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Want Someone to Like You? Subtly Imitate Them

OK, that sounds a little creepy, but it has been verified in research that people like others more when they mirror their mannerisms or actions. In other words, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and we like to be flattered.

Research has shown that waiters get bigger tips if they repeat the exact words back to customers who are ordering food, and participants in one study were even more altruistic after they were mimicked. (They were more likely to pick up pens for the researcher who dropped them if they’d been imitated earlier.) Scientists theorize that, from an evolution perspective, mimicry promotes safety in groups by being a sort of “social glue.”

What this study doesn't mention is the pure narcissistic pleasure of being imitated. So if you want to wow an interviewer, for example, subtly adopt the body posture she has — leaning forward when she does, nodding when she does. Just don't go Marcel Marceau on her! Because then it would be weird.

Image Source: Getty
lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
As Pistil brought up, that kind of conscious pretending to be interested in things is not the same as the mimicking referenced in this article. And I too can see through things. I just think ridiculous to make a statement that it's obvious that women are just pretending to be interested in sports just to impress men. It's obvious that the people you are around often are very different than the people I'm around often. And would you really want to date someone who would leave you just because you don't like something he likes? Also, how do you know that that is why you "lost him."
dikke-kus dikke-kus 8 years
lilkimbo more power to you if you like football. I just tend to see through a lot of things. Like girls pretending or "mimicking" things in men to get them interested. Even I've even been tempted to say, yes, I love skiing or this or that to get a conversation/possible date in the old days. One time I flat out said I hate skiing and I lost my date. So who says the truth worked then? Guess I should have mimicked him and his skiiing for a while then lost interest later on after a few slopes for a drink or two.
Pistil Pistil 8 years
I don't think that kind of behavioural mimicry and changing your behaviour to impress someone is quite the same thing.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
Dikke, I'm sorry that you know women like that. About 90% of the women I know LOVE football. I have a friend whose husband started watching more because she was so into it. Unless you know the women to whom you're referring, I don't see how it could be obvious that someone likes or doesn't like something.
dikke-kus dikke-kus 8 years
That must be why I see so many girls going to football games and shouting loud from their seats like the men. It seems obvious to me in most situations they try to impress their boyfriend at the time. Funny how after they get a commitment they go to less and less games. Must be a sort of mimic thing there too.
mix-tape mix-tape 8 years
My best friend uses this to write papers for school and swears by it! She writes down in her notes word for word some things that the professor might say and uses them in her assignment papers! She says they love it and some will comment on how she made a great point. I think it's interesting, but haven't tried it myself.
janneth janneth 8 years
I think this really works.
runningesq runningesq 8 years
Ha, Beth, I was thinking of the same thing - love the episode of The Office :)
Pistil Pistil 8 years
Unconscious mimicry is a normal part of human social interaction. I remember seeing someone experiment with it, seeing how far another person would mimic their behaviour :)
lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
Yeah, I think most people who aren't socially awkward just do this naturally.
Smacks83 Smacks83 8 years
Sleekeasy...that was my first thought! "I learned it from sociology, psychology...and this really awesome show in VH1 that teaches you to pick up girls!" Creepy, but funny.
chatondeneige chatondeneige 8 years
GlowingMoon, I was thinking the exact same thing!
GlowingMoon GlowingMoon 8 years
Truthfully, I think I know about this intuitively. I do subtly imitate those I interact with. I do this naturally. I think this is probably why people like me. :)
bethinabox bethinabox 8 years
Heehee, this makes me think of The Office, when Andy tries to get Michael to like him by acting EXACTLY like him, only not so subtly.
sleekeasy sleekeasy 8 years
this reminds me of an episode of big bang theory, wolowitz was "charming" a girl at a party by imitating her actions. he came off so creepy!
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