Can you tell me some psychological hack to be more socially likeable?

Just to remind ourselves, the "Ben Franklin Effect" you speak of is this (two variations):-

  • Doing a favour leads to doing another favour again rather than receiving a favour from that someone.
  • Doing a favour leads to the other person doing a favour for you in return.

The BFE really isn't a hack for social likability - it's just a kind of Murphy's Law on the consequences of doing favours for others.

Yet there are lots of actual ‘hacks' that help improve general social likability.

Here are some of the ones I've found usually workable in my 57 years of living and growing up across 13 different countries around the world:-

  • Keep things light and lightweight and on an even keel in all your social interactions for the most number of people.

Admittedly, it's not really a hack but a state of mind - but you can still regard it as a hack.

  • Avoid wearing dark colours or black. Wear ‘medium' tones. Be clever with shades of the same colour (e.g. different shades of blue).

Black may look great in the movies, but dark colours in real life gives seriousness that's just not suitable beyond business settings. And don't wear black in business. Wear blue when delivering good news, and grey for bad news. Wear earthy colours when dealing with shopfloor people - gives an avuncular (uncle) "feel" to you.

  • Don't wear plaid or paisleys in the company of women.

Some women like them. Most don't. If you don't have a great physique, they make you look like a rube. Enough said.

  • When you see your friend or colleague busy with paperwork, bring him or her a cup of tea on your own initiative. Say nothing. Just smile and walk on by.

The other person is more likely to feel you're ‘family' - the right kind of family - from this simple act. This one really ramps up the likability factor for literally anyone.

  • Take your spectacles off when you're ‘thinking' in front of the person.

It shows you value and thinking things through about what they said to you. "You bring up a quality point, even if I'm trying to disagree." I cannot explain why.

  • Mirror your body movements with theirs.

The oldest trick in the world. Just don't mirror 100% - that's annoying. Mirror 50% is well and truly enough.


  1. Dress nicely and practice good hygiene. Bad breath really kills first impressions, so be sure to brush your teeth and use mouthwash.
  2. When meeting someone for the first time, offer a firm handshake and make strong eye contact. Then throughout the conversation, continue to practice appropriate eye contact. (If you are in the USA)
  3. Ask questions about the other person and really listen to his/her answers. Ask follow-up questions. Be sure to listen more than you talk and act like the other person is the most fascinating person in the world. Everyone loves to be the center of the attention.
  4. Practice good manners.
  5. Subtly mirror the other person's sitting posture and slightly lean in toward him or her without crowding that individual. This will help to create a sense of rapport and to build trust.
  6. Make a slight and brief socially appropriate physical contact with other person when taking that person's coat, indicating which seat is his or hers, or some other social courtesy. This also helps to create sense of rapport.
  7. Don't name drop or brag about your accomplishments. Humility gains you more brownie points than arrogance will.
  8. If you are out at a restaurant or some other public place, treat all service providers with courtesy. Everything you do either adds to or subtracts from the impression you are making.
  9. Treat all women like a lady. Hold doors open, help with the chair, and do other such gentlemanly behaviors.
  10. Stay off your phone. This is a fastest way to turn another person off. It says you have more important things to do than to be with him or her.

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