They're the people we flock to at parties. Men want to be them, women want to do them (and vice versa).
Is there any hope for the rest of us? Yes.
Those people probably work really hard at being likeable and so can you. It's not rocket science. Manners, confidence, kindness, humor -- all these things will boost your appeal factor. Follow these 10 easy steps and you'll be 10 times more attractive. I promise.
Take care of the obvious: These things should go without saying but don't necessarily. So, let's take care of them all in one category, shall we? Watch your posture. (Yes! They're always saying that and you're rolling your eyes but stop and look at how you're sitting right now. Aha! I thought so. Sit up.) Get outside, get in shape. Bathe regularly, get a haircut, and for PETE'S sake brush your teeth. Please. It's amazing how much stank breath there is out there. If someone offers you a piece of gum or a mint, take it. They might be trying to tell you something.
Get a hobby: I don't care if it's snowboarding, bird-watching, amateur archaeology or collecting stamps, wrestling figurines or outdated world maps. Being interested in something makes you interesting and being an expert in something is even better. And forget concerns about the "coolness" of a hobby. The geek vs. cool notion is an antiquated one now that tech heads rank high in the business world and Tolkien nerds rule Hollywood. If she doesn't think your Swiss Basel Dove (oh, look it up people!) is the coolest thing she's ever seen, well, should you decide to sell it, you don't have to spend any of the $15,000 on her. Forget her. Having a hobby also leads you to like-minded people.
Make people smile: A study by Benedict Jones at Aberdeen University published in the Royal Society's biological research journal in 2007 found that women ranked men as substantially more appealing when shown images of other women smiling at them. Always. And the psychologists believe men respond the same way. Sure, we like to think attraction is all personal taste but in reality we take our social cues from others and from our sexual competitors. Use this to your advantage by getting everyone to like you. That way, when someone of interest comes along, you're in the perfect position. And you know one thing that makes people smile? Smiling yourself.
Reach out and touch someone…On the arm! The ARM! Studies repeatedly show that a light touch can positively affect impression and increase compliance to a variety of requests. A 2007 study at the Université de Bretagne-Sud in France, found that a light touch on the forearm significantly increased a man's chance of getting a dance or a phone number. Touching people shows you're a warm person and asserts your presence in a positive manner. You should probably keep it to the arm at first, but leaning in to hear something a person is saying can merit a light hand on the shoulder or letting someone go ahead of you might be a good time for a deft hand to the back. Just make sure it's a warm gesture. Not a gross one.
Engage: One of the highest compliments often paid in homage is "He/she makes you feel like the most important person in the room." It's a device used by politicians and great people alike and has been said of Obama, Bill Clinton and Jackie Kennedy. Often when talking to people in social settings we're looking around or over their shoulder, trying to see what's going on behind them. Stop it! Look whoever you're talking to in the eyes and smile -- another study by Jones at Aberdeen found, not surprisingly, that people find those who do this most attractive. I once read somewhere (can't remember where) that there are "Here I am!" people and "There you are!" people. The latter set is infinitely more likeable. A trick, if you have trouble looking people in the eye, is to look at their forehead between the eyes. They can't tell the difference.
And don't just look interested. Be interested. OK, maybe she's talking about shoes. But maybe she knows more about shoes than anyone you've ever met and she wrote her PhD dissertation on How Manolo Blahnik Subverted the Subjugation of Women in the Workplace. Harvard professor Ellen Langer does research in making people engage in activities they don't typically like -- i.e. listening to rap music. She then has them notice one, three or six different things about whatever that thing is and, here's the thing, the more they notice, the more they like it. That's what getting engaged is. And the more engaged you are, the more engaging you will be.
Be well read: Read books. It's amazing how many people out there don't read. It doesn't matter what you read. Just read something for Pete's sake. You don't have to have read everything by Shakespeare, Dickens or Hemingway, but at least knowing who they are and having a grasp of what they're about will, I guarantee, open up your social options. Though, of course, what impresses people depends entirely on your social circle. Read the newspaper. Read magazines. Know what's going on in the world. Knowledge will not only boost your confidence but will give you something to talk about when it's time to make conversation.