The Like Switch by Jack Schafer Ph.D – Book Summary and Notes3 min read

💡 Overall Thoughts

In the Like Switch, Jack Schafer has distilled his many years as an FBI Agent into this tangible guide for having better connections with people. The knowledge in this book provides skills and systems for understanding how connections between people are typically formed naturally.

Overall, there are some great points here that we can apply in virtually any conversation when we want to relate to people. By using empathetic statements, displaying friend signals, and using the golden rule we can have better interactions with people.

💡 Main Takeaways

  1. Humans send and receive signals that can be perceived positively or negatively.
  2. Golden Rule: make people feel good about themselves.
  3. Show you understand and can relate to people by giving empathetic statements.

Book Notes

Friendship Formula

The friendship formula consists of proximity, frequency, duration, and intensity

Friendship = proximity + frequency + duration + intensity

Quickly gain rapport by establishing common ground.

A stranger stands out and becomes a person of interest by sending friend and foe signals, which are both verbal and non-verbal.

Types of Non-Verbal Signals

Friend: Facial expression (smile), eye contact, confident alert body language

Foe: Facial expression (scowl), lack of eye contact,


People send out friend signals to others that make them viewed as non-threatening and approachable.

Signaling is found in nature such as how fireflies have a blink frequency that signals mating.

Every species uses signaling to communicate non-verbally.

3 Friend signals: Eyebrow flash, head tilt, and genuine smile.

Use the Golden Rule

Golden Rule: Make people feel good about themselves. Direct your focus away from yourself and on the other person.

Other people will be eager to fulfill your wants and needs if they like you.


  1. Give empathic statements: You understand what the other person is feeling and relate to them. “So you ____” “So you are having a good time tonight”
  2. Make the other person feel good about themselves.

When you make other people feel good about themselves, you not only get people to like you, they want to make you feel good as well.

Example: Ticketing agent at airline was yelled at by customer. You come up after the customer leaves. You give an empathic statement: “It looks like your day could be going better.”

  1. Find commonalities. People like people who are like themselves.
  2. The law of misattribution: when two individuals share an experience they are brought closer together.
  3. Pique an individual’s curiosity. Humans are naturally curious and want to satisfy that curiosity.
  4. Law of Reciprocity: Humans feel obligated to reciprocate a gesture in a like manner.
  5. Disclosures: Disclosing personal details increases likability.
  6. Law of Attraction: People considered to be more attractive are seen as likable.
  7. Law of humor: Trust and attraction increase when humor is used in interactions.

Word Mines: Words speakers are unaware that listeners take offense to. When an individual takes offense, don’t act defensively. Respond with empathic statements and parallel language.

“So you…”

Do the following when saying/doing something that someone found offensive:

  1. Ask if you did something that offended them.
  2. Understand their perspective and paraphrase it.
  3. Apologize it was received that way.
  4. Explain how you meant it.

Handling Anger

Keep the focus of the convo on the angry party allowing them to vent.

Do not engage angry people, because they aren’t thinking logically. The ability to reason/logic diminishes with anger.

Provide an explanation for a problem to de-escalate the problem.

Try empathic statements, venting, and preemptive statements.

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