Wednesday, July 16, 2008

How To Be Charming

"I'm about to depart for a month to a place that feels like home to me. The entire atmosphere has been very nourishing for the eight years I have known it. However, the generally friendly people there have never received me with much warmth (as I am something of an anomaly). This year I suspect I'll be even more foreign to them than usual. I think these people are golden (if a little closed-minded sometimes), and I want to charm their socks off. How would you approach such a venture?"

There's nothing more difficult than finding something you love and having it somehow not love you back. As hard as it is to say, people can be cruel sometimes and very close-minded when it comes to the unfamiliar. Personally, I've never understood it, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't happen. The one way that I've found to appeal broadly to almost everyone is by being charming - a trait that originated as far as I can tell in old American cinema. Starlets like Audrey Hepburn and Bette Davis could solve almost any problem by batting their lashes and turning on their legendary charms. But how exactly did they do it? Is charm a talent that you're born with, or does one acquire it like a favorite pair of shoes?

Being charming takes practice, but once perfected it can be used in most any situation and, more importantly, can send your self-confidence skyrocketing out into the stratosphere. For the every girl and socialite alike, here are the charm school basics.

Set Down the Ground Rules
Before you embark on any kind of social adventure, write out a small list of promises that you'll make to yourself. Promise yourself that you will never compromise who you are just to gain the attention of others. Promise that you won't have more than one or two casual drinks in public. Promise that you will always sing karaoke when the opportunity arises. Whatever you can think of! This kind of list is for whatever you find to be important socially and morally - it's the social samurai's code of honor. Write one up and stick to it!

Always be Yourself
It's key to always be yourself, even if you don't fit perfectly inside the lines of normal. A lot of times people will find folks that they wouldn't normally give a second glance to be incredibly endearing so long as they are upbeat and friendly. Stick to your morals and personal beliefs like glue and never back down from them - in the long run, this will earn you way more respect and admiration than sacrificing them for attention ever will.

Essentially, flirting and charming are the same thing - your intentions as the flirter are really the only difference between the two. Be as appealing as possible, keeping eye contact and making your positive attitude known, but the key is to present yourself in a graceful yet fun air. Act as though you were chatting up that beautiful boy with a cup of cafe au lait or that darling girl with bubblegum pink hair ribbons - even if you're not romantically interested, at worst it will always keep people interested!

Go Out Of Your Way to Talk to People
Don't intrude on their conversations at dinner, but do strike up a chat with people you wouldn't normally talk to. If you're trying to charm a particular group of people then don't be afraid to walk straight up to them and introduce yourself. Be eccentric! Follow your hello with batting your lashes and a question about their thoughts on god. If you have no particular group you're trying to thrill in mind, then simply take any opportunity to strike up conversation. Shop-keepers, waiters, supermarket cashiers - talk to whoever you can! The key is to know your limit; never draw out these tidbits of conversation into your whole life story. Charming girls always have a bit of mystery to them!

Keep Everything Casual
Informality is the key! Make people feel like they can really open up to you by placing them in a casual, easy-going setting. Never drill them with questions, even if well-intended! Tell a silly anecdote, ask them about their favorite movie, and let them answer at their leisure. People will feel much more inclined to respond positively to you if they feel relaxed.

Stay Relaxed
On that note, you too should be calm, cool and collected! Do some breathing exercises, fill your house with lavender, drink chamomile tea, or even practice light yoga. Do whatever you feel is most relaxing and conductive to a positive mood. Charming girls always appear as though they don't have a care in the world, even when the world is on their mind!

A little happiness can go a long way - never be afraid to flash a genuine smile! If others are trying their hardest to shoot you down or if you find yourself in a rocky position, a true smile will always turn the situation upside down. Others are drawn to those who appear to be happy and carefree and a smile does both for you. It's trite but true - a smile spreads joy.

Be Humorous
If you aren't normally a very funny person then this might be a tricky one, but the message here is basically never be afraid to joke. Wit is never out of place when meeting new people. With this said, there is a fine line between wit and just plain inappropriate humor. I love dirty jokes just as much as the next girl, but they have their place and it's definitely not a good thing to throw out to people you've just met.

Practice Your Diction
For some strange reason, truly charming folk always have astonishingly perfect diction. They annunciate perfectly and never slur their words, a trait that may be hard for those of us who have a lot to say and so little time to say it! Nevertheless, practice makes perfect and when it comes to speaking, slow and strong is the way to go. Practice tongue-twisters in the mirror or shout out monologues and soliloquies while driving to work. If you're truly dedicated to the charmed way of life, you could even consider taking drama classes or auditioning for a local play. Theatre always gives you the means to perfect your speaking!

Penelope ♥


Casey-Scott said...

What fantastic advice! I'm really loving all the amazing work you're doing here - keep it up!

My Stifled Laughter said...

Great advice! I never would have thought of posting a blog on how to charm people... well, keep it up! :)