"i think i might like you": 9 communication strategies to elicit liking from others

Starting a new relationship is tough. You have to meet someone, talk to him or her, and then you have to like this new person and get this new person to also like you. It's hard work. But, once that fondness for one another is developed, a relationship can begin. What can you do to generate feelings of fondness and liking? Well, researchers have identified a few key communication strategies that have been shown to effectively elicit liking from others. Below are nine of these strategies. Before we begin though, it's important to note that these strategies are useful when trying to generate liking from a potential romantic partner and from potential friends.

1. Talk About Similarities
The first strategy is to talk about things that the two of you have in common. Maybe you both like sports or maybe you both like to dance. Bell and Daly (1984) discovered that highlighting similarities, like shared interests, hobbies, and attitudes, can elicit liking from potential partners. For more information about similarity, check these other Love Lesson posts.

2. Include Him/Her
Baxter and Philpott (1982) found that one of the most popular ways to make friends was including the other person in activities that bring the two of you together. Here, you could invite your potential new friend or partner to hang out with just you or with others. Either way, you're including that person in your life, which has been shown to elicit liking (Bell & Daly, 1984). So, ask this person to come to a party you're throwing or to go to the movies or out to dinner, all of which will make this person feel like you want to be around him or her. Once you've established a sense of liking for one another and a relationship had begun to develop, don't forget to keep things interesting by going on unique dates and spicing things up.

3. Ask Questions
Asking questions to gain information about another person shows that you're interested in getting to know them and that can cause people to like you (Baxter & Philpott, 1982; Bell & Daly, 1984). Getting others to self-disclose information about themselves by inquiring is a great way to learn about your future romantic partner or friend and discover things that the two of you have in common. But remember, you don't want to get too personal too soon. Start with superficial questions like, "where did you go to school?" or "do you like Italian food?" And then after some time, you can move to more intimate questioning like, "what's your political affiliation?" or "what are your feelings about children?"

4. Do a Favor
Doing favors for other people has been shown to be a great strategy to make friends (Baxter & Philpott, 1982). Offering assistance, helping others, and volunteering to do something for someone else can generate feelings of liking. But be careful that you don't go overboard. Doing everything for someone can cause that person to walk all over you or cause you to resent that person in the future. There's a fine line between doing favors and doing everything.

5. Self-Disclose
Collins and Miller (1994) examined a large group of self-disclosure studies and found that self-disclosure definitely has the ability to cause people to like you. But, just like everything else, use some caution when disclosing and don't disclose too much too soon. Start with more superficial information like where you're from or what your favorite sports team is and then move to more intimate information like your stance on religion or a difficult experience you encountered in your life. Overall, self-disclosing and being open about yourself are excellent ways to elicit liking from your future romantic partner or friend.

6. Engage in Small Talk
It may not seem important, but effective small talk about trivial things like the latest Britney Spears scandal or the quest for the Superbowl Championship can springboard the conversation into more personal discussions about your hometown, profession, hobbies, and the like. In particular, small talk has been shown to be a very popular communication strategy to ask someone out on a date (Berger & Bell, 1988).

7. Give Gifts
No surprise here, but research (Baxter & Philpott, 1982; Bell & Daly, 1984) has shown that giving people gifts can cause them to like you. Surprising a potential mate or friend with little presents lets them know that you're thinking about them and that you like them, which can additionally cause them to like you. You could buy someone his/her favorite candy bar or even make him/her a little something special, but whatever you do, be sure to put some thought into your gifts for the best results.

8. Present a Positive Image
Being positive is a marvelous way to start, maintain, and intensify any relationship. So, it makes sense that presenting a positive self-image towards others is also a good way to generate liking from others (Berger & Bell, 1988). Being enthusiastic, optimistic, and energetic about life can easily make people like you. As I've written about before, optimistic people are viewed as much more attractive and approachable than pessimists. Once you get into a serious relationship, positivity continues to be very important for maintaining that relationship. But, careful that you're not positive ALL of the time. Being positive to avoid serious marital problems is not a good idea.

9. Compliment
"Compliments and other cues which demonstrate that one thinks highly of the other" (Dindia & Timmerman, 2004, p. 696) has been shown to be an excellent way to make friends (Baxter and Philpott, 1982), flirt effectively, or start conversations with others. So, compliment your potential soulmate or future BFF, it can generate liking and maybe even start a relationship.

Unfortunately, liking isn't the only thing that keeps a relationship going strong, but it can definitely give your relationship a good foundation to build on.

  • Baxter, L. A., & Philpott, J. (1982). Attribution-based strategies for initiating and terminating relationships. Communication Quarterly, 30, 217-224.
  • Bell, R. A., & Daly, J. A. (1984). The affinity-seeking function in communication. Communication Monographs, 51, 91-115.
  • Berger, C. R., & Bell, R. A. (1988). Plans and the initiation of social relationships. Human Communication Research, 15, 217-235.
  • Collins, M. L. & Miller, L. C. (1994). The disclosure-liking link: From meta-analysis to a dynamic reconceptualization. Psychological Bulletin, 116, 457-475.
  • Dindia, K., & Timmerman, L. (2004). Accomplishing romantic relationships. In J. Greene & B. R. Burleson (Eds.) Handbook of Communication and Social Interaction Skills. Lawrence Erlbaum, Mahwah: NJ.

*This group of communication strategies was adapted from Dindia and Timmerman's book chapter entitled, "Accomplishing romantic relationships" in Greene and Burleson's 2004 Handbook of Communication and Social Interaction Skills.

fandango bucks winner!

After using random.org to determine the winner, one lucky reader was chosen to receive $20 in Fandango Bucks. Drumroll please..........................

Steph is the official winner of the Fandango Bucks!

Congrats Steph! All you have to do now is send your name and email address to jenslovelessons@gmail.com by 5 p.m. on Jan 25 and then I will send you your gift card.

Not Steph? It's okay, there will always be more giveaways!

wise love words: affectionate talk feels good

"I love the way you look at me," "You're special to me," and "I love you." It's not hard to believe that hearing phrases like these from your partner can ignite feelings of closeness and intimacy in your relationship. But, did you ever wonder why? An article by Professor Kory Floyd and doctoral student Sarah Riforgiate from Arizona State University, originally published in Communication Monographs, answers this question. Check out these interesting wise love words for yourself.

giveaway: fandango bucks


As you know, I love love. To celebrate this love for all things love, I'm hosting a giveaway. Valentine's Day is right around the corner, and what better way to celebrate than to go see the new romantic movie Valentine's Day. It has an all-star cast that includes Ashton Kutcher, Jamie Foxx, Jessica Alba, Bradley Cooper, Queen Latifah, Julia Roberts, Taylor Swift, Patrick Dempsey, Eric Dane, Kathy Bates, Jessica Biel, Hector, Elizondo, Topher Grace, Anne Hathaway, Taylor Launter, Jennifer Gardner, George Lopez, Shirley Maclaine, and Emma Roberts. Phew! Anyways, it looks great (see trailer below or click HERE for the movie's website) and I can't wait 'til it comes out. But that's not what this giveaway is about. That's just a suggestion.

This giveaway is for $20 in Fandango Bucks, where you could go see Valentine's Day. Or, you could go see Dear John, Avatar, The Book of Eli, Did You Hear About the Morgan's?, It's Complicated, Sherlock Holmes, Up in the Air, or any movie for that matter. You can read all about Fandango HERE.

Here are the giveaway prize details:
  • $20 Fandango Bucks Movie Gift Card
  • Eligibility: US residents only

Want to win? Here's how to enter (you can enter once or twice):
  1. Become a fan of Jen's Love Lessons on Facebook (Already a fan? Great! Not a member of Facebook? Skip to step 3).
  2. Find the link to THIS GIVEAWAY on my Facebook fan page and make a comment answering the following question: How will you use your Fandango Bucks if YOU won?
  3. Go back to this giveaway on Jen's Love Lessons and make a comment about the Fandango Bucks (anything will do).

All entries (comments on Facebook and on Jen's Love Lessons) will be combined based on time of entry (so technically, if you comment on both, you're increasing your odds of winning). Then, the winner will be chosen using random.org.

You have until SATURDAY January 23, 2010 @ 5:00 p.m. EST to enter. The winner will be posted on the Jen's Love Lessons homepage that night. The winner will then have until 5:00 p.m. EST on MONDAY January 25 to email me at jenslovelessons@gmail.com with his or her contact information.

*All entries received after the cutoff time will be deleted prior to choosing a winner.

Good Luck!

just for the love of it: 5 winter date ideas

Brrrr! Baby, it's cold outside. This winter, find unique ways to keep warm with the one you love. To get your juices flowing, here are a few winter date ideas, just for the love of it!

Take a Class

Learning something new together is a great way to build and maintain your relationship. Look up classes being offered to the public at your local community center, university or college, or any other venue that might be offering a class you may be interested in. For example, you may want to check with a nearby arts & crafts store (you may find a pottery seminar or model airplane building workshop), gourmet restaurant (many times, gourmet restaurants offer cooking classes in the morning), or sports complex (you could learn to play hockey together) to see if anything peaks your interest. You could learn a new language, become competent in web design, perfect your dodgeball abilities, or familiarize yourself in the art of poetry. Taking a class together can bring you closer as a couple and give you something to do for a day or even a few weeks.

Get Warm in Water

Look up indoor pools in your area and go swimming. You could check out your local community center (ex: YMCA) or even a hotel nearby. Pools are usually pretty empty in the winter, so you never know, you may have the pool all to yourselves!

Go Tubing

Get bundled up in your cutest snow gear, buy some intertubes, and spend the day flying down a steep hill with your partner. Better yet, if you live within driving distance of a ski resort that offers tubing as an option, go there. The excitement that you will experience and the mishaps that will likely occur will leave you with a few good stories to share with others down the road. When you're done, split a warm hot chocolate (maybe with a little Bailey's?) and reminisce about your adventurous day together.

Rent a Romantic Movie

Snuggle up on the couch and watch your favorite romantic movie. The Notebook, Casablanca, & P.S. I Love You are all great choices. Click HERE to see all of my favorite romantic movies.

Build a Snowman

Low on cash? If you live in a snowy environment, occupy yourselves by building a snowman (or snow-woman) together. Hey, you could even have a playful snowball fight with your partner.

communication privacy management: a theory about keeping your conversations private

Over the holidays, Hus, our kids, and I traveled to the east coast to visit family. Near the beginning of our trip, my mom made a comment to Hus about something he had told me a week earlier. I didn't think anything about the conversation that ensued, but apparently he did. He later pulled me to the side and said, "you told your mom about that?" To which I replied, "Yeah, I talk to my mom about everything." "EVERYTHING?" he yelled. "Maybe not everything, but most stuff," I said. Hus looked at me and answered, "Well, I'd appreciate it if we could keep our private conversations a little more private."
After our discussion, I began to think about why this act may have upset him. Then I remembered a communication theory that may be able to shed some light on the cause of our exchange.
Petronio’s (2002) theory of communication privacy management (CPM) addresses the tension between sharing and concealing private information in disclosure situations. CPM is a rule-based theory, which explains that individuals develop boundary and privacy rules that help them decide whether to reveal or conceal private information about themselves. These rules are made to help individuals maximize rewards and avoid any costs associated with self-disclosure. Central to CPM is the notion that a person owns information about him or herself until he or she shares it with someone else, at which point, the information becomes co-owned by both people. Also, if boundary or privacy rules are violated, disclosers could feel anger, distrust, or distain towards the person they shared their private information with.
There are five main principles used to explain how people control whether information about themselves is kept secret or shared (Petronio, 2002).
  • First, individuals believe that they own their private information about themselves.
  • Second, individuals therefore believe that they have the right to control whether or not the information is shared with others.
  • Third, individuals use privacy rules that they have developed to decide whether they will open a privacy boundary (i.e. share the information) or keep the boundary closed (i.e. not share the information).
  • The fourth principle states that when individuals share their private information with others, those other people become shareholders of that information. It is assumed that these new owners of the private information will also follow privacy rules that were developed by one or both people.
  • The last principle is concerned with what happens when rules are broken. Specifically, when a problem occurs (e.g. the privacy rules are broken), individuals may begin to not trust the person they shared information with. This could subsequently lead to suspicion or uncertainty when deciding whether to share information with this individual again in the future.
Similar to social penetration theory (Altman & Taylor, 1973; Taylor & Altman, 1987), CPM also emphasizes the importance of maximizing rewards and minimizing costs when disclosing information to another person. The benefits of disclosure could range from self-expression to relationship development to social control, while the risks could include loss of face, status, or control. Self-disclosure always involves some degree of risk. This risk, according to CPM theory, leads individuals to establish boundaries around information that is considered public or private (Petronio, 2002). These boundaries allow individuals to control who has access to the information and motivates them to set expectations for co-ownership of information once it is disclosed to others (Petronio, 2002).
When individuals self-disclose, they give over something they feel belongs to them (e.g., private information), and therefore they feel they should retain the right to control it, even after the initial disclosure. Thus, rules about when and how to share information with others are created by the initial information-holder prior to the initial disclosure and then again after that individual has shared his or her information. The rules that are developed can be the same and stable over time through repeated use or can also be highly situational and may be changed to fit new circumstances. These rules help people know when to conceal information, when to reveal information, what type of information can be revealed, and who the information can be revealed to. For instance, Alaina may have private information about her recent abortion. When Alaina decides to tell her best friend Violet about the abortion, she may create rules with Violet explaining that the only other person who knows about her abortion is her boyfriend, the only other people who can know about it is their other friend Jill, and she only wants to talk about it with Violet when they are alone. These rules help Violet know what is and what is not acceptable when discussing or sharing Alaina’s private information.
To summarize, Petronio’s (2002) theory of communication privacy management explains what privacy is and how the process of sharing private information works. The rewards-to-cost ratio along with boundary rules created by the initial information-holder influence whether a person decides to share their private information with someone else. Once information is disclosed, original rules are reformulated or new rules are created about when, how, and to whom the information can be shared or discussed. Lastly, if any of these rules are broken, individuals may experience negative outcomes, including relationship dissolution.

So, I've decided that the next time Hus tells me something that he considers private information, I won't be telling my mom. (Well, I'll at least make sure that she doesn't say anything about it to Hus this time!-- Just kidding... kind of.)

  • Altman, I., & Taylor, D. A. (1973). Social penetration: The development of interpersonal relationships. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
  • Petronio, S. (2002). Boundaries of privacy: Dialectics of disclosure. New York: State University of New York Press.
  • Taylor, D. A., & Altman, I. (1987). Communication in interpersonal relationships: Social penetration processes. In M. E. Rolloff & G. R. Miller (Eds.), Interpersonal processes: New directions in communication research (pp. 257- 277). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

postcard WINNER!

After using random.org to determine the winner, one lucky reader was chosen to receive 100 post cards. Drumroll please..........................

Maddy G is the official winner of the 100 post cards from UPrinting.com!

Congrats Maddy G! All you have to do now is send your name and email address to jenslovelessons@gmail.com by 5 p.m. on January 4 and then UPrinting.com will contact you directly with instructions to make your custom post cards.

Not MaddyG? It's okay, you can get your own customized post cards by visiting UPrinting.com today!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...