Someone with a warm personality may come across as kind, affectionate, friendly, and receptive. It isn’t the same as being heart-warmed, though.
You go to a party where you know very few people. While you’re standing alone, someone strikes up a conversation with you. They ask engaging questions, make a few jokes, and introduce you to others. You go from feeling awkward to feeling at ease within a few minutes. This person probably has a warm personality.
Some people often use the terms “warm” or “cold” to describe how someone’s personality comes across in social settings.
While a warm person may be engaging, gregarious, and welcoming, a cold personality might instead come across as reserved, aloof, and emotionally distant.
If you tend to come across as having a cold personality, and you’d like to change that perception, you can learn how to be a warmer person to others.
There are many different theories of personality in psychology, and there is no hard-and-fast definition of a “warm personality.”
A warm personality is commonly associated with traits like:
Additionally, a 2013 study found that warm people may be perceived as less egocentric than cold people. In other words, warm people may be more likely to consider that other people’s perspectives differ from their own, which is the foundation of empathy.
Not everybody who comes across as a warm personality embodies all of the above traits. Someone can have a warm personality without being particularly empathetic, for example. People might also seem warm in some situations and cold in others, particularly if they use their warm personality to manipulate situations.
Whether someone has a warm personality or not is subjective and may depend on your culture and social norms.
There’s a difference between being “warm-hearted” and having a “warm personality.”
The term “warm hearted” often refers to being caring and compassionate at your core. A “warm personality” may be more about how you come across to others.
Let’s say you have a neighbor who comes off as standoffish: they never wave and seldom talk with you. But when they hear you’re ill, they drop off a casserole and offer to run to the pharmacy for you. Although they might have a “cold personality,” they may do warm-hearted things like these.
Similarly, someone can come across as warm when they’re actually cold hearted. Although they might seem friendly and agreeable on the outside, they could also have difficulty experiencing empathy and compassion for others.
Warm personality vs. emotional intelligence
Having a warm personality is not the same as being emotionally intelligent.
Emotional intelligence is about regulating and expressing your emotions and handling relationships with empathy and self-awareness.
Emotional intelligence and warm personalities are both associated with empathy and strong social skills.
Being emotionally intelligent might help you come across as warm in social situations. However, someone can be emotionally intelligent without having a warm personality, and vice versa.
If you want to come across as having a warm personality in social situations, these tips may help.
Try to practice active listening
Active listening may include:
- learning to focus on what someone is saying instead of letting your mind wander
- offering non-verbal cues to show you’re interested (nodding, making eye contact, leaning forward)
- asking questions that show you’re listening
- reflecting what the other person said
- pausing instead of responding immediately
Learning to be an active listener can improve your relationships and make you come across as a warmer and more affectionate person.
Consider asking engaging questions
People with a warm personality may be good at striking up conversations with everyone and keeping the conversation engaging.
If you notice that someone seems shy, try to ask them to weigh in on the discussion without putting them on the spot.
For example, if people are hotly debating “Game of Thrones,” you may ask them a lighter question, like “What about you? Which series do you enjoy?”
Other engaging questions and prompts may include:
- “How do you know [host’s name]? We went to college together.”
- “I really like your t-shirt! I’m not very familiar with that band. Where should I start if I want to get into their music?”
- “I’m so tired. I just started hiking for fun. What do you enjoy doing with your time?”
Asking engaging questions helps people feel at ease and welcome. They may appreciate you’re showing interest in them and their ideas.
Try to work on your self-esteem
Some people seem cold and aloof when they’re shy, self-conscious, or socially anxious.
There’s nothing wrong with being shy, unless it causes you distress. Working on your self-esteem might help you feel more confident about navigating social situations.
You can improve your self-esteem by:
- challenging negative self-talk
- practicing self-compassion and talking with yourself kindly
- celebrating your achievements, both big and small
- using positive affirmations
Strengthening your self-esteem may help you feel comfortable enough to be more engaging and friendly in social situations.
Warm personality vs. charisma
People with warm personalities might also be described as charismatic.
Charismatic people come across as charming, and they can easily attract and influence other people.
Warm personalities are often charming because they attract others and make them feel at ease.
The value you assign to cold or warm personality concepts is subjective but may also be influenced by your culture and social environment.
There’s nothing wrong with having a cold personality, even if this is portrayed as negative sometimes.
It depends on how you feel. If you’re OK with keeping a distance from other people or not being a social butterfly, that’s what matters.
However, if you wish you came across as warmer or would like to be friendlier to others, working on developing a warm personality may be the right path for you.
Sometimes, being comfortable around other people or engaging them in conversation may help you feel more confident in specific situations.
A warm personality can make you seem more approachable and likable to strangers, friends, and co-workers. Others might be more inclined to open up to you and approach you with ideas or questions.
But you can still experience these benefits by being a warm-hearted person who genuinely cares for others, even if your demeanor may come across as cold.
A warm personality refers to someone who comes across as friendly, open to others, enthusiastic, and affectionate. It’s different from being warm hearted, though.
Being an active listener, including others in conversation, and feeling confident may help you come across as a warm person.