The “like” Factor

The “like” Factor

I was speaking to a career coach a few weeks ago and the subject of likeability came up. How when meeting people for the first time, we will make deductions about the other person: are they pretty, fat, friendly and likeable? Yes, we can decide within a few moments of meeting a person whether or not we are going to get along with them or not.

What makes us decide whether we are going to like a person or not? Is it like a phobia or fear, something that is inbuilt in us? A parent’s fear, prejudice; or simply a bad experience – “I once went out with a “Scorpion” man who was too strong minded, not wanting to commit”. It is a normal human behaviour to “prejudge” the cover of a book. Hence the phrase, “you should not judge a book by its cover”.

In the Caribbean there is an expression which goes, “my blood did not take to them”, this translates to “just not liking the person”. There is no specific reason why they did not take to the person – so no matter how pleasant this person may be they do not like them.

At interviews, some argue that the first three minutes count! This is due to the interviewer deciding whether or not the candidate is right for the role. So first “impressions” count, if you get off to the wrong start then it can become difficult to come back. So wearing a “blue” hair-do to a job interview may draw the conclusion that this person is “crazy”.

I would say that I am sensitive to the environment around me and this also includes a person’s aura. Normally, when meeting a person I can feel a “vibe” from them; this vibe can be good or negative. It may be that I can sense that there is negativity surrounding them, and if this is the case, then I would not like them to be in my presence for long periods of time.

How about the “underdog”, the person who seems to be the unlikely hero but somehow we are drawn to them and can relate to them, since they appear not to be “perfect”. One story in recent years that demonstrates this is the SuBo effect. Susan Boyle, a middle-aged woman from Scotland, appeared on the reality show Britain’s Got Talent. When she first appeared on the stage, Simon Cowell must have thought like the rest of the public: here comes the middle aged housewife with delusions of being a “star”. Susan opened her mouth and a “voice” came out that memorised not just the judging panel, British public, the worldwide web – YouTube had woken up to 25 million hits! This woman has “likeability” in spades.