The Benefits of Being Likeable vs. the Cons for Being Unlikeable

canstockphoto21350525 copyLikeability is one social skill that can be addressed by Recreation Therapists.


Recreation therapists who provide services for people (children, teens, and adults) with behavioral health needs may encounter clients who lack interpersonal skills needed to get along with others, to make healthy relationships and connections, and to keep those relationships.


Rec therapists can provide education:


  • People who have unlikeable characteristics are more likely to be rejected, ignored, and left to fend for themselves. Think about it for yourself. How likely are you to reach out and help someone who has been rude and disrespectful towards you? It would be difficult to do.


  • People with likeable characteristics are more likely to get help, support, care, and things they want from others. Think about it for yourself.  How likely are you to reach out and help someone who has been helpful, kind, and just amazing towards you? You might feel inkling to help out that person.


Education alone won’t cause change. In example: cigarettes have educational warnings on the packages that let people know how dangerous they are and yet people still smoke.


            Real authentic changes have to be intrinsic and self-motivated. Outside change (like nagging) and (pestering) won’t do much to encourage a person to change.


Here are two rhetorical questions recreation therapists can propose as the start of a session to get a client (or clients in a group setting) to start contemplating (improving interpersonal skills).


Do you like winning?


Do you like getting what you want?


The two questions (listed above) might get people’s attention.


Most people are tuned into Wii FM, which stands for (What’s In It For Me?)



I then suggest: You might want to consider developing interpersonal skills to become more likeable.

Ask this question: 


Which one wins most of the time? Being likeable or unlikeable?


Write this formula on the dry erase board for the day:

Being Likeable is Greater Than > Being Unlikeable



Example of How Being Likeable Wins

 Share this famous story: 

Two politicians in England were running for Prime Minster. Both men wanted to “win” the position of becoming England’s next Prime Minster. One woman was arranged to have dinner with each of them on two consecutive nights. Here is what she had to say about each of them.

  • When I left the dining room after sitting next to Gladstone, I thought he was the cleverest man in England.
  • But when I sat next to Disraeli, I left feeling that I was the cleverest woman.

Disraeli won the election that year and became the next Prime Minster. 

The same is true in most elections. Unlikeable candidates often lose elections to those people who are likeable (charismatic). Think about it for yourself? Who would you want to pick as the winner: a person you like or a person you don’t really care for? I imagine you’ll go with the person you like.

The same is true for anything that requires picking people. Most people pick the person like the over the person who they detest.

Here are some rhetorical questions for group members to consider:

  • Would you choose to go to a grocery store where you like the staff or would you go to the grocery store with people you detest?
  • Would you choose a dentist that you like compared to one who you dislike?
  • Would you give a loan to a friend who you like compared to a person you can’t stand?

People with “likeable” traits are probably more  likely to get chosen and selected.

The question to ask yourself: do you have “likeable traits?” Do you want to know the secret sauce for being more likeable and winning?

What was Disraeli’s secret sauce to winning the election?

It’s simple: 

Disraeli was more likeable.

He made people around him to feel important, valued, and even “clever” when they were with him. Whereas, Gladstone did not pay attention towards other people. Gladstone was more focused on himself and his own accomplishments.

So, how can you be likeable? Dale Carngie in his classic, best-selling self-help book, How to Win Friends and Influence Others, said: “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other peopleinterested in you.”

The Secret to being Likeable is very easy: be interested in other people.

Discussion Questions About Listening and Paying Attention

  1. How can you tell if a person is not listening to you and not paying attention to you and just not interested in you?


  1. How do you feel when a person doesn’t listen to you?



  1. How can you tell if a person is definitely listening to you and paying attention to you?


  1. How does that make you feel when a person is listening and paying attention to you?



  1. How do you imagine other people will “feel” around you if you don’t listen to them?


  1. How do you imagine other people will “feel” around you if you do show interest in them?



The Take-Home Message

  • Radical acceptance: we can’t change other people.
  • 100% personal responsibility: you can change yourself!

You can start practicing (being interested in other people) so that YOU become more likeable. So, you’ll start to make more positive relationships and keep those positive relationships!

 Attention Rec Therapist: Do you want to learn more about people skills? 

Sign-up for Interpersonal Success Secrets (self-study course). It is worth 5 clock hours of continuing education. Session content is CE pre-approved by NCTRC.

The course requires reading a book. We also include some helpful resources in the membership area for this course.

Go here now:


Need inspiration and encouragement?

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magic_bookyour friend, Danny.