We all have that one friend who, inexplicably, gets everyone they meet to like them—all without even trying. How do they do it?
You know those people who can walk into any room and within five minutes have every single person’s attention, friendship, and loyalty? Take Liza Koshy, for example. She started off making silly videos on Vine, transitioned to YouTube, and is now a hugely successful young woman, acting as Vogue’s celebrity interviewer at the Met Gala two years in a row. Liza doesn’t take herself too seriously, makes silly faces, and seems like she’d be the most fun person at a sleepover. We find ourselves uniquely receptive to her and liking her, without even knowing why. It’s because she’s charming.
If you’re anything like me, being charming is something that, while you’d love to become the very embodiment of it, you’ve also felt is always just out of reach. It feels like charm is natural to only a select few, leaving the rest of us to fend without. It’s understandable to feel incapable of possessing that kind of charisma, but we’re actually doing ourselves a huge disservice by believing this magnetic appeal is reserved for a lucky group that doesn’t include us. It’s difficult for some of us (read: me) to grab onto, but while some work is involved, we too can learn to be charming.
With that in mind, what exactly can we do to acquire some charm? Here are the four most common habits of charming people:
1. They smile with reckless abandon.
Smiling is the single easiest way to come off as open, approachable, and engaging. This may sound simple and elementary, but in the midst of being bogged down with work and dealing with our personal lives, we often forget to think about how we’re coming off.
Smiling is the single easiest way to come off as open, approachable, and engaging.
Of course, we shouldn’t be expected to have a smile plastered on our face all day every day (we all have demanding lives!), but I’ve noticed the people I end up liking for no real reason are the people who always greet me with a sincere, eyes-all-lit-up-smile.
2. They listen better than anyone else.
You know that moment when you’re in the middle of telling a story about some rude person on the subway, and your listener seems like they couldn’t care less? Charming people wouldn’t let that happen. Perhaps the best active listeners around, they not only make a point of holding eye contact to let their storyteller know they hear them, but they also throw in a “hmm” and “yeah, exactly” every now and again to show that they’re invested in the story being told. If there’s one thing people love, it’s being listened to.
3. They’re not afraid of a joke.
One of the most attractive qualities of charming people is their ability to laugh at themselves, take a joke in stride, and even take it a little further. It lets us know that they’re comfortable enough in their skin to allow others to poke some fun.
They’re comfortable enough in their skin to allow others to poke some fun.
They look at the world lightheartedly and want to assume the best intentions of others - meaning, they don’t think everyone’s always out to get them. When we’re able to regard our circumstances with a good dose of humor, it inevitably makes our lives that much easier, while also putting others at ease.
4. They make everyone feel like the most interesting person alive.
We’ve all had those conversations that seem to lull after we’ve both given our generic responses to “So what do you do for work?” But here’s where charming people take it a step farther. They ask tons of questions while slipping in a few affirmations: “That’s incredible. Have you always wanted to be a comedian?” “What do you like most about it?” “I really respect comedians. It must be hard to figure out the ropes.” Shifting the focus onto the other person, but making it specifically about something they love, will instantly make them feel special and heard - two things we all love to feel.
We all want to be liked. We want our presence desired, our jokes laughed at, and our stories paid attention to. But what I’ve found is that a huge part of being liked is actually shifting the spotlight off myself.
Being charming is quite simply about putting the needs of others before your own.
How can I make others feel unique? What can I do to ensure their comfort? What does this person need most from me right now? Being charming, in the end, is quite simply about putting the needs of others before your own. So get out there and charm away!