Principle #5: Liking
When you get along really well with a person, be it your longest friend or someone you just met whom you have bonded with really closely, you’re more likely to help that person out.
The “Social Rule”: We help people we like more than people we don’t like.
The Principle of Influence: You can gain compliance by being especially likeable.
This insight has a few implications. The first is simply that you are more influential among your friends and family than you are with strangers because you already have the likable edge. While this goes right up to the edge of “taking advantage of friends and family,” the point is more simply about cultivating bonds.
Consider one study that looked at rates of tipping in restaurants. There’s a very simple way to form a brief bond with a stranger—introducing oneself by name. When people went to this restaurant, when the waiter greeted the guests at their table, the waiter either said nothing and just did the usual introduction, or the waiter introduced himself by name. When there was no introduction, 15% was the amount of the tip typically left by a guest, but when there was an introduction by name, that rate went up to nearly 25%.
Another study focused on the power of simply familiarity and compliance. In this study, there was an opportunity to become more familiar with someone who was later going to ask you to help them. Not only did simple familiarity lead to greater liking for the person—it also led to a greater likelihood of complying with the person’s request.
These studies make a simple but powerful point: when you’re more likeable (i.e., when someone likes you more), they are more likely to help you out and say “yes” to things that you ask them to do. The obvious next question is: “What strategies help build likability?” Over the next couple days, we’re going to focus on two liking techniques, one of which is your similarity to the other person. That is, the more similar you are, the more they like you. I’ll show you more specific examples of that tomorrow. Next, I’ll expand on the power of familiarity, which I briefly mentioned today. The more familiar you are, the more people like you, and the more they’re likely to want to help you.
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