5 charming habits of people who are liked everywhere they go (that you can steal)

Here’s a story about Seinfeld alum Julia Louis-Dreyfus that shows she’s just as charming in real life as she was on the hugely popular sitcom:

“I met Julia Louis-Dreyfus in line for the Peter Pan ride at Disneyland,” a person under the alias of zestymate posted. 

“She was right in front of us with her kids, and it was clear she was on a family outing.”

The poster says this was right after Seinfeld had wrapped its final season, and she was a huge fan of the show. 

Despite being excited, she didn’t want to draw attention to the star. 

“I just smiled at her, and she smiled back. We ended up chatting about Disneyland and what rides we had been on. Just as she was getting on the ride, she turned around and smiled and winked at me.”

Zestymate says she is convinced that the “wink” was Louis-Dreyfus’ way of saying thank you for not interrupting her day with her family. 

The thing about charming people is they are able to communicate without saying a word. They are engaging, entertaining, and have an easy confidence about them—whether or not they’re famous.  

So what sets charming people apart from the rest of the crowd?

Feel free to steal any of the following five habits. 

1) They frequently engage in something called “The Flick”

When someone looks into our eyes while we’re talking to them, it makes us feel good and connects us, says the team at Cooper Vision

It also suggests the depth of your involvement with the person and what he or she is saying, says this guide on how to charm people.

Charming people also have something called “the flick.”

“Flicking is the simple act of shifting your gaze from one of the person’s eyes to the other while you are listening.”

The flick is a sign of genuine interest and you’re hanging on every word of what the other person is saying. It makes them feel like what they are saying is fascinating. 

2) They talk less and listen more 

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There is an ancient quote by Zeno of Athens (350 B.C.) that says: “The reason why we have two ears and only one mouth is that we may listen more and talk less.” 

I’m introverted by nature so I tend to listen a lot more than I talk. But at the same time I do like to get my opinion across now and again as well, particularly when I feel strongly about something. 

As someone who interviews people for a living, I’ve learned to really hone in my listening skills so that I don’t miss anything because the response to a  follow-up question can often be more telling. So it’s vital to ask the right follow-up. 

I’ve also learned that talking using my expressions instead of my words can be more effective. It subtly tells the person I’m interviewing that I found that particular thing they said to be interesting. 

An expression can also say, “I heard what you said but you’re not really answering my question” without directly calling them out (as this can make them close up completely). 

This often compels them to answer more deeply without my having to push them. 

I truly believe that listening is a skill and that there is an element of charm involved.

3) They see charm as something to be cultivated and fine-tuned 

This story from Squire Rushnell’s Godwink book series has stayed with me for many years.

A young woman was determined to make it in Hollywood as an actor. She was waitressing to make ends meet and auditioned for roles every chance she could—but she wasn’t getting anywhere and was starting to lose hope. 

She had an audition lined up for a movie that the late actor John Ritter (from Three’s Company) would be directing.

The audition was to be something freestyle and she couldn’t figure out what her “act” should be, so on a hunch she decided to go to a bookstore for some inspiration. Maybe she could act out a monologue from a famous play or something. 

As she was browsing, she happened to spot Ritter himself standing at a shelf leafing through a book. 

Her heart started pounding. What are the chances that she would see the director for the film she was auditioning for less than 24 hours before the audition! 

She knew this had to mean something. 

She thought about introducing herself to Ritter and telling him that she would be auditioning for him the next day. But that didn’t seem right. He might think she was angling for the part and it might be a turn off and work against her. 

The young woman thought fast. Then it came to her. 

She walked up beside him—not up to him—picked up a random book off the shelf and pretended to leaf through it. When he looked up, she made eye contact with him and said:

“This is exactly the book I wanted. I’m so happy I found it.” She turned the cover towards him so he could get a good look at it. Then she smiled at him. He smiled back. 

The next day, she took the book with her to the audition. She walked to the center of the stage and introduced herself. She made eye contact with Ritter. 

Then she held up the book. She made sure Ritter saw the cover clearly. Then she smiled at him exactly the same way she had the day before in the bookstore. 

A look of recognition came over Ritter’s face. He smiled back. 

The young woman continued with her act. 

She got the part. 

We tend to see charm as either you have it or you don’t. 

While some people are innately charming, others see socialization as an art form that should be continually refined. 

For example, have you ever noticed how some people are good at remembering names and even small details—often to a surprising degree?

This communication skill is good at unarming even the most guarded and closed off of people. 

And it’s not something that easily just comes to them. Charming people make it a point to memorize information that they can use in the future.

The fact that they remember instantly makes us feel better about ourselves, says Jeff Hayden, author of The Motivation Myth.

“[It] means, even in a small way, we matter. And that makes us feel better about the person who remembers us.”

Sometimes charm can be cultivated from a little bit of legwork. 

Say you know you’re going to be somewhere where there’s going to be someone you want to meet. You might do some research beforehand to find out something interesting to ask the person and then casually work it into the conversation or wait for an opportunity to do so. 

4) They aren’t adverse to showing vulnerability 

get more affection from your partner without sounding needy 5 charming habits of people who are liked everywhere they go (that you can steal)

British musician David Bowie is known for his musical genius but he’s also celebrated for the kind of human being he was. 

Here’s a story that illustrates how charming and kind he was:

In 1987, Bowie was at a private showing of his movie, Labyrinth. After the screening, he was to have a meet-and-greet with a group of children. 

One boy from the group seemed to be very shy and withdrawn compared to the rest of the children. 

Bowie asked the organizers of the event if he could talk to the boy by himself. It turns out that the little boy wasn’t really shy, but that he was actually autistic. 

Bowie decided to be vulnerable with the boy and told him that he was scared too—of everything. 

He said to the child that he, himself, was only able to face people with a “magic mask” that he would always wear. 

The mask was invisible, Bowie explained. He then put on a distressed expression and then “put on” the “magic mask” that helped him visibly “calm down”.  Bowie reminded the boy that everyone is shy and scared sometimes and that “we all wear masks.”

Bowie hung out with the little boy for a half hour. 

The boy would later go on to say that he felt much more confident since meeting Bowie. 

Bowie didn’t have to do what he did but he had the charm and the compassion to notice a little boy who seemed distressed and he went out of his way to help put him at ease. 

The musician also must have known that the experience would stay with the boy forever and that his words carried the weight that the child could draw from over and over throughout his life whenever he needed to. 

5) Their humor is something to behold 

Charming people have the gift of being able to lighten up the environment and make encounters more enjoyable. 

Wit is the humor that creates charm, says the team at DeepStash

Charming people don’t try too hard. Rather, they have an easy air about them and they don’t take themselves too seriously. 

“Wit begins with yourself, with self-deprecation.”

Needless to say, charming people avoid low-value humor. They don’t insult or put people down. Those are complete turn-offs. 

Telling a funny story from your past, for example, can build a rapport and give insight into who you are. 

One thing you can do is to make sure you always have a funny story, says the team at The Art of Charm.

“Take some time and brainstorm your best stories. Think of funny things that have happened to you…Write these stories down and practice telling them.”

The next time you have the opportunity in a conversation, you’ll be ready. 

Something to keep in mind: there’s a difference between charm and charisma…

People tend to think of charm and charisma as one and the same but there’s a fine line of difference that clearly distinguishes the two, says Jason Vu Nguyen from Medium

“Simply put, charm is ‘I come to you,‘ and charisma is ‘you come to me.’ Charm invites you in, gets intimate and seduces you. It’s the embodiment of ‘I like who I am when I’m with this person.’”

A charming person is easy to talk to, they make you feel comfortable, and they leave a lasting impression.

Make sure you’re always leaving that lasting impression. 

Wendy Kaur

Wendy Kaur

Wendy Kaur is a Toronto-based journalist whose work has been published by The Globe & Mail, ELLE USA, ELLE Canada, British Vogue, Town & Country, and others.

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