When you’ve been struggling socially for a long time, it’s easy to think there’s something inherently wrong with you. Many people feel like they have deep flaws in their personalities and wonder whether they are unfixable.
You may have certain traits you consider negative, but don’t know how to start changing them. Or perhaps you have a clear image of what makes up a “good” personality, and it feels very distinct from you. Some people seem to have a cute personality that draws people to them naturally. They have a positive outlook on life, smile a lot, know how to make others feel good, and are generally fun to be around. It’s hard not to compare yourself to such people.
In this article, we’ll go over some ways you can improve your personality (and become a more pleasant person to be around) without fundamentally changing who you are.
Listening is something most of us take for granted. We assume it’s something that should be easy since we’ve been doing it as far back as we can remember.
But listening is a skill that you can craft and improve upon like any other. There’s listening to someone, and then there’s listening well. Good listeners can make people feel seen and heard. When someone walks away from your conversation feeling good about themselves, they’re likely to remember you positively, too.
To get better at listening, put your phone down when you talk to people to give them your full attention and work on not interrupting others when they speak. Pay attention to people’s body language and tone of voice to try and understand what they are trying to say beyond the words they use.
Becoming a better listener is the first step to improving conversation skills. But to get a good conversation going, you want to have a good back-and-forth, rather than becoming a passive listener.
Ask questions about what the other person is saying and make sure you understand correctly by reflecting what they say back to them. Maintaining eye contact can also help the conversation feel more connected.
As your conversations start improving, the feeling of positive feedback and reward will make it easier to continue this process.
Helping others is a great way to get a boost in mood and even reduce depression and blood pressure. And when we’re happy, we tend to be nicer to be around (ask yourself if you rather be around someone who is grumpy or someone who is content).
When we help those less fortunate than us, we may also feel grateful for what we have. As an extra perk, volunteering can be a great way to pick up some new skills and meet new people.
You can use the skills you already have to help others. For example, if you’re good with computers, you may be able to help an elderly neighbor keep in contact with distant family and friends. Some colleges or towns have groups that match people in need with people who want to help by doing things like helping paint their house.
Certain websites even let you help out without leaving the house, for example, by adding subtitles to videos for those who are hard-of-hearing.
For some more ideas on how to help others, check out our article on how to be more kind.
Reading books can help you improve your personality in many ways. Non-fiction books can teach you new skills and learn fascinating things to talk about in conversations. Reading about different topics such as history, sociology, and geography can expand your perspective on the world.
Fiction books may help you increase your empathy and emotional intelligence by allowing you to “read” characters’ minds and become immersed in their world. As a result, you may become naturally better at connecting with people in your life.
There are even books that can help you increase your self-esteem.
When 895 teenagers (ages 12 to 17) were asked which qualities they valued in their friends, 82% said that a good sense of humor was important to them (compared to the 14% who said intelligence was important, and only 2% who said looks were important). Laughing feels good, and as mentioned, we like to be around people who make us feel good.
Try to explore different stand-up artists to see what they joke about. You’ll find that many successful comics use their unique perspective to talk about everyday problems and frustrations in life. Some comics tend to talk about issues they have in relationships. In contrast, others laugh about minor issues everyone can relate to or more significant issues that are going on in the world.
Seeing the funny side of life can help you develop a more positive attitude and, as a result, become someone more people want to be around.
Talking to a wide range of people can help you become a more well-rounded individual. The people we meet end up shaping who we are: our opinions, memories, and even tastes.
Try to go to places or clubs where you can meet new people. Make conversation with people of different ages, backgrounds, and interests. Assume that anyone you meet may be interesting.
Have you ever heard the saying “you can’t pour from an empty cup”? To give fully to others without becoming resentful or burning out, we need to take care of ourselves to feel grounded.
Pick a day when you are generally free and have a “date” with yourself. Put on your favorite podcast or music and go for a walk somewhere you don’t know so well.
If you don’t have a full day or a few hours to yourself, try to find ten minutes a day. It doesn’t matter if it’s putting on a song that makes you happy and dancing as you get ready or using a coloring book as long as you’re doing something that’s just for you.
Sometimes, when we get too comfortable, we can get a little boring, too. One good way to become more interesting is developing a broad range of interests and learning new things.
Having different interests and hobbies can also help you hold conversations with many types of people.
It can take time to find activities you enjoy, but it’s worth it. Be patient with yourself as you try new things.
A good personality shouldn’t be dependent on who you happen to be around. Whether someone is in a position of power or down on their luck, they could use kindness and respect.
Don’t forget to use your manners with everyone you meet. Smile and thank service workers. Learn how to speak up about your opinions without being condescending. Challenge assumptions that anyone is more deserving of respect than another. Avoid making fun of others or gossiping. Remember that a joke should be funny to everyone involved. If your joke offends others, apologize.
Patience is an important skill to develop when you want to improve your personality and get along with others.
Everyone you meet will have some annoying personality traits or disagree with you about something.
Learning how to keep calm when things go wrong or someone upsets you will make you an overall more agreeable person. Handling conflicts efficiently will help you in your professional life as well as your personal life.
Don’t be afraid to speak up and share your views in conversations. People with opinions tend to be more interesting than those who agree with whatever is being said.
That said, you shouldn’t make a point of disagreeing with others just for the sake of it. If you’re not sure you know when you’ve crossed the line into speaking up too much, check out our article, how to stop being a know-it-all.
Improving your personality is a delicate balance of learning to love yourself while striving to be a better person. It’s nice to be around confident people, and it can be exhausting if we feel we need to constantly reassure someone or walk on eggshells. Being confident in ourselves can therefore help those around us feel more at ease.
We hear that we need to be confident so often that we may not be sure what that means. Being confident doesn’t mean that you need to think you’re the best or to love looking at yourselves in the mirror as a hobby. It just means that you’re comfortable being yourself.
Loving yourself is a process. When you find yourself comparing yourself to others, remind yourself that you are on your own journey. We all compare ourselves to others; the difference is in how we do it. Seeing what qualities we appreciate in the people around us can give us a good clue about what we want to work on in ourselves. But when we beat ourselves up for not being “as good” as others, we cause ourselves distress.
You can learn to identify your unique strengths and expand on them, rather than trying to fit into a box of what you think you should act like. You shouldn’t have to feel like you’re giving up on your integrity to get someone to like you. Instead, you want to make yourself the best version of yourself.
You can slowly build your confidence as you learn new tools. Remember to give yourself approval and praise for the improvement you’re making.
Being confident is a good look, but bragging isn’t. That means that when someone else is sharing an accomplishment, try to congratulate them genuinely instead of sharing an achievement of your own. Be supportive of others instead of in competition. Try to catch your urge to brag before it happens (check out our guide on how to stop bragging for more).
Certain personality traits tend to come up when people describe someone with a good personality. Agreeable, friendly, funny, kind, and confident may come up a lot.
On the other hand, some traits are considered more negative, such as rigid, stubborn, controlling, dishonest, greedy, selfish, and argumentative.
All in all, a good personality attracts people. Someone with a good personality is pleasant to be around. People tend to prefer spending time with people who make them feel good, whether it is by making them laugh, being interesting, or being kind.
We all have a collection of positive and negative traits. We can build upon our good qualities as we learn to work on our less healthy ones. Check out our articles on what to if you hate your personality or if you feel like you have no personality.
Someone with a good personality is nice to be around. They can make us feel good about ourselves, and their happy mood can be contagious. The happiness we feel around people with good personalities draws us to them.