Everyone wants to be liked, right? If you get down to the nitty gritty of hard truths, life is easier if people like you. If you doubt me, just think about how hard it was walking into a classroom when you were the new kid in town. It’s easier to be liked. We don’t have to devote any time or effort questioning our actions or our words if the room is smiling and hanging on your every quip and anecdote. Being liked greases the wheels in work, at social events, and in some instances, at Thanksgiving dinner when you’re around relatives that only remember you as that kid who screamed and ran around the table as they were trying to relax after too much pumpkin pie last year…or was that twenty years ago?
It’s easy to relegate likability to a weakness, something people lean on when they don’t have the courage of their conviction, when being liked is the end, rather than the means of achieving goals…be they as simple as wheedling the car keys from a nervous parent, or that promotion you really aren’t positive you can handle, but, what the hell? Likability is something everyone barters with daily, hour to hour, giving it up here if it holds you back, retaining it here just in case you’ll need it later. Sometimes we get it right and everyone likes us, allowing us to relax. Sometimes we’re not successful and we acquire enemies, or fall out of favor, then life becomes hard. The currency of human interaction is power, money and beauty, but for most of us, all we’ve got to work with is likeability.
Is it any wonder readers want their characters to be likable?