felt as though the errand was secondary to him and our interaction was a priority.

  42. LIKABLE = unquestionable INTEGRITY

    It would be hard to qualify anybody as likable if you were questioning their integrity in the back of your mind.
    Are they really listening?
    Do they complain after you leave about how unreasonable your interaction was?
    Is their humility just an act or is it genuine?
    Do they really accept me for me or do they talk and gossip about me when I leave the “water cooler” ?

    It would really be hard for me to deem somebody likable if I had any of these integrity questions running through my mind…..

  43. Likable= Being Selfless as opposed to being selfish. In living life on life terms, we can become so consumed with self, that we do not allow ourselves to be available to others. If we are standing inside the box, we hinder our growth. Once we are outside the box we can see others avenues, people and places that were not in the box. By doing this we learn that it is not all about self and borden many possibilities’ of life.

  44. John, great e-mail on likable. My suggestion is.
    Likable= Honesty to a fault. Most people know when you are sugar coating something. People will respond to and seek out those who are always honest. This does not mean you need to be harsh, just honest.

  45. Likable = Someone who recognizes (and accepts) others faults, but rather than looking for ways to take advantage or point out those faults; they look for the person’s strengths and talents, then guides or helps the person to best utilize their assets.

  46. Likeable = Dependable

    Be someone who has dependable character, let your Yes be a Yes and your No be a No. Be someone others can count on to follow through on their commitments. Be someone others can count on to be true to their principles.

  47. Likeable / Caring!
    I think that when one is a caring person, others see this & feel secure around them. when one cares more about others than themself, it makes them more likable.
    Have a super day everybody!

  48. Likeable = considerate
    Acknowledging how things/decisions might impact some in a postive way and others in a negative way goes a long way into fostering good communication skills. If a change is needed in an organization, but that change may require a few people to rearrange schedules or change positions (or something else not so pleasant), those people should be taken aside along with other key stakeholders to discuss the situation. Those people should not first hear about it in a public announcement to the entire organization. It’s called being considerate =)

  49. Likeable = someone who draws a bigger circle. Often, in social settings there are folks who go into wallflower mode. They don’t feel comfortable contributing to discussions because there are too many people already talking, or in a social setting find it difficult to break their own ice and engage.. A likeable person will acknowledge that person and draw them in, whether it be starting a chat, or asking for their input during a group discussion.

    I often find myself in a wallflower mode when in group discussions at work. I am constantly working on my listening skills, so often, I’ll just wait to hear if my perspective is interjected by someone else, but I can often use it as my comfort zone. When the team leader turns towards the quiet corner and gives me attention, WOW do I feel important.

    Likewise, when i arrive at a social scene, I tend to dwell in the fringe. I recently met someone who was kind of famous at a family event, and was so impressed by his warmth when he came up to me to chat while I was being the wallflower. It made me like him even more!

  50. likeable= someone whose communication skills builds up the others self-worth and confidence. This skill shows that you really care about the other person and that you are there to support and encourage them to success. Positive communication encouraging and supporting others inturns adds the building blocks in forming a sucessful relationship and working relationship.

  51. Likeable= Genuine
    Staying true to yourself and being open to share that person makes you more trustworthy to others. People like people that allow themselves to be transparent about who they are and why they do what they do. I know I do!

  52. Likeable=kind
    A kind person notices when you are having a bad day and tries to lift your spirits. A kind person forgives mistakes and forgets them. A kind person often sees a need that is invisible to others. One example is a woman who works in the print shop at the college where I teach. She noticed that some students couldn’t afford breakfast, so she buys several boxes of donuts every day to give them something to eat.

  53. 5) Likeable = INTEGRITY

    A person that has integrity has strong morals, stays consistent with their word and with their actions.
    If you can’t trust a person, how can you like them?
    Bottom line-If a person lacks integrity, they are not very likeable.

  54. Likeable=Does something nice for someone without ever expecting anything in return

    A likeable person treats another person, especially a subordinate like they are a treasure. Likeable people realize that they can’t get anywhere without others and treat people according. Doing a good deed and treating people nicely are part of just who they are.

  55. Open and Honest. They listen to all that I have to say with an open mind and then offer me their honest evaluation.

    Trustworthy. I can trust them with my deepest secrets because I know they value confidentiality more than being the town crier. I’m not going to hear what i told them from someone else because i know i can trust them.

  56. Likeable – Considering others as superior to myself. While close to number three, it is not the same. Intentionally assuming that others have more to offer me than I do them will, in effect, make me more of a magnet than a cactus. I seek to avoid the assumption that I have something for them, but they have little for me.

  57. Likeable = giving grace to others and simply acknowledging people. Giving grace (forgiveness) to others sets everyone free. Are our or other’s transgressions really that important? Probably not, so cut others some slack. Most people are doing the best they can under the circumstances.
    People just want to be liked for whom they are and by acknowledging someone with a simple headshake or smile on the street or seeking one’s input in a meeting makes people feel they are important; that someone acknowledged them.

  58. Likeable – Be A Good Samaritan
    This can mean several things: being helpful, sincerely caring, looking out for other peoples best interests ahead of your own, generous with you time, money and love.

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