April 25, 2009

"What would you say are the elements of personal charm? What resources would you recommend for someone seeking to be charming?"

An earnest question.

26 comments:

Brad V said...

Employ little "asides" at just the right moments to show you're a real person, no matter how impersonal the circumstances.

Simon Kenton said...

I think energy is the most attractive human characteristic.

AJ Lynch said...

Professor,that is such an interesting question. You constantly bubble with curiosity in so many things. Before I try to answer this question, would you please ask me another?

Oligonicella said...

One should always be themselves. Fake charm is not an attractive trait. In particular, once discovered, it makes all else about the person appear fraudulent.

Laura(southernxyl) said...

Be interested in the other person, as genuinely as possible. Reveal yourself, but not in such a way as to make everything about you.

Sofa King said...

Attentiveness is one of the most important aspects, I think. The charming person pays (or appears to pay) more attention to you than you would expect.

The weird thing about charm is it seems like it can be as easily applied for noble ends as nefarious ones. As a singular virtue - if a virtue - it is a terrible proxy for overall character.

Jason (the commenter) said...

Charm is a kind of stupidity where you don't recognize your faults, but your confidence is great enough to compensate for those faults.

rhhardin said...

Charm comes from canere, to sing.

It doesn't hurt to have a dog either.

David said...

Genuine humility and the ability to defer to others without disappearing from the conversation.

Sheepman said...

Disarming in a pleasant, fluid manner.

jimbino said...

The dumber and less-exacting you are, the easier it is to be "charming." Like House and Monk, I can't stand the thought of putting up with those idiots, much less of attempting to charm them, who say "absolutely!" when they mean "yes", "in terms of" when they mean "with regard to", and who say, "the problem is is that ...."

Throwing up on someone who abuses English cannot charming.

Being charming, in any case, is extremely overrated. I agree with the (paraphrased) philosophy of my alma mater University of Chicago, which is: "If you can't say something disagreeable, don't say anything at all."

traditionalguy said...

There are many different answers to what charms people because there are many personality types that feel and think differently when meeting the same "Other Person". Some are outer directed and sociable while another group are inner directed and need more time alone, and another group only thinks and does Not permit feelings. The famous Chemistry between people does on occaision override a person's normal ways of relating. When it happens, then hope that you can learn each other's preferences and practice making allowances for one another ( this is called Love) before one develops immunity to the great chemistry. Also it helps to be over the guilt and traumas of the past...See a good Psychologist,or a real Christian Counselor, or both.(Think of it as a Malware/antivirus scan). Then do not need them, and they will come.

rhhardin said...

Wm.Empson on Zuleika Dobson``Not knowing how large the trife may be, the reader has no means of being certain whether he would be charmed or appalled.''

Paul Zrimsek said...

Throwing up on someone who abuses English cannot charming. Hah! The Iron Law of Pedantry claims another victim!

Laura(southernxyl) said...

RH, that is an interesting book. I scrolled down a page or so and saw this:

TRO. What offends you Lady?
CRESS. Sir, mine owne company.
TRO. You cannot shun your selfe.
CRESS. Let me goe and try.

Do you ever irritate yourself? I do. Sometimes I've wondered if I had an autoimmune thought disease.

William said...

Fitzgerald spoke about personality being an unbroken series of successful gestures. But I got the impression that Fitzgerald thought that the best state was being so wealthy and beautiful that personable people made the effort to be charming while their superiors masticated the meat.

Christy said...

Taking delight in other people usually works. I can be charming, but I find it exhausting. I must come home and take a nap.

When I think of charming people, I cannot recall any who were unattractive. Thus the question becomes entangled with how much charm contributes to attractiveness.

k*thy said...

For someone to be charming, I think they'd have to have two qualities - a positive outlook and showing a genuine interest and attentiveness toward those around you.

save_the_rustbelt said...

Lack of pretension and condicension,
a genuine interest in other people.

(Crap, I can't spell condicen.......
a word I have been able to spell for decades - I guess I shouldn't blog during the NFL draft.)

traditionalguy said...

One more thought. The strange way humans operate includes liking intensely the hard to get, avoidant people,while disparaging and blowing off sincere people coming on strong. Maybe people feel safer in control over an imaginary relationship with a figurehead man than they do in a real relationship with a man they fear they cannot control. Is that wise or cowardly, you tell me.The solution here is to join into the same cultural groups under an authority, like any club, church, or team activity. Then the fear of that man's strength is tempered with the knowledge that the man is under authority/civilized.

BJM said...

Charm, like charisma, is an innate personality trait.

There is no try, only do.

traditionalguy said...

Does Charm mean using a "hypnotic spell"? Then you got it or you don't. I think of charm as meaning the attraction between two people who like each other's emotional chemistry/presence. Obama has Charm under the hypnotic spell definition. But he is therefore also a cold fish who has no mercy in his soul, but he can easily capture control of peoples minds.That is not personal charm, but is only a tool/weapon.

Penny said...

"Disarming in a pleasant, fluid manner."

Well stated, Sheepman. I would add the element of time. You find someone charming in the moment or even a series of moments.

Few of us would call our best friends charming because we know each other too well. The same could be said about those we work with daily.

Charm is an interpersonal skill, not a core personality trait.

Maxine Weiss said...

An interest in sports always helps.

Sports lovers snag all the most prestigious employment and are always very well-connected socially.

Love,
Maxine

Maxine Weiss said...

A spray-tan and a good French manicure = charm personified !

Rick Lee said...

Hehe... if somebody with a spray tan and a french manicure approached me to talk about sports I'd run in the other direction.