Charming is “seduction without sex”, said Robert Greene.
Learning how to be charming indeed will make you more socially popular and sought after. This article explains what charm is and how you can become more charming.
- What’s Charm
- How to Be Charming
- Charming Men Example
- Examples of Non Charming Behavior
- Sex Appeal and Charm
- Dangers of Charm
Google dictionary defines charm in very simple terms.
Very pleasant or attractive
And that’s exactly how it is.
Pleasant is the most important part: if you are not pleasant you can’t be charming.
But the upper echelons of charming are not “either/or” but are both pleasant and attractive.
Attractive can be, and often is, sexually attractive. But not necessarily: charming is social seduction, not necessarily sexual seduction. Thus old, fat and ugly people can also all be charming.
Traits of Charming
The traits of a highly charming personality are a mix of social skills, high personal value and warmth:
- Calm and comfortable
- Warm & welcoming
- Socially in control, confident & calibrated
- Bonus: sexy (helps increase the value you share)
Charms and Social Skills
Charming happens at the intersection of highly developed social skills and high personal value. High personal value includes an element of “comfort within one’s skin” and social confidence.
You can’t be charming indeed if you’re nervous and self-conscious.
Focus on People
Social charmers have very well developed in social skills and they focus on the people around not on themselves.
They ask question, take people under their arm, build people up and tell everyone how wonderful it is to see them. They also save people’s face and help mend disagreement.
If charmers were a book, they would Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends.
Why Charming is Good
When the charmers make people feel good, everyone will love them (law of social exchange). And the more people will love them, the more they will push the social charmer up in the social hierarchy.
That’s the charmer’s virtuous cycle.
Charmers and Value
Why is it important for charmers to be high value?
It’s because only high value people can effectively build others up. The higher the personal and social value of the charmer, the more he can build up the people around and make them feel great.
How to Be Charming
Keep in mind that each single entry here is a skill, a talent or an art in itself. We won’t go into the details of each one of them, but here’s a quick primer of what you need to be charming:
1. Love People
You can fake anything in life of course. And probably many politicians who are labeled as “charming” do overplay their love for people and social interactions.
But in the long run, it’s way better to develop a natural liking for people and social interactions.
Here’s what charmers love:
- Social interactions
- Getting to know people
2. Converse Well
Conversation is the invisible glue of social interactions, and being a good conversationalist is the bread and butter of charming.
Talk Little About Yourself
The world is full of self-absorbed ahole, and none of them is charming.
Talk little about yourself, and be ready to ask question back.
Focus on Others
Listen to people, ask questions, compliment when you feel they’re looking for approval and take mental notes on what makes them tick. The more they come to crave your approval, the more power you get.
Humor is not necessary, but it helps.
Self-deprecating, uplifting or slightly sexual humor are particularly great.
3. Build People Up
Charming is all about making the people around you feel great.
You can use:
- Self-deprecating humor
- Pompous introductions
- Saying others are way better
Mohammad Ali does it here with Tyson:
Ali is charming because he deprecates, looking humble, and builds Tyson up. Tyson loves it and so does the crowd (just listen to the cheering).
In turns, Tyson says Ali would win, which makes for a memorable skit that raises both men values.
Imagine if instead Ali had answered with “we will never know”.
4. Remember Names & Details
Remember people’s names and details, then ask more about them as the conversation progresses or when you see them later on. People will love you for it.
5. Raise People to Your Level
The higher you are in the social hierarchy, the easier it is being charming.
One of the less understood reasons is that being high in the social hierarchy allows you to give a bigger “lift” to the people around you.
It also works socially, as everyone will admire you and think you are tremendously magnanimous -and charming-.
Obama does this often, with his famous fist bumps to janitors and small shop stops.
6. Make Friends
An easy way to be instantly charming is to walk into a place and knowing everyone. People saying hi to you and you saying hi to everyone will immediately boost your social value (at least relative to the people in the venue).
7. Be Smooth
Sometimes it’s easier to understand things by looking at their opposite. By “smooth” I mean the opposite of nervous and self conscious.
Charming people relish other people and social interactions, and they happily move around the room smoothly and fluidly.
Thanks to their social skills they enter and leave groups with ease, flowing gracefully around the room.
8. Stay Positive in Social Adversity
It’s easier being charming when everything is swell and we’re flying. What differentiates the top charmers from the lucky break charmers is how they keep their composure when things don’t go their way.
Keep a good attitude in front of a critique, smile at a social jab and you will show charming superiority.
That’s one way to treat people
That’s a charming way of answering to what might seem a social slight. It shows superiority and a strong frame in the face of (social) adversity.
Here’s another fantastic example with George Bush.
9. Avoid Social Climbing
And of course, you must avoid all killers of charm such as:
These are all signs of combative behavior that makes you come across as unfriendly, bitter and generally low status.
Charming is different than the super confident, the cocky or the charismatic. Charming is about relating to others, and vulnerability helps us relate.
A strong frame of confidence with the odd vulnerability is supremely charming.
Look at the charming master of them all, notice the vulnerability in his aura, how he shows cracks of discomfort that only make him more charming and attractive:
Charming Men Example
And here are a few example of charming men and women:
#1: George Clooney
George Clooney is the archetype of the charming man.
Almost any video you take of Clooney and any real life interaction it’s going to be an example of pure charm.
Good natured even on questions he doesn’t like, gets a “woooh” from the ladies with the underwear joke and builds everyone up around him (except for his date, typical of avoidants, but that’s another topic).
#2: Bill Clinton
If Clooney is the archetype of the charming sexy man, Bill Clinton is the archetype of the charming political man.
Notice how he meets a random man. And immediately puts his arm around him. And asking “where are you from”.
#3: Leonardo Di Caprio
Catch Me if You Can is a movie highly based on social charm:
Notice the vulnerability at minute 1:05.
If he had pretended not to notice the sexual game, he would have looked stifled or clueless. But if he had jumped on it, he would have looked to hungry and eager.
His fake coy reaction instead is smothering sexy charming.
#5: A Charming Hostess
I have been looking for a great video of some top charmer woman, ideally one hosting an event and greeting people.
I couldn’t find one, but I remembered of this amazing story from Leil Lowndes’ How to Talk to Anyone, I quote without paraphrasing:
The best example I heard of this high sensitivity was from one of my clients. She was invited to brunch at the home of a wealthy socialite known as “Lady Stephanie.” Lady Stephanie’s home was filled with beautiful objets d’art. Not the least among them was an exquisite collection of extremely valuable Fabergé eggs, which all the guests admired.
At the end of the elegant champagne brunch, my client told me she was walking out the door chatting with several other guests. Just then, Lady Stephanie sidled up to one woman leaving at the same time as my client. “Oh, I’m so happy you were admiring my Fabergé collection,” Lady Stephanie said, sliding her hand into the pocket of the guest’s mink coat and plucking out one of her priceless eggs. “You must have wanted to see this one in the sunlight. Come, let us look at it together. It does reflect the bright light beautifully.”
The mink-clad thief gulped and furtively looked around to see who had witnessed her gentle entrapment. My client and everyone in the foyer saw what happened, but took Lady Stephanie’s lead and pretended naïveté of the attempted heist.
Carrying the charade a step further, Lady Stephanie and the sticky-fingered guest “admired the egg in the sunlight.” Then Lady Stephanie, with her Fabergé egg secured safely between her perfectly manicured fingers, marched home to put the treasure in its rightful place. The attempted egg snatcher crawled back to her car, from her last attendance at Lady Stephanie’s coveted bashes.
The hostess let the foiled filcher get away with a few slivered shreds of her ego left intact.
Why did Lady Stephanie come out ahead? Everyone who witnessed—and subsequently heard about—the thwarted burglary has renewed respect for Lady Stephanie. Snaring the thief, yet sparing her pride, helped Lady Stephanie keep her reputation of “hostess with the mostest.
Examples of Non Charming Behavior
And now an example of a behavior where charm was badly needed but everyone failed badly at social grace.
- The guy who says “we lost by the way” shows a bad temper about losing
- The bald one is too socially crude in taking the winner’s card out of Betty’s hands (the presenter)
- Beatty is terribly defensive and instead of easing the social tension he increases it
- The co-hosts screaming “Warren what did you do” comes across as piling up
Sex Appeal and Charm
Charm makes both men and women high quality, but not necessarily sexy.
Let’s examine a bit the relation between charm and seductive sex appeal:
Men, Charm & Sex Appeal
For men to be successful with women charm is not necessary.
You can be successful with women going through life as a lone wolf with limited social skills, by being edgy and even by being unfriendly.
However, that being said, any top high quality man must know how to be charming when needed.
It’s an important trait which highlights social skills and social comfort. A high quality man who cannot be charming has a huge chink in his armor.
Women, Charm & Sex Appeal
Charm in men denotes social confidence and a certain level of social dominance.
Building people up is also usually a sign of either social superiority or social equality (when lower status men do it it’s kissing up).
When women do it too much, they risk coming across as overbearing, and if they look too dominant they lose in femininity.
That’s why women who want to keep a broader sex appeal should be careful to adopt a more feminine style of charming.
That being said, a slightly more demure social charm in women is also a sign of very high quality.
Dangers of Charm
In The Art of Seduction Robert Greene righteously says that some people view charmers as slippery and deceitful.
This is especially true for very direct people who don’t appreciate much the charmer’s self-effacing and pleasing attitude.
Charmers tend also to be what during the European religious wars were called “politique”, such as people who don’t take extremist stances and prefer dialogue and moderation.
This is a another type of crow where charmers don’t do too well in: extremists and hardliners don’t like them indeed. They tend to see charmers as too intellectual, refined and slippery.
Leading in Turbulent Years
During turbulent years political charmers also suffer. People look for conviction, charisma and strength in leaders. The appeasing charmers tend to lose out to the charismatic men.
If you want to lead during difficult and revolutionary times, that’s when you should drop your charming ways, scream louder and embrace strong positions.
Charming is a mix of social skills, personal value and sharing that value to build people up.
Having a high intrinsic personal value and high social status will indeed greatly increase the social charmer power in making people feel good. And making people feel good will in turn translate in into increased social status for the charmer.
This post provided you 9 tips on how to be more charming and plenty of examples.