5 Things You're Doing That Are (Accidentally) Making You Unapproachable

Updated 06/28/17
@wethepeoplestyle

Being a people person will never be a bad thing; effortless extraversion can be a great help when trying to make new friends, land a new job, or find a lifelong partner. These social butterflies give off the kind of energy that makes everyone gravitate toward them while making others wonder How do they do it? While charisma isn't rocket science, there are a few subtle habits that can actually make you a bit intimidating to others (even if you consider yourself an approachable person). "Since up to 97 percent of communication is non-verbal, we have to be mindful of the signals we are sending off," Nicole Martinez, PsyD, LCPC, told Bustle. Something as simple as turning away from someone when they're speaking or crossing your arms could unintentionally send the wrong message. While we're not suggesting you change your ways in an effort to "be" more of anything, the following habits are worth bearing in mind if you're trying to make a good impression.

You avoid eye contact

Looking people in the eye is a must-have for quality and reciprocal communication. When eye contact is avoided, it sends the message that you are neither engaged nor interested. Take this quote from lifestyle writer Diana Vilbert: "What's harder than approaching a stranger? Approaching a stranger who hasn't acknowledged your existence with even a brief look." It's the worst! So always lock eyes if you can. It may feel a bit intimate, but it's one of the best ways to signal approachability.

You have nervous habits

We all have telltale signs that creep out when we're nervous. For some of us, it's playing with our hair, and for others, it's shaking our legs. Either way, those habits support the idea that we're not to be approached. So though it isn't easy to break these tendencies, they can be changed if we focus on being self-aware. It will definitely take a while, but it's worth it.

You hide behind objects

There are so many things you can hide behind without realizing it. It may be too-long bangs or even a column at a networking event. Or maybe you're obstructing the view of your body in a way that carries a vibe of being blocked off. Open yourself up physically and watch how much more attention comes to you.

You keep your head down

Keeping your head down has its advantages—you need to see where you're going, right? But you may inadvertently be channeling the unapproachable person you aren't when your eyes are focused on the floor. Confident people tend to keep their shoulders back and their eyes forward, after all. "It is hard for [people] to know to approach you if your head is constantly down; they need to see your face to feel like you want to get to know them," mental health expert Arlin Cuncic stated on VeryWell.com. So raise your head high and let everyone know you've arrived.

You take yourself too seriously

Life lesson: Don't be too hard on yourself. Every single human on this planet has made a mistake and a little bit of laughter and brushing your shoulders off is the only way to get through existence. If you're too serious, then there's a large chance you expect that same kind of rigidity from others, which truly isn't something you can help. "Showing vulnerability and a sense of humor make you more likable and approachable," said author and happiness expert Gretchen Rubin on HuffingtonPost.com. So just laugh about it if you can.

Head over to Bustle for more, and pick up a copy of The Approachability Factor for a deeper dive into the topic.

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