My college roommate, Hannah, was the most charming person I had ever met. Anywhere we went, she effortlessly charmed people off their socks and had them asking after her even when she was long gone.
She can light up a room with just her presence, which made her one of the popular kids who everyone wanted around. Well, thanks to her I got to be invited to almost every college party.
However, with time, it got overwhelming and I wanted to know how Hannah did it. “How do you charm people without doing too much?”, I’d ask, and she’ll say with a laugh, “I don’t know, it just happens.”
Years later, I realized that she was right. Some people are born with that innate skill of being charming. But don’t get discouraged yet, there’s good news.
Just like with every other trait, it is possible to hone your skills and learn how to be socially charming. Here are practical steps to take.
1. Use positive observations
There is nothing that spells social awkwardness than that tense silence between you and someone you’re just meeting for the first time. Imagine you just sitting there, overworking your brain as you try to search for something to say.
In my years with Hannah, I notice that it never happened. She was the type of girl who didn’t know what awkward silences are. The very second she meets you, she strikes up a conversation that keeps both parties interested for so long.
How did she do it? Positive observations and compliments.
According to this scientific research on how people react to compliments, Professor Sadato said, “To the brain, receiving a compliment is as much a social reward as being rewarded money.”
When you master the art of giving genuine compliments, then you’re on your way to becoming socially charming. The next time you find yourself in awkward silence with a stranger, find something cute about them and compliment them.
“Hey, I love your shoes. I’ve been looking for leather in this color of matte brown!”
2. Be vulnerable
During social interactions, when you tell people secret things about yourself, it makes them feel closer to you. A lot of people are so closed off these days that they hardly want to talk about the things going out in their lives.
They paint themselves out to be living the best life without any flaws, even when they are not feeling 100% okay.
When you’re vulnerable with people, they will in turn be vulnerable with you. This brings two people closer together. You also have to master the art of listening attentively to others when they speak.
Show empathy, and ask questions. You will be surprised at how many people are walking around with a full heart, looking for who they can confide in. When you prove to be that person, people will find you socially charming.
Related: How to Be Charming as a Quiet Introvert
3. Invest in social engagements
Have you ever approached someone who was on their phone, then the moment you strike up a conversation, they put their phone away and give you their attention? The feeling is so wholesome and makes you feel important at that moment.
To be a socially charming person, learn to cut off distractions when talking to others. It takes some getting used to, but in the end, it’s worth it.
When people have your undivided attention, you will be surprised at how much more they are willing to confide in you.
4. Say people’s names
People don’t understand the power of names. When you meet someone for the second time, and instantly remember their name from your first meeting, it automatically inspires the need for friendship in that person.
They’re elated that you remember their name, and it makes them feel like they made a lasting impression on you.
According to this research article, forgetting people’s names often leads to a decrease in their sense of belonging, and also makes them feel like crap. It’s even worse when you call them a different name.
The brain stores a lot of information, it might be tasking to remember the names of everyone you meet. However, to be socially charming, it’s a compromise you have to make.
Also read: 8 Things Charming People Don’t Do
5. Make direct eye contact
Another way to become socially charming is by making eye contact when you’re in a conversation.
According to this research on personality and social psychology, people think more highly of you when you maintain eye contact with them during a conversation. Nothing speaks of confidence and social savviness more than eye contact.
Now, there are a lot of people who have anxiety and find it difficult to maintain eye contact, but if you want to be socially charming, you’re going to have to learn this. Start by opening up your body to the other person. This shows they have your attention and would get them to open up more.
Instead of staring directly into their eyes, you can also choose to focus on a spot near their eyes. It could be above their eyelids, or the spot in between the orbs. Keep your eye contact gentle, and break it every 5 to 15 seconds to avoid staring too intensely.
6. Find people’s interests
People love to talk about themselves, especially when given the chance. If you listen attentively, their interests will shine through. As someone who is looking to acquire the socially charming trait, you must learn how to listen properly in a conversation.
Listening makes all the difference. Not only will it help you remember important details, but you will also be able to pick the conversation apart and find their interests.
When you know people’s interests, conversations become easier, and less awkward, making you a better conversationalist. People will always remember you and look forward to the next meeting.
7. Respect people
During social interactions, it is expected that you will come across people whose opinions you do not agree with. These people might be loud, and wrong and say all the dumbest things, but your reaction to them is what determines whether you are socially charming.
When you are graceful enough to respect other people’s opinions, even when you don’t believe in them, it leaves a lasting impression on them.
To show respect to people, learn to find a common ground during conversations. You might not agree with everything the other person is saying, but try to find specs of the conversation that you agree with, and talk about that. Even when disagreeing, always be polite, and get your points across amiably.
Interesting: How to Be Effortlessly Charming
8. Stay positive
There will be times during social gatherings when everyone will panic over something. It could be in a classroom, and everyone is nervous about the looming class project.
Or in a work setting where everyone is anxious about the upcoming presentation. To prove yourself as a socially charming person, this is your cue to speak up and make sure everyone is relaxed. When people can associate you with these feelings of peace, you become socially charming.
I remember one time we had a class group presentation. On D-day, it was time to present and the whole group was overcome with nerves. That presentation would mark half our grades for the semester, and we were strung taut.
Hannah came to the rescue. She spoke gently to everyone and helped review the notes. She also volunteered to go first, giving everyone else a chance to prepare more. None of us forgot what she did that day.
All these might sound like a little extra work, but it takes work to be socially charming, and only those who put this in will enjoy the benefits. These benefits include better employment opportunities, more dating options, great interpersonal relationships, and so on.
The ability to charm people during your first meeting has so many advantages, as you will find out when you start honing your skills. Learn these traits and become socially charming today.
Related: 6 Simple Ways to Be More Charming In Conversations