Q: People still avoid me even though I try to be friendly. I usually do what many other people advise me to do: I talk about their interests, give them space to talk more than I do, appear curious and interested in what they say, and so on. In short, I have done everything in the name of empathy. The sad thing is I am not getting the results I want. What else do you think I need to do?

A: If words have all been said, then a probable area to work on is your personality. It may not be ‘magnetic’ enough to attract people to you. Social graces must also be in congruence with a warm personality. For instance, even though you smile, it may still appear to be a ‘forced smile’ that people may perceive as artificial. This applies to all aspects of your body language where congruence is needed.

Be aware of your facial gestures when you are talking, laughing, stressing a point, etc. See whether they are sending the right signals to match your words and expressions. Practice this in front of a mirror. Assess your eyes, your mouth, the muscles around your face, the eyebrow, etc. If need be, you can do several things: consciously lift some of the muscles around your face to brighten your look and make you more attractive; learn to look deeper with your eyes; widen your mouth to smile, or simply look more pleasing. Getting feedback from a good friend will help too. 


  • What do you think is your friends’ perception of you?
  • Why do you think they have this perception?
  • What will it take to make yourself a more pleasing personality?
  • How can you get a good friend to give you regular feedback on your actions and behaviours?

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