The Internet is saturated with articles about how to be more beautiful. Many offer useful tips, but many more are designed to make you buy stuff that you probably don’t really need. This list of ways to make yourself more attractive is presented as a modest counterpoint, a small attempt to diversify the way we approach our definitions of “attractiveness.”
While I’m no Oprah or Dale Carnegie, I have learned a thing or two about how to engage with the world — and how to work with it (as opposed to against it). Whether you want to attract a romantic partner, a new group of friends or even your next employer, here are some ways to appeal to people.
Education should not stop simply because school is finished. Learning should be a life-long process, like eating and flossing. Books are an obvious place to turn. Personally, I enjoy autobiographies or creative nonfiction. If you can’t fit a lot of reading into your schedule, documentary films are also a great way to expose yourself to new ways of thinking. To up the ante, take a free online class through Khan Academy or even Harvard University. Remember: smart people are sexy people.
Before you slam me with strongly worded emails, please note that I’m not advising anyone to be skinnier or to “bulk up.” Your body is beautiful as it is. But it’s extra beautiful when it’s marinating in the endorphins that are released when you exercise. Find an activity that you enjoy and do it regularly (most sources recommend three times per week as a minimum). Whether a yoga flow class, swimming at your local YMCA or walking to your favourite music, make sure your exercise of choice increases your heart rate — because that’s when those juicy endorphins happen. With exercise, you literally become more radiant.
Eliminate the word “hate” from your vocabulary.
Sure, we all have our preferences, but hate is such a foul word — and it’s probably making you look petty. Whether you’re on a first date or mingling with potential employers, search out subjects that enable you to talk about who or what inspires you. What’s the latest album you discovered? Who gave a memorable keynote speech? Which restaurant has wowed you? If you are in a position where expressing dislike is a necessity, try a subtle approach: “I’m not a big fan of eggplant” or “Call me crazy, but I’m not really into the music of Taylor Swift.” Whatever you do, don’t be a hater.
Be genuinely interested in others — and search for “positive commonalities.”
I’m constantly flattered when someone who I meet at a party poses relevant questions about my work or my hobbies. The truth is that every human on this planet knows something I do not, and subsequently has the potential to teach me something new. Viewed this way, a social event is literally a goldmine of learning potential. If you’re interested in going beyond mingling and building a rapport with someone, the trick is to find stuff that you have in common. Bonding over positive commonalities is the foundation necessary to build a genuine relationship.
Don’t take yourself too seriously.
The painful truth is that you are far less important that you can imagine. In fact, there’s a good chance that, within a few generations of your death, the very concept of you will be completely forgotten. I’m not trying to catalyze an existential crisis. Instead, I’m encouraging you to take a bit of perspective — and to take a whopping step back from your role of perfect student, perfect employee, perfect son, perfect sister, perfect _________ (fill-in-the-blank). Allow yourself to be the messy, imperfect human being that you are — then exhale and keep going. People with a sense of lightness are the ones we like to be around.
Up next: 20 Things I Learned in my Twenties