The key to successful social behaviour: be approachable and understand the needs of others. – Eraldo Banovac
Being approachable brings you many advantages. It can help you build personal and professional networks, create strong connections, and take control of your social and professional life. Unapproachable people, through no fault of their own, can sometimes find themselves isolated or facing more stress. Often, people struggle to make friends and network when they are perceived as not being friendly. Here are a few ways to enhance this aspect and to help others come to you.
Avoid isolating yourself
The first step is to consider whether you open yourself to contact with others. There are some signals that people interpret as a sign not to approach Some of the most common ones are a serious face, no eye contact, and wearing headphones. Looking angry, crossing your arms and legs, and other elements of body language can suggest to others that you are not to be approached.
This doesn’t mean you should be smiling all the time. However, you can try to appear more approachable by focusing on your body language. Avoid corners and spaces where you can’t be seen if you want others to find you. Ditch the headphones for a while too.
You can develop a reputation as an approachable person depending on how you respond. The basic skill to master to be someone’s go-to person is to listen first.
Often, we get the impulse to interrupt or rush the conversation along. We might feel like we get the hang of everything or just want to provide the advice and get it over with. However, listening is often important and even more important than being able to fix the problem.
Naturally, we gravitate towards good listeners. Becoming one and focusing on just being there, being attentive is a huge step in being perceived as approachable. Listen first.
Avoid critical, mocking, and judgmental attitudes
It matters not just that you listen, but that you respond in a way that encourages others to come to you again. It depends on how you choose to respond to them and what you say.
Sometimes, we might make a joke or emit a judgment. It has certainly happened to you before. How did you feel when someone judged you or your actions? Usually, it hurts, even if it could be true. It makes you less likely to come back and talk to the person again about what ails you.
Instead, offer listening and reserve your judgments. Avoid being critical unless you are asked to provide critique, and even then, you could try to be a bit more diplomatic. Mocking the person pretty much guarantees they will not approach you again.
Invite people to come to you
If you want to be seen as more approachable, you can also invite people to come to you. Do it only if you mean it and be authentic in offering your support.
Make sure to follow through. Open some time in your schedule to welcome people or, if you can’t, schedule a follow-up or a catch-up session. Give yourself permission to prioritize other people and make spaces to hear them out.
Offer compassion, not pity
Often, people come in search of compassion, but we don’t offer them that. Pity is different. It involves taking a “higher” stance and looking down on them. Compassion involves engaging on the same level.
When we show compassion, we avoid judgment and criticism. We don’t place ourselves higher than the person. Instead we are able to listen and practice empathy to offer the other individual compassion.
Being approachable is a positive thing. It helps you cultivate a personal and professional network. It also encourages you to build stronger, deeper relationships with other people.
It is also a way to connect with and understand the world, as it allows others to share their troubles with us honestly. We can see what is going on with other people and what they face. Approachability requires some effort, however, it can also bring some amazing rewards.