Whether you’re the new person at the office, preparing for an important presentation, or going on a first date, you likely want to be liked by the people around you. It can feel like some people have that magnetic likability while others don’t, but irresistibility is something that you can develop.
What makes one person more irresistible than another—and how can you become an irresistible person? Let’s dive into it!
If you want to read more about how researchers conducted the study in the video and the 5 big takeaways you can learn about irresistibility through analyzing viral TED Talks, read all about it here.
What Does it Mean to be Irresistible?
Irresistibility means that people feel drawn to you; they love your energy and want to spend time around you. It’s that magnetism that some people seem to “just have.”
Irresistibility is the “X factor” that Simon Cowell based his reality competition show on. Thankfully, there was research on the “X factor” of irritability, and we’ve understood it better. You don’t have to be born with irresistibility to have it; there are ways to improve your irresistibility factor.
10 Tips to Become Instantly Irresistible
Regardless of how irresistible you already are, try these 10 tips to get to the next level.
Use Irresistible Nonverbals
Too often, people are worried they’ll say something silly or stumble over their words and feel embarrassed. However, what you say doesn’t necessarily impact people’s perception of you as much as how you say it. When first meeting someone, the importance of nonverbal communication outweighs verbal communication.
Research finds about 65-90% of our communication is nonverbal! What is nonverbal communication? You are communicating much more in how you say something with your:
- Facial Expressions
- Voice Tone (yes, this is nonverbal!)
Are you sending the right nonverbal cues? This is essential for that irresistible X Factor. People watching TED Talks on mute rated the speakers’ charisma, credibility, and intelligence the same as those who actually listened to what the speaker was saying. This demonstrates how important nonverbal communication is, whether you’re talking to someone or presenting a topic.
(Don’t worry, we’ll deep dive into what irresistible nonverbal communication looks like in just a moment, but if you want to check out this body language guide.)
Master your first 7 seconds
Research shows that it only takes a fraction of a second for people to form an impression of a stranger based on how they look. You don’t get a second chance at making a first impression, so make sure you make a good one.
What we typically think of as a “gut reaction” is actually what researchers call “thin-slicing.”
Malcolm Gladwell deep dives into how the brain analyzes information and makes decisions in his book Blink. Throughout the book, he demonstrates thin-slicing in action. It’s when the brain finds patterns and conclusions based on a narrow window of experience, and it’s why the first 7 seconds of meeting someone are some of the most pivotal in the relationship.
Here are some ways you can improve the first 7 seconds and help make a good impression before you even introduce yourself:
- Use good posture. Researchers at Princeton conducted four separate studies to demonstrate that people better read emotions from body language than from facial expressions. Pull your shoulders back, hold your head high, and walk with purpose. These are all postures that the brain associates with confidence. Acting confidently can help you feel more confident, even if you’re a nervous wreck on the inside.
- Make eye contact with people. When you meet someone new, make eye contact with them and give them a genuine smile (more on that in a bit!). It’ll make you seem more confident and friendly.
- Dress appropriately for the situation. Wearing a suit to a pool party can make you seem stuffy, and wearing flip-flops to a gala event may communicate that you didn’t care to put in the effort. Wear clothes that make you feel confident and represent who you are while being appropriate to the setting. If you’re not sure what the event’s vibe is, reach out and ask if there’s a dress code.
- Keep up your hygiene. People will notice if you smell like you haven’t showered in a few days or have a big stain on your shirt. Before leaving the house, check if your breath stinks, your clothes are clean, and you smell good. If not, brush your teeth, hop in the shower, throw on a clean top, and spray on your favorite fragrance.
For more tips for making a good first impression, check out this article on how to make a grand entrance.
Use dynamic hand gestures
The next time you’re talking with someone, pull your hands out of your pockets and use them to help you communicate. Hands give people a visual way of tracking what you’re saying—they help show intention and explanation.
If you’re giving a presentation or speech, practice in front of a mirror to see if your hand gestures match what you’re saying. Record yourself doing a mock presentation, and then watch it back to see if your hand gestures enhance what you’re saying.
Action Step: Pick your favorite go-to hand gestures. We have a list of our favorite 60 hand gestures here.
Use Vocal Charisma and Variety
The next time you’re scrolling through Instagram reels or TikTok and a story catches your attention, take a second to ask yourself why. Typically, the story’s premise isn’t that wild, strange, or funny. What makes it entertaining is the speaker’s delivery.
On the other side of the spectrum, the most interesting sentence can seem dull and dry when spoken in a bored tone.
Use your voice to indicate emotions and passion. As emotional beings, people empathetically experience the emotions of others around them. If you’re excited about what you’re talking about, your listener will likely feel excited.
If you want to sound more confident, check out the article here: How to Be More Confident
Use Genuine Smiles
Regardless of what you’re talking about, try to find something within the topic that brings out your genuine, authentic smile.
A genuine smile is considered an attractive trait and can make others see you as a more irresistible person. Typically, you can tell how authentic a smile is by looking at a person’s eyes. When the smile is real, the corners of the person’s eyes will scrunch up slightly.
In this video, Shea Glover captures the moment when someone tells them they are beautiful. You can see a great example of a shift from a posed smile to an authentic smile at 3:55.
What makes an authentic smile? A real smile reaches all the way up into the upper cheek muscles. If those “crow’s feet” wrinkles are activated, it is likely a genuine smile.
Action Step: Try to make your smile reach into your eyes.
Use Mindful Mirroring
The brain has mirror neurons that subconsciously make us imitate the gestures, speech patterns, and attitudes of others around us. As two people mirror one another, the brain builds a feeling of connectedness.
When having a one-on-one conversation with someone, try to mirror their posture and hand gestures to subconsciously communicate to their brain that you’re a friendly person. For example, if you’re sitting across from them and have their legs crossed, try crossing yours, or notice how quickly they’re speaking and try to match that.
However, try not to mirror body movements that the brain interprets negatively—such as crossing your arms which may look closed off and unrelatable.
Also, be careful about being too obvious with your mirroring. Try to avoid making the same gestures immediately after they do. For example, if they brush their hair back, avoid immediately doing the same, or if they scratch their left elbow, resist the urge to scratch yours.
Want to learn more about mirroring? Check out these 4 Steps To Successfully Mirror Others
Remember the Person’s Name and Use it in Conversation
Do you have someone in your life that you pass by every day, maybe even chit-chat now and then, but you just can’t seem to remember their name? When you’re first meeting someone, it can be easy for a name to slip in one ear and out the other—but why does this happen?
“One of the biggest problems is that people don’t actually hear the name, they’re not really concentrating because they’re trying to be interesting instead of trying to be interested.”— Kevin Horsley, author of Unlimited Memory
Meeting new people can be stressful, making it easy to forget someone’s name. Repeating their name right after they introduce themselves can help with memory retention. When they say, “Hi, my name is X,” respond by saying, “Hi X, it’s great to meet you. My name’s Y.”
Studies show that hearing one’s name activates several regions of the brain’s left hemisphere. When a person hears their name, their brain gets a boost of the “feel good” hormones, serotonin and dopamine.
Become a more irresistible person by following Destiny Child’s advice, “Say my name, say my name.”
Ask Great Questions
Whether you’ve just met someone or are building a deeper relationship, try asking questions that show your genuine interest in getting to know them better. Typically, you want these questions to require more than a “yes” or “no” answer. For starters, try asking questions around the 5W’s and H—who, what, when, where, why, and how.
Here are some ideas for questions to ask people:
- What are some things you enjoy doing for fun?
- What is something you’re really excited about in life these days?
- Where did you travel over the summer?
- Who are you rooting for in the March Madness playoffs?
Be conscious of who you’re talking to and how deep of a relationship you have with them—meaning, it’s probably not the best idea to ask your boss on the first day at a new job about their dating life. Still, you can ask about their favorite sports team or their most recent vacation.
Find Life’s Silver Linings
Life has its ups and downs. Finding the silver lining isn’t about being fake; it’s about looking at situations from different angles and having a positive mindset. Where possible, tell others about the positive elements of what you’re experiencing rather than complaining about things they don’t have control over.
For example, if you stress about having a lot of work, you can either say, “I’m so overworked and stressed,” or you can reframe it as, “I have a lot on my plate right now, which can be challenging, but I’m excited to learn a lot through the varied projects I get to work on.”
People feel drawn to positivity. Look at life with a positive spin, and people will likely enjoy being around you.
But of course, don’t use toxic positivity.
Ask For Advice
This one is a little counterintuitive—shouldn’t they be more apt to like you if you do something nice for them?
In reality, when you let someone else do you a small favor, their brain justifies their behavior by telling themselves that they must like you. It’s called the Franklin effect.
“He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another than he whom you yourself have obliged.” — Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin used this method to gain the friendship of a rival Pennsylvania legislator by asking if he could borrow a rare book that this man had in his personal library. When he returned the book, he wrote him a thank you note.
Although this legislator had never talked to Franklin previously, the next time they were in the House, this legislator struck up a conversation with Franklin. This began a friendship that lasted the rest of their lives.
Research also supports the Franklin Effect. Study participants took part in an intellectual contest that won them money. They were then divided into three groups. The first was asked personally by the researcher if they would give him back the money as he was running low, the department asked the second group to return the money, and the department did not approach the third group at all.
The study asked everyone how they liked the researcher. Consistent with the Franklin effect, individuals in the first group rated the likability of the researcher higher than anyone else.
Here are some ideas of small favors you can ask of people to increase your irresistibility:
- Ask your neighbor if you can borrow some baking soda.
- See if your classmate would be willing to share their notes with you.
- Ask your coworker if they’d be glad to hear your presentation and give you feedback on it.
Try asking for things that won’t inconvenience the person but are still small ways they can help you out.
Irresistible Mini FAQ
Some contexts can heighten your insecurities more than others, and dating is one of those. It can be hard to know how you’re coming across on a first date or while texting with someone.
If you want to be irresistible over text, be open and honest while also keeping some details for when you meet up with your date. Try using emojis to make up for the misunderstandings that can happen via texting.
Texting adds a challenging dynamic to communication because it removes the nonverbal elements such as tone of voice, facial expressions, and physical touch that happen throughout a conversation.
Be clearer about how you’re feeling by sprinkling some emojis in with your texts! A simple smiley face or heart emoji can help the person better understand your tone and intentions.
When texting, be honest and vulnerable, but don’t tell the person everything. For example, “That’s a long story, why don’t I tell you on our next date?” builds a little mystery and makes you that irresistible.
One of the best things you can do to boost your love life is to build your confidence. Confident women and men are typically the recipients of lots of romantic attention—regardless of what they look like.
At its core, confidence means that you trust yourself. In dating, this means that your self-worth does not pertain to who you’re with or what they think of you. Once you learn to have fun regardless of who you’re with, the people you date will realize that they’re not there because you need them to have a good time, but rather because you want to spend time with them. Confidence will also help you carry yourself with poise and allow your personality to shine through.
Here are some ways to show this type of confidence:
Let them see you’re an interesting person. Share about your hobbies and passions and show them that you have a full life that you’re letting them be a part of. These are all aspects of your inner beauty; let them be captivated by that.
Show your sense of humor. Crack a few jokes so both of you can break the tension with some laughter.
Ask good questions and be humble. Insecure people tend to feel the need to always talk about themselves and brag about their accomplishments. Share about your passions and accomplishments, but also let your date be in the spotlight some of the time.
In addition to confidence, physical attraction does play a role on a first date. You don’t have to have a “perfect body” or dress up like someone you’re not but wear a cute outfit, put on some makeup, and spritz your favorite perfume.
It’s typically best to be in a relationship because you love yourself and want to love someone else as well, not because you have low self-worth and are looking for validation.
Whether you’re single, dating, in a relationship, engaged, or married, set aside time to care for yourself and work towards your goals. This can be challenging as your schedule may be full, but spending even a few minutes of your daily routine working on yourself can boost your irresistibility.
How to be Irresistible Takeaways
Irresistibility develops with time and intention. Here’s how to do that!
1. Be aware of your nonverbal communication. How you present yourself is just as important as what you say.
2. The first 7 seconds are pivotal. The brain uses thin-slicing to judge the world and others, so use those first 7 seconds.
3. Your hands show intention and explanation. Use them when you’re talking to help you communicate
4. No matter how many times you’ve given your elevator pitch, use your voice to communicate excitement and enthusiasm.
5. Find a reason to give a genuine and authentic smile—it helped the TED talkers look more intelligent!
6. When you’re in a one-on-one conversation, use mirroring to increase your irresistibility.
7. Where possible, repeat people’s names as soon as they introduce themselves to you. This will help you with name retention, and they will feel a boost of serotonin when they hear their name.
8. Before meeting with someone or while on your way to a networking event, think of a handful of good questions you can ask to show your genuine interest in the person you’re speaking with. Who, what, when, where, why, and how are good places to start.
9. Cultivate a positive outlook on life. People tend to gravitate towards positivity.
10. When you do something nice for someone, your brain justifies it by assuming that you feel fondly towards that person. If you feel like someone doesn’t like you, ask them for a small favor and see if they become more friendly.
Most of all, remember to be your genuine, authentic self. People are drawn to confidence and enjoy being around people who aren’t overly worried about what others think of them.
If you want to learn more about how to be popular and make friends as an adult, check out this article: How to Be Popular: 16 Science-Backed Tips to Attract Friends