Yes, plenty of us are charming today. But our modern world isn't exactly overflowing with opportunities to connect with others in a likable, sweet, and memorable way. It's so easy for our daily interactions to feel kind of closed off and fast-paced, which is why I think many of us are looking for old fashioned ways to be more charming.
By slowing down and bringing back a few simple niceties from day's gone by, it could help us all feel a bit more connected. Whether that means taking time to really talk to people, being a better listener, or going out of your way to be the best party guest ever, charm seems to be all about creating better relationships. As Arden Clise, a Seattle-based etiquette expert says, "When you spend time with someone who is charming they make you feel noticed and appreciated. You feel good being in their presence."
But being charming can go a step further, by also coming in handy at work. "When you are charming doors open easier," Clise says. "A charming person tends to have more friends, more job opportunities, and is more highly regarded." Sound worth it? Then read on below for a few tips you can easily add into your everyday life, so you'll always be the most charming person in the room.
1. Get A Bonafide Convo Going
There's something to be said for getting a real conversation going, especially in an age where so much of our communication happens in short bursts, or on the nameless, faceless internet. To do it like they did back in the olden days, make an effort to truly chat with the person in front of you.
"You’ll be very memorable if you are curious and interested in others," Clise says. "Ask open-ended questions that start with who, what, where, when, how, and tell me. When you listen with interest people will open up and feel close to you. That’s charming!"
2. Keep The Focus On Them
It may be tempting to check your phone, or cut your convo short in favor of running off to respond to something or someone else. But try not to. "Keep your phone away and take off your smart watch, and make the person you're with the center of your attention, just like in the past," certified counselor David Bennett tells Bustle. "One key element of charm is having 'presence' and you lose this when you're constantly distracted with technology."
3. Make That Phone Call
Talking on the phone might be the stuff of nightmares for some of us. But if you're feeling bold, nothing's more charming than reaching out to someone and letting them hear your voice. As customer service expert Nancy Friedman says, "The most common etiquette that appears to be ‘lost’ is a personal phone call to [a] host the next day thanking her for a lovely dinner, etc. Even to family." If you'd like to thank a host or a boss, or just say hey to a friend, I promise they'll love it if you do so over the phone.
4. Actually Write A Thank You Note
In the same vein, why not surprise someone with a hand-written note? "Who doesn’t love receiving a handwritten note in the mail? You can send a note after you’ve attended someone’s cocktail or dinner party, when you’ve been given a gift or someone did you a favor. Or [you can] write a handwritten note just to let someone know you’re thinking of them," Clise says. "I guarantee that note will stick around a lot longer than an email or text."
5. Use Their Gift Right Away
We all know the importance of showing up to parties with something in hand, like a bottle of wine or a box of cookies. But if someone does this for you, one of the most charming things you can do is excitedly pop it open immediately. "When someone brings candy or wine to your house, it’s good to use/open it right away," Friedman says. "Immediate praise!"
6. Memorize A Few Great Jokes
Was your grandma known for her one-liners? Did you grandpa always have a joke tucked in his back pocket? There seemed to be an art, back in the day, to being charming during get-togethers — and that often included having a go-to joke.
As modern day etiquette expert David Leo Yarus says, "There's no better way to break the tension in the room than to make people feel comfortable and laugh." So choose a few that'll win over any audience, and store them in the back of your brain.
7. Prepare Yourself Before A Party
While it may sound kind of creepy, there's all sorts of brownie points to be earned by knowing people at parties before you even get there. "Whether you're having dinner at someones house or attending an event as a guest, do your homework beforehand," Yarus says. "Study and learn the names [of guests] before and make a point to learn something special, unique, or important about them." That way you'll be able to compliment them, or keep a convo going. And nothing's more charming than that.
8. Take Pride In The Little Things
It's totally OK to throw together a quick dinner, without caring how it looks. Or to pour a drink, and throw it back casually. But if you want to be known for your charming, adorable ways, go ahead and throw a little flair into these everyday situations.
"I think paying a little extra attention to the details goes a long way," Yarus says. "For example, if you've cooked a nice dinner, try and plate the food in a fun way. Zest a lemon over the dish. Use a shaker to make a nice cocktail. Rim the glass and garnish it. Light a candle... you see where I'm going with this!"
9. Do Things On Time
It's so easy these days to do things last minute, or to show up late, because we can just send off a quick text and buy ourselves more time. But if you want to keep everyone's high opinion of you, try to break this bad habit.
"Being charming now can mean RSVPing promptly [and] arriving on time," says relationship expert Kryss Shane, BS, MS, MSW, LSW, LMSW. "These behaviors show respect to the party planner through responding promptly and not asking them to deviate from their plan to accommodate you." (Same goes for showing up on time to job interviews, dates, etc.)
10. Be As Sincere As Possible
A great habit to put into practice? Being as sincere as possible, even during little everyday interactions. "A sincere smile and a proper handshake are the basic ingredients that makes one a charming person," Jacquelyn Youst, president of Pennsylvania Academy of Protocol, tells Bustle. Whether it's at a job interview, or a networking event, everyone will remember the person who had a certain level of confidence, and truly connected with others.
11. Show Common Courtesy
Most of us hold the elevator, open doors for one other, and say "please" and "thanks" throughout the day. But it's charming to take it a step further, whenever possible. "Performing a kind gesture to a person in need is certainly a way to be charming," says Devoreaux Walton, an etiquette expert and trainer at The Poise Pursuit. You might let someone with fewer groceries ahead of you in line, for example, or give up your seat on the train.
Little things like these may not seem like a big deal, but they can make all the difference when it comes to being well-liked and respected. So let's go ahead and bring 'em back, and make sweet things — like writing letters, telling jokes, and truly listening to each other — a part of our everyday lives.