Everyone wants to be liked and admired. But think about your last work meeting, family gathering, or high school reunion -- clearly, lots of people don't fall under such a category. At least in my experience, it's generally easy to find other human beings who are slothful, underachieving, complaining, cheap, or crabby. If you're a high-achiever, those descriptors likely don't apply to you (I hope). But just in case, check this list of things you can do to make sure the people in your circles think you're great.
1. Do more than merely show up.
Probably everyone who works full-time believes themselves to be a hard worker. But does the habit of showing up on time and fulfilling the basic requirements of a job actually reflect a strong work ethic? Compare the latter with a nurse working double shifts to put a kid through college, a salesperson who regularly pulls herself out of bed at 3 a.m. to catch a flight, or a laborer who lifts thousands of pounds of building materials daily (just ask a drywaller, roofer, or block-layer how much they carry in a day). There's something uniquely admirable about individuals who put in long hours doing hard work to earn a paycheck.
2. Hold a higher standard by paying attention to details.
A close cousin to the principle of working hard is a tendency toward excellence. Cleanliness and order are manifestations of holding a higher standard for yourself, as is the simple ability to follow directions. Try giving detailed instructions to 10 people involved in a project. Most likely, a certain percentage of the group won't follow your requests to the letter. Those who do stand out in a good way.
3. Build trust by never spouting negativity.
Nobody likes a complainer -- period. Yet, this is a remarkably difficult habit to change. Try punishing yourself in some way (pushups, perhaps?) when you find yourself pointing out the annoying things or people in life. And as far as bad-mouthing others goes, just know this behavior does not reflect positively on yourself. You'll gain the trust of others when they know you're never the person rolling her eyes, whispering to a co-worker or otherwise exhibiting a bad attitude.
4. Show who you really value by how you spend your money and time.
I have an aunt who practices the aforementioned habits, in spite of longstanding health problems and a challenging job that puts a strain on her body and calendar. Yet, somehow she finds the time to drive two-hours round-trip to my house -- usually once a month -- to bring my family a meal, recognize someone's birthday, or just spend an hour around the kitchen table drinking tea and catching up. She is singular in her selflessness, and the lesson she teaches is that how you spend your resources speaks to what you truly value in life. My family knows she loves us because of how she behaves, and our feelings are reciprocal. If you want to be special in someone's life, practice generosity. Don't be the person who underpays on a restaurant bill, or has such a full calendar that getting together for drinks with an old friend takes two months to coordinate.
5. Use your face with intention.
Meaning, smile. Your days are finite, and as the saying goes, no one gets out alive. So, why be so serious? Make good eye contact (with your phone put down) when someone is talking to you. Laugh when a co-worker makes a joke. And at home -- with the people who likely are most important to you -- replace your neutral expression with one that turns the corners of your mouth upward. It's the single easiest way to be lovable.