How to Be More Popular

Many people believe the route to success is to be interesting—to show off or act like someone more fascinating than they are.

For example, many teenagers can’t understand why they are unpopular. They learned as children that to get attention they should act up a little; to be as interesting as possible. Yet acting interesting does not make a teenager popular. To handle their unpopularity, they might decide to despise people or become loners. Or try harmful acts to gain respect like smoking, drinking, shoplifting, taking drugs and so on. They never feel popular.

Acting interesting can ruin your adult life as well. Show-off employees, self-centered managers and pompous executives rarely do  well for long.

So what is the secret to being popular?

Be interested.

“When a person becomes terribly interesting he has lots of problems, believe me. That is the chasm which is crossed by all of your celebrities, anybody who is foolish enough to become famous. He crosses over from being interested in life to being interesting. And people who are interesting are really no longer interested in life.” — L. Ron Hubbard

If you are an actor on stage, you are interesting — it’s your job. Seminar speakers are interesting. Comedians, models and magicians are interesting.

Yet in real life, on a one-on-one basis, most “interesting” people are irritating. They act interesting to get your attention, respect and admiration. They are on stage acting for a very small audience (just you).

If you want people to cooperate with you, to like you or to open up to you, you must be interested.


Instead of focusing on yourself, you focus on others. You put all of your attention off yourself and onto others. You do not “act” like anyone at all, you are just interested.

You ask great questions. You notice what makes them happy or unhappy. You see what gets them excited, nervous, cheerful, energized, sad or angry. You learn what makes them comfortable and uncomfortable.

As a result, they enjoy talking to you. You know what to say to them because you observe them.

They want to be around you as you are interested in them. You are popular!

Five Steps to Be More Interested

1. Learn to control your attention. Move it off of yourself and focus on other people. This valuable skill takes practice to master.

2. Ask great questions. Prepare and memorize a list of questions, if needed. Ask what they think and feel.

When you have real interest in people, you want to learn more about them, and great questions come to you automatically.

3. If you catch yourself acting like someone else, you are being interesting. Simply shift your attention and get interested in the person. You will find that asking questions and being interested is easier than being interesting.

4. When someone makes you nervous or shy, use this people skill. Shift your attention off of yourself and onto them. Ask questions and be interested in their answers.

With practice, you will always have a solution ready to use in all difficult conversations. You will be calm and intelligent.

5. When you are being interested in someone, have the intention to help them. Maybe you can give them some relevant information or a piece of advice. Maybe you can offer to do a favor or two.

If you use all five of steps, you receive comments like,

“I wish everyone here paid attention like you do.”
“You seem to understand my problem.”
“I enjoyed our conversation. Thanks.”
“I think I can trust you.”
“When can we talk again?”

You are not popular because of your sparkling personality, your hilarious jokes or your attractive mannerisms.

Show 15 Examples of Great Questions
  1. So how do you like living here?
  2. If you could live anywhere you wanted, where would you live?
  3. How did you pick your job/profession?
  4. Do you have any pets?
  5. Do you like to travel? Where?
  6. What do you like about ___?
  7. Do you like spending time with ___?
  8. Can I ask you something personal? What are your goals?
  9. If you could solve any problem at all, what would you solve?
  10. What is your opinion about ___?
  11. Do you like ___ (upcoming holiday or event)?
  12. What is your favorite ___ (food, weather, hobby)?
  13. What types of ___ (shows, books, movies, work) do you like best?
  14. What have you enjoyed about ___ (living here, working here) recently?
  15. Tell me about your ____ (family, friends, coworkers)?
Show Five Tips to Encourage People to Talk

1. If you ask a question and they say, “I don’t know,” give a small bit of related information about yourself and shift the conversation back to them. “I usually like living here, but with another long winter coming, I like to think about sandy beaches. Do you?”

2. If they seem uncomfortable, get interested in things around you. “I sure like that carpet” or “That puppy looks like fun” or “How do you like my new shoes?”

3. Be a good listener. Be friendly yet neutral. Too much enthusiasm, or showing zero interest, can both kill a conversation. Just smile, nod, acknowledge and be interested. Once they start talking, let them talk as much as they like while you just listen.

4. Make it safe to talk to you before diving into a subject. For example, “Do you mind if I ask you a few questions about ___?” or ”Can I ask you about your thoughts on ___?” or “Let me ask you this….”

5. Be nice about everything and never critical. Instead of saying, “Yes, he’s a big jerk” you say, “Well, maybe he acts like a jerk sometimes because of personal issues.” When people realize you are kind and criticize no one, they feel safer talking to you.