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What exactly does "charming" mean?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Because, apparently, I'm not. I've been told on various ocassions by people (who aren't trying to hurt me, for the record) that I'm neither charming nor charismatic. I have lots of good qualities but not those, apparently. The last incident of being told this was a few days ago. The conversation went something like this:

Person (a good friend who I dated a long time ago) - "I've been so depressed lately that I've lost my charming ways, and I'm normally a really charming guy."
Me: (something like) "Well, charm isn't everything."
Person: "True, I didn't fall in love with you because you were particularly charming, ha ha, yep, you're definitely not charming." He wasn't being sarcastic either, he really did mean it, but not in a mean way, just kind of like stating a fact.

So umm. That kind of hurt, as this seems to be a recurring comment I get from people from all walks of life. STBXH always was saying (on his nice days, esp. when we were still in the early stages of dating) how "you have a lot of great qualities, woman, but you definitely don't have an ounce of charisma" etc.

And I've heard it from other people too, good female friends as well as a couple more people I dated in high school or college, etc. No one was saying it to be MEAN, but why would you point out to a person that they weren't charming? I mean, really. I wouldn't point out that someone was a great person but they had a horrible sense of fashion, even if that was true. Or whatever. But this is something I've been getting all my life it seems.

What *exactly* is charming or charismatic? Attracting people to you? Magnetic personality? Ironically this comment seems to come mostly from significant others or good friends - so obviously they're attracted to me for SOME reason?!

I'm definitely an introvert and I'm not really comfortable in crowds, but I don't think the people saying it mean it in a "are you the life of the party" way but rather just in general.

I smile, I'm polite, I think I have interesting things to say... I'm not very good at telling stories, and I tend to ramble, but I think I'm a good listener too. I make eye contact. I don't have any bad hygiene or bad table manners or anything. I dunno! What else is there? Just some vague attractive quality that I lack? How does one go about a) cultivating it or b) making peace with the fact that that's just not one of the gifts I received?

TIA.
post #2 of 21
Goodness. I'm not entirely sure I can define charm or charisma, but it certainly doesn't lie in telling other people they lack it!

Thinking about charismatic/charming people I've known in the past... one guy had a perpetual grin and always seemed like he was letting you in on a joke. A very popular girl I used to know was always smiling as well. I guess it's partly about smiling, extroversion, making other people feel included/liked/special? I dunno. I'm pretty sure I'm not charming, but I have friends and a husband, so I guess I've done OK!
post #3 of 21
I think it means that either you're dull and boring, or you don't particularly care if you appeal to people. I just googled charming, and the definition I'm seeing frequently is pleasing and delightful. When I think of it, I think of it in the ability to do something almost magical in getting people to respond in a way they wouldn't normally respond...so kind of extrapolating from that, a way to really affect how people see you so that they see you in this really positive light. Charming people have the ability to change the mood of the people around them in a positive way, so to please or delight sounds right.

I don't know, I'm not charismatic and I don't think anyone would call me charming, but I feel like I'm nice and have other good qualities. But I'm the sort of person most people just ignore.
post #4 of 21
I personally do NOT think it means you are dull or boring. Charming people are "people"-people and charismatic people attract the attention of others---but people like Hitler were charismatic so I myself would avoid taking offense to these observations by friends.

You can have a lot of charm with zero depth.
post #5 of 21
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superficial_charm

I'd think in the romantic situations you referenced, it means you're not all sugar and spice and submissive and proper and polite and fake as women are supposed to be. Therefore, even if it wasn't the intent of the person to compliment you by saying you're *not* charming, I would certainly take it as a compliment.
post #6 of 21
Wow, it seems to me that your friends aren't using the words 'charming' and 'charismatic' correctly.

Perhaps you're blunt?? Direct? Not necessarily bad things.
post #7 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokering View Post
Goodness. I'm not entirely sure I can define charm or charisma, but it certainly doesn't lie in telling other people they lack it!


That was definitely an insult, especially coming from someone who is supposed to love you.
post #8 of 21
To me, someone that's charming has an infectious zest for life, is animated, and very importantly: Has the talent of really enjoying the immediate moment and enjoying sharing it with the people around them. They are self-confident and yet able to laugh at themselves so that it's not off-putting. I've always liked Oscar Wilde's quote "It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious." It's true - I've been drawn to some people that are essentially not nice people, but darned if they weren't charming (at first!).

But this doesn't mean that you lack zest or enthusiasm. Do you? Do you say things with enthusiasm? (I don't mean hyper.) Are you openly interested? I don't know you, so can't say if you're charming or not. I do know that it wasn't very charming for the people in your life to insult you that way - although maybe not meant to be cruel, it certainly wasn't tactful!
post #9 of 21
Just thinking here. I think a charming person is someone who feels comfortable with other people and also makes other people comfortable, they usually smile a lot and, most importantly of all, they acknowledge other people. You can have someone who's the center of attention (me! me! me!) and they are not necessarily charming. A charming person has a graciousness to them and they give attention as well as receive attention. Other people like to be around a charming people because they create an attractive and comfortable environment that other people like to share.
post #10 of 21
I think it's pretty bizarre for people to say you're not charming or charismatic and also for the person in your first example to say that they had lost their charming ways. I really don't know people who use either of those words in casual conversation very often. Maybe they're in common use in your area? I mean, certainly people know those words and do occasionally use them around here, but I think folks I know are much more likely to describe others as kind, friendly, open, interesting, funny, , wonderful, great, dynamic or intense. "Charming" has a bit of an edgy undercurrent to me bringing up a slight connotation of a "womanizer". I do occasionally hear people use it in a positive way without meaning anything negative like that at all, but it's just not a word that tons of people use around here.

Charisma is similar. I mean certainly if someone is really dynamic I might hear that, but it's not such and everyday word that you would switch it around and describe someone by their lack of that characteristic.

Maybe they mean "charming" in a Martha Stewart kinda way and they're saying you're not Martha Stewart in which case I'd take it as a backhanded compliment.

ETA: I just wanted to add that the way I usually hear "charming" used is sarcastically, like saying about a mean cat/person/dog/whatever, "he's being his usual charming self," meaning that he's anything but. I do have a friend who referred to someone else recently as "charming" and meant it as a genuine compliment, but it was so unusual to hear that it stuck in my head. Maybe I just usually hang around snarky people!!
post #11 of 21
charming = perhaps your ex meant flirtatious, coy, coquettish. Are you a blunt, tell-it-like-it-is person? If so, perhaps someone stating that you are "not charming" is a compliment.
post #12 of 21
Personally, I don't think charisma is something you can gain or lose...it's just something you have (or don't) and can manipulate it on varying levels (for good or bad).

Now charming...anyone can be charming. *I* can be charming when I want to turn it on, but I lack the charisma to continue to carry it out.

I've thought about this alot because my ex is highly charasmatic and it took me longer than I care to admit to see through it. When I finally did I started noticing how he'd use it against people to get his way. He certainly used it in a good ways (i.e. in his high profile job), but he most always used it to manipulate...yep, like Hiter (omg! if only he'd used HIS charisma for good!!!)

I've been told the same thing, that I lack charisma. But, I tire of putting on airs and always trying to feel like I'm trying to get someone to like me...when that's not really who I am. I'm an introvert like you so it doesn't come naturally...hence, I have very little charisma.
I mean, I don't think everyone that is charming is fake. Their measure of charisma might just make them highly charming, but I don't think it comes naturally to alot of people.

People telling you don't have any? I would take that on a case by case basis.
Coming from my dad I take it as just a statement of fact..he knows. Coming from someone I've dated...it would depend on how much I value their subsequent friendship and where I put them on my list.
Coming from my ex? While I might lend it some creedance cause he knows me, I would still blow him off cause I know it's laced with malice.

I guess it depends on how it makes you feel when you hear it.
I hear it now and just acknowledge it and move on. It's just a fact.
I used to hear and get all huffy because I felt like it was someone pointing out my "difference"....and I still hadn't accepted and become comfortable being myself.
I don't think people have to have charisma or be charming to be found attractive.

If you have a reaction to these statements then there's something niggling in the back of your mind making you uncomfortable. It's up to you to either become comfortable with your lack of charisma or try to cultivate your charm.
post #13 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by HappilyEvrAfter View Post
If you have a reaction to these statements then there's something niggling in the back of your mind making you uncomfortable. It's up to you to either become comfortable with your lack of charisma or try to cultivate your charm.
or "blow him off cause it's laced with malice."
post #14 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by pregnant@40 View Post
charming = perhaps your ex meant flirtatious, coy, coquettish. Are you a blunt, tell-it-like-it-is person? If so, perhaps someone stating that you are "not charming" is a compliment.
this is what I take charming as. Flirtatious with less sexy. Like you could be charming to an older relative etc.
post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by ~Purity♥Lake~ View Post
or "blow him off cause it's laced with malice."
True, I would agree with you but she said, "He wasn't being sarcastic either, he really did mean it, but not in a mean way, just kind of like stating a fact."
post #16 of 21
Oh, I've been told that a million times - both about being charming and being perky. I'm neither, and I take it as a compliment because that often is how people mean it. When I push something through (with community work) that required direct, assertive action, DH will say, "well, I didn't marry you because you're charming." It's not meant as an insult, and I don't take it that way.
post #17 of 21
I'd take it as a compliment. I often think of "charming" people as fake or phony. They're often able to put on a good, sweet face, but they often are not kind or caring people.

I have a family member who is charming; and I don't think much of her. She's pretty and knows how to say the right things, but she is truly mean-sprited and cold. Takes people a while to learn who she truly is.
post #18 of 21
I have a friend whom I admire and respect, who is a lot of fun, and who has a real verve for life (I think that's the right word), but I would describe her (in fact, I think I HAVE described her) as "not charming". It's not that she lacks the ability to make friends, it's not that she's boring or anything, because those things are not true. In her case, it's that she lacks tact. So do I, and I suppose that means I'm not charming either. In conversation, if a topic comes up that she's not interested in, she says, "I'm not interested in that," and then changes the topic. I think charming people change the topic without the other person even noticing. Anyway, her particular brand of "not charming" is neither a good nor a bad thing . . . it is a little offputting the first time it happens, but then you appreciate that you always know where you stand with her. I dunno, it seems to me like it's just a trait, like any other. If someone says I'm talkative, is that a compliment or a putdown? Depends on how they feel about that trait, and on how they mean it. I think "charming" is the same way.
post #19 of 21
For an interesting cerebral and historical perspective you might want to take a peek at "The Art of Seduction". It's not so much about Sexuality (thought that can be an aspect of charm/charisma), but of the seductive personality.

Quite interesting!

I think charming people can certainly be cold and 'evil', but I do not think that all charming people are that way NOR do I believe that charm in and of itself is a bad or negative quality. Charming people, in my opinion, are just one of the many types of people that keep the world turning.

So are the uncharming

I myself may fall somewhere closer to the Less Charming end of the spectrum, but I think that being aware of that and remembering that sometimes honey IS better than vinegar really makes my life easier.

Charming probably won't appear on my tombstone, but I'm ok with that
post #20 of 21

Personally I don't think being "Charming" is a compliment. The reason is, when you "charm" someone you are hypnotizing them you lead them on to believe something you are not. How many times have I heard "Oh he was charming at first..." of course he was charming AT FIRST. It that "charm" that attracted you to him but as time goes on the true personality surfaces and you see the person without "charm". So I wouldn't be worried if you are described as being without "charm" as it really means you are REAL you are who you really are. Now some people may not like your directness but that is their problem and quite frankly I would rather date someone who is direct and honest than someone who is pretending to be someone else just to please me.

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