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How to Have a Pleasant Personality: 5 Secrets of Charming People

It’s not easy to define what pleasant means — especially when it’s used to describe people—because it’s subjective. However, we can definitely recognize a “pleasant” person when they’re in front of us.

These people have the ability to light up a room and to lift the mood of those around them. They are charming. Right?

Based on my experience and what I’ve observed over the years, here are a few habits you can learn from likable people, to develop a pleasant personality.

1. Make other feel good about themselves

Years ago, during a summer internship, I met Laura. She was working in my same department in another country, and came to visit our site for two weeks.

One day, we went for a coffee together. She started to ask me questions about my studies and how it was going.

I told her I had a Bachelor’s degree in languages and translation and that I was studying for a Master’s degree in management. I felt kind of embarrassed because my path wasn’t linear as for most people.

My master was completely unrelated to my previous studies, and most people used to ask me — with a skeptical look on their face — why I choose something so different from languages. So I had got used to see it as something I had to hide.

Laura instead, told me she was impressed. She genuinely liked the fact that instead of following a traditional path like everyone else, I chose to follow my curiosity.

She had done something similar — she had a degree in history and one in engineering.

This is what she told me, “You shouldn’t feel embarrassed. If you’re curious about different subjects and your knowledge covers different areas, it means you’re a polymath, like me. And you should be proud of that my friend.”

That made me feel so good about myself. For the first time in my life.

How to apply this, in a nutshell:

See, we all like to feel seen and appreciated, but it doesn’t always happen.

People are too busy with their own lives and troubles to appreciate every person they run into.

And that’s where you can make a difference. Build the habit of seeing the good in everyone and expressing your positive thoughts about them.

2. Treat others like good, old friends

“Old friends remind us what it’s like to live with nothing to prove.”

– Unknown

Pleasant people make you feel comfortable.

When you’re with them, you feel like you’re talking to a good, old friend — because they treat you like one.

This is exactly how I felt with Laura. I barely knew her in the beginning, but during those weeks I got to know her better and connected with her more than I’d ever connected with people I had known for ages.

For example, in the morning, she would always come to my desk and told me it was time to go for a break.

During our conversations, she always showed a genuine interest in what I had to say and never checked her phone.

She would always give me her undivided attention. And I knew I could be myself around her because she was one of the most open-minded people I’d ever met.

How to apply this, in a nutshell:

Build the habit of initiate conversations with others instead of waiting for others to come to you.

When you’re talking to someone, give them your undivided attention, always. Put that phone away, you can check the notifications later. Ask follow-up questions.

And let go of the need to judge; people tend to open up more and faster when they feel they can be themselves around you.

3. Laugh at yourself

“It was the way you laughed, I knew I wanted that in my life.”

— R. M. Drake.

People who can laugh at themselves have a je ne sais quoi that makes them stand out.

They show they don’t take themselves too seriously, and that they don’t give much importance to insignificant mistakes.

The fact they can laugh at themselves exudes confidence, because it shows they don’t worry too much about what others may think of them.

And it shows they’re not constantly afraid of making a bad impression.

How to apply this, in a nutshell:

It’s not what happens to you that defines you as a person. It’s how you react that says a lot about your personality.

If you spill your drink on yourself, just laugh at yourself. You stumble? Laugh again. It’s not the end of the world.

4. Make others feel understood

Do you know what really makes us feel good around someone? It’s not just feeling seen, or appreciated. It’s feeling understood.

As Leon F Seltzer PhD explained in Psychology Today, for most people feeling understood is even more important than feeling loved.

Because if you feel someone doesn’t get you, the connection between you and that person is instantly broken.

Pleasant people put themselves in your shoes. They listen.

They show empathy, and, as we mentioned before, they usually don’t judge. That’s why we feel understood around them.

And that’s why we tend to feel good around them.

How to apply this, in a nutshell:

If you have read some of my articles, you probably know there’s a quote by Stephen Covey I absolutely love (and that I mention a lot):

Listen with the intent to understand, not the intent to reply.

Focus on making others feel understood, and your life will be different.

5. Be generous

If there’s a quality I truly admire in others, that’s generosity, because it’s rare.

We live in a fast, busy, chaotic world. We all have our worries and troubles. Most of us are tired. And that’s why we often forget how good it feels to give.

The reality is giving makes us happy.

That’s why pleasant people take real pleasure in giving and doing things for others.

They are not afraid of not getting anything in return, as they do things out of generosity and love.

How to apply this, in a nutshell:

What prevents most of us from being generous is our fear of being taken advantage of.

Get rid of that fear. Learn to give and feel the joy of giving.

Final Thoughts

Here’s a quick recap of some habits people with a pleasant personality tend to share – and that you can learn to join their club:

  • They make you feel good about yourself;
  • You feel like you’re talking to a good, old friend;
  • They can laugh at themselves;
  • They make you feel understood;
  • They are inherently generous.

Now that you know how to have a pleasant personality, you can start to apply the tips we just shared with you. Feel free to share your experience and thoughts in the comments.

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Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

The Truly Charming