Friday, April 4, 2014

10 Ways to be Charming

I love the title to this article, "10 Genuine Ways Anyone Can Be Exceptionally Charming," as if there were completely nefarious ways to be charming. That's one thing that I think is interesting reading the tales of victims of sociopaths. When you factor out other risk factors like drug abuse, alcoholism, bad family upbringing, etc., etc., my anecdotally based opinion is that sociopathy doesn't really seem to contribute that much more to ones propensity to "abuse" others (not misuse, but actually abuse). Maybe I am wrong, and I would love to see some actual data on this, but my impression is that the most common complaint against sociopaths is that they pretended to be so wonderful, which is why it was such a letdown to be let go. The truth is that sociopaths can be extremely friendly, considerate neighbors, passionate lovers, great listeners, funny, easy-going, intense, quirky/brilliant at times, and compelling. Despite being labeled "antisocial," sociopaths are often some of the most charming people you meet, and for the same reasons that anyone else is charming.

Here are excerpts from the top 10 list that I found most compelling(ly sociopathic):

  • When you feel someone "gets" you, respecting your opinion, your point of view, your experience--whatever you're communicating--Charming people willingly admit their mistakes. They don't mind serving as a cautionary tale. They don't mind being a source of laughter, for others and for themselves.then you naturally feel more important. The other person doesn't have to agree with you; they just have to show they respect you. How? They maintain eye contact. They smile when you smile. They frown when you frown. They nod your head when you nod. In simple, nonverbal ways, they mimic your behavior--not slavishly, but because they're focused on what you're saying. That feedback loop helps two people bond--and the ability to bond is the essence of charm.
  • Charming people don't try to win any unstated competitions with people they meet. In fact, they actively try to lose. They're complimentary. They're impressed. They're even willing to admit a weakness or a failure.
  • Charming people don't actively (or unknowingly) look to disagree; they look for points of agreement. Then, if it's appropriate, they gently share a different point of view--and in that way, help create an outstanding conversation. [See also my worst media appearances.]
  • Some people have a knack for getting you to talk openly yourself. They ask open-ended questions. They sincerely want to know what you think, and that makes you open up to a surprising degree. You feel like the most interesting man (or woman) in the world. And you like them for making you feel that way. As soon as you learn something about someone, ask why they do it. Or how. Or what they like about it, or what they've learned from it. Charming people ask sincere questions that make it easy to answer in a thoughtful, introspective way. They make you think, in a good way, about yourself, and in the process make you feel charming too. [I was once told that when I do this with people who are not used to being treated this way, it can be especially disarming.]
  • They always pass the waiter test. Some people put on a great show in certain situations, but they don't try nearly as hard when they think a person is beneath them. I like to call it the waiter test: If you really want to know how an individual treats people, take him to lunch. How he interacts with the waiter is a much better indication of his interpersonal skills than how he interacts with you. Charming people treat everyone the same way: as deserving of respect and kindness.
  • Charming people remember names and even small details, often to a surprising degree. The fact they remember instantly makes us feel a little prouder and a little better about ourselves. And that makes us feel better about them.
  • They always say less. Charming people already know what they know. They want to know what you know. And that makes you feel important. Because you are.
You are important! Just because someone turned out to be a sociopath doesn't mean that they think they're better than you or didn't genuinely care for you in their own way. Before I was self-aware, yes, I did think I was better than most people. But that was because I only saw other people's flaws and not my own (sound familiar?). After being taken down a peg or two in my life, I realized that everyone's just different but an equally important part of the human race. I guess that makes me a humanist?

But are they sincere about it? See, I don't think they could ever be sincere in the exact same way that an empath is because for the empath a lot of what they think of as sincerity involves empathy. But does that mean the sociopath can't ever be sincere, because he isn't doing or saying the things for the same reason that you might?


  1. What i find interesting, is that certain personality traits, etc, are deemed differently depending on whether they are dysfunctional for the person or not.

    For example, when I first saw my new psychiatrist she described me as charming and interesting. I was talking a mile a minute and was very extraverted. I was in the midst of a manic episode.

    As I got to know her over the last few years, she saw that I act more grandiose, extraverted, sociable and "On" when I am hypomanic or manic.

    I think she still thinks I am outgoing and friendly, but not pathological. I am sure I seem very conceited, narcissistic or sociopathic when I am hypomanic. I try not to be, and she tells me when I am acting grandiose.

    I fluctuate from being "ON" and being "OFF".

    I am sincere, however, and empathic. But extraversion or charming ness,talkativeness, sociability change depending on my moods.

    I do think i score high with the 10 ways to be charming. Maybe??

  2. "the most common complaint against sociopaths is that they pretended to be so wonderful, which is why it was such a letdown"

    You don't get it ME, do you. It's not that they pretended to be wonderful, it's that they lied. It's that the entire "relationship" was predicated on lies, i.e. a total waste of precious time - days, weeks, possibly years of your life that you will never get back - that you would never have given in the first place had you not been conned.

    Being charming in itself is pretty harmless, a bit like being flirtatious, a sort of exaggeration of one's core personality. But when you're dealing with a false construct at the core, even the charm becomes grotesque in hindsight.

    If you succeed in doing anything through this blog, it should be in encouraging sociopaths/psychopaths to come out, be open, and try to engender understanding in others. They may have fewer relationships as a result but at least they won't be conducted in this prison sociopaths insist on inhabiting and dragging others into.

    1. okay i have to respond to this. sociopaths enter a relationship because they want/need something from it. so do empaths. when the need is no longer there, the sociopath leaves. so does the empath, anon.

      the only difference is that the empath no longer feels anything, or rather feels that they no longer want to be with this person. but it's okay as long as they felt something before! feelings are the get out of jail free card.

      i think people confuse see being out in a pedestal as proof that the other has deep feelings. it's too tempting to believe that people who worship you love you. and i wonder if people are really bitter not about being lied to but about lying to themselves?

    2. oops i meant to say "i think people confuse being put on a pedestal as proof that the other has deep feelings"

    3. Oh puhleeze. If a con man turned up at the home of an 80-year-old woman, talked his way inside by convincing her he was from the electric company, there to read her meter, proceeded to rape and beat her into a pulp before robbing her - would your response be, yes dearie but were you lying to yourself when you let him in?

    4. Anonymous - "April 4, 2014 at 12:09 PM" - exaggeration, mostly this is not the case.
      Anonymous - "April 4, 2014 at 3:42 AM" - people lie, cheat, and relationships end. Love them while you can, know when to leave when you should, and upmost of all take care of yourself. If you are male, don't take women too seriously, the world is filled with theyr drama or whatever complications they bring, get over it, forget it, go to next one, have fun.

    5. anon, empaths can be con men too. i was referring to people who willingly enter relationships, ignore the signs, then when it doesn't work out piss and moan about it until the end of time.

      i have to work hard to keep my emotions in check. it's worth it. it's draining to get worked up over stupid stuff/people you will barely remember a year or two down the road.

    6. You're blaming the victim. Something I thinks people with PDs do.

      "It isn't my fault you were hurt. I told you I was an ass."

      Well, Fuck you. It is still your fault. Stop being an ass or of do it on someone else's time.

    7. no, i'm saying they're not victims. just poor losers. something people with PD's seem to be. ; )

      this is sort of unrelated, but rather than seeing life as a series of obstacles, you have to look at the obstacles as a series of opportunities.

    8. First thing who came into my mind reading Zoe's comment was "don't feed the troll".
      I guess it makes sense since trolls have commonly sociopathic and narcissistic tendencies :)

      Zoe you are mistaking a lot of things, starting by your knowledge about empaths.

      First, every and anyone start a relationship (friendship or sentimental) for a reason that we can how consider as selfish. To respond to a need: to be loved, to not be alone, to be happier, because the person met make us feel special, different, having good times.
      No matter if empath, sociopath or normal people have a different understanding of "good times".

      "when the need is no longer there, the sociopath leaves. so does the empath"
      This is incorrect, one of the biggest problems of empath is that they have difficulties to get out relationships even when they've been able to consider them as toxic and are unhappy within.
      For different reasons and factors, which might not seems logic at the first sight. That is one go the thing that make them empaths.

      "but it's okay as long as they felt something before! feelings are the get out of jail free card"
      Here it is not about feelings. It is about concordance of what you think, what you say and how you behave.
      Sociopaths do not have any consistency between the 3 of them.

      While we focus and want to believe what they say (which is a 2 sides responsibilities, the empaths focus on it for some reason, but the sociopath also behave to make us focus on it as he knows exactly what he's doing).
      We misunderstand the way they behave (once passed the "charming phase") trying to find the correlation between their talks and their acts. This is when they did most of their job well as we start to find excuses for them.
      Until we start to see under the mask and have an idea of what they think. Here is the shock, and here is the betrayal feeling.

    9. "i think people confuse being put on a pedestal as proof that the other has deep feelings"
      In the normal world, most of the time, when people put time and efforts for another, it is usually a sign that he cares (what for otherwise?).
      Sorry if empaths don't have a paranoiac twisted mind :)

      "don't take women too seriously, the world is filled with their drama"
      I have to admit this one made me laugh really hard hahaha.
      I thought "Drama... Geez you should meet my sociopath ex"
      No, seriously... you wanna talk about drama?? hahahaha

      "rather than seeing life as a series of obstacles, you have to look at the obstacles as a series of opportunities."
      You wouldn't like that we start to thank you, maybe? lol
      The ultimate jubilation for a sociopath, having his victim saying "Thank you made me stronger"
      Sorry love, you didn't made me stronger, I made me stronger.

      "i'm saying they're not victims. just poor losers"
      Or narcissist troll in action :)

      I agree on one point, I'm kinda tired that we affiliate empaths always as victims. We've been victim of a situation, it doesn't define us as a person.

      Why sociopath are usually able to fool us, because at the first place we have a lack of knowledge about the situation. That gave them a serious advantage, don't you think?

      Though when we "ignore the warning signs", it's because the sociopath encourage us to ignore them, by distractions (usually a lot of talking, blaming others, calling our empathy).
      We did feel these signs in our guts, but we chose to follow our melted heart, given sociopath what they use the most "the benefice of the doubt".

      We're nice enough to not follow your instinct, give people the benefice of the doubt, and they reward us by throwing in your face that was your fault.
      But if you are "charming" at the first place, it is to use the benefice of the doubt, you cannot deny it, little ungrateful rascals :)

      Feeling as a victim and blaming (ourselves or the other) is honey for the sociopath. It's actually not that hard to move on, once you realised you've never been in a relationship but in the game, and that's not about you, it's never been about you.
      They are like this, they cannot change, and in fact they need us more than we need them. We just have to accept it and let go the waste of time and energy (if it's just that, it's not that hard paid after all, couldn't have been worst, see it like if it was an "accident": hurtful, unpredictable, unfair, nor merited but punctual).

    10. @ Zoe

      "i was referring to people who willingly enter relationships, ignore the signs"

      Ah yes, willingly. Consent. The point is the 80-year-old woman is admitting the man from the electric company to her home. She is not admitting the con man. Few people 'willingly' enter relationships with sociopaths because the socio misrepresents him/herself. There is no consent, it's a violation from the get-go. They don't ignore the signs because they don't see them; the signs are in a language they don't understand.

      "it's draining to get worked up over stupid stuff/people you will barely remember a year or two down the road."

      Many people are damaged well beyond a year or two after dangling with a sociopath. They may barely remember the person but still have to deal with the fallout. Consequences - an alien concept for most sociopaths.

    11. alexine you misunderstand me. or something.

    12. @anon,

      eventually you learn the language, no? even if it's after they leave. and yeah i agree with you in a way. but why make the victimized into a victim? why create an identity out of it? everything in life leaves its mark, and the point is to learn from it. you can't always make it go away.

    13. Who's making the victimized into a victim or creating an identity around it? I'm simply pointing out the reality of such encounters and refusing to let your BS excuses stand. Onwards and upwards by all means but don't try to trivialize it or say 'oh shoudda known better'.

    14. but what is your point anon? other than challenging my bs. recap please. i can't tell which anon is which or if you're all of the above.

      maybe i'm full of shit but why does that push your buttons? that's what you want to look more closely at. that's where you are vulnerable and what predator types will look for and find.

    15. also... maybe you should have known better?

      or are you over 80? 80 year olds excluded.

    16. @ Zoe

      My point is that ME should be an agent for change and use this blog in a positive way instead of trying to defend the indefensible. (Note how quickly she seized your discredited soundbite about people lying to themselves for her Twitter feed). Socios could be encouraged to "come out" so that they can forge relationships in more honest and less destructive ways. It's as if ME has dipped a toe in the water but can't resist running back to dry land.

      As for the rest of it, I enjoy robust discussion especially with people who don't imagine they have 'pushed my buttons' just because I like to argue the toss.

    17. why should ME be an agent for change?

      and who discredited my soundbite? life is busy lately and i miss stuff. am flattered either way that my little soundbite was tweet worthy. : )

  3. You can't have it both ways. You can't screw up people's lives, and then make excuses for it. Yes, you have some good traits. You can be super fun, energetic, and bring a lot of life to the party. But the damage done is inexcusable. Any ideas about what can be done about that? Then we have a conversation on the table that could be helpful to people.

    1. Be on guard and play your cards well, don't share all your secrets and flaws with the world. That is like inviting the enemy into your bed. Knowing this iscommon sense.

    2. Good advice. One needs some life experience to do that. Interaction with a path is the perfect learning place. You'll never make that mistake again.

  4. Interesting. These are mannerisms I adopted as a young teenager when I started consciously making an effort to relate to people. The key, as this indicates, is to avoid the narcissistic tendency to focus on yourself, and make them feel wanted and special. People love to be the center of attention.

  5. the borderline fr-enemy: a friend one day, and an enemy as soon as they're offended, or take something you say totally wrong.. (twist it in their black & white rigid thinking). I'm on guard from extremely unusual kind people (i spot the elevation pedestal .....and then the de-elevation pedestal fast. healthy relationships go through ups, middles, even downs together. There's even room to get offended and extremely frustrated with eachother. but there is respect & devotion & room to work with.
    both my sociopaths (one romantic) (the other a good friend) we can call each other out on anything, it all eventually becomes resolved, quickly.
    Maybe I just got lucky. Emotions are very controlled and rational with them. There is a calm and smoothness about the sociopaths in my life. they don't run off on emotions.
    Or maybe i'm totally manipulated, haha. but i dont think so. Too many years have gone by. They know my quirks, i know there quirks. both are keepers. All because emotions are controlled and stable. And yes there's a magnetic charm. ;)

  6. They don't always say less. Sometimes they will lead the conversation if they can see you aren't up to it.

    If you're a smart person you will be sincere about it, I donno I just assume everyone is smart (they're not) and ummm treat people they way I'd like to be treated (actually I try to treat them better than I expect to be treated).

    1. " (actually I try to treat them better than I expect to be treated)." - in many cases that is the same as lowering yourself to them. In the long run, you won't gain from it. It is a nice way to get your gf to leave you for instance, it is in many cases a part of being a wussy. Too many men do that, ecome wussies and expect gratitude. This is all true unless you are courting a king, or someone who has a need for this courtship you describe.

  7. I take that back I think everyone is capable of infinite intelligence.

  8. Charm is not sociopathy. Charm can be a mask for sociopathy. Charm is a means to an end of exploitation by the sociopath, even if no agenda is discernible from the outset. Why? Sociopaths aren't interested in building people up for the sake of being kind. They are looking to gain information and build a sense of trust that results in lowered defenses on the part of the target.

    The fact that some sociopaths (esp higher functioning) are charming doesn't mean that the sociopath has an investment in the target. The false belief of "investment" that a sociopath's charm creates is by nature false. For charm to be positive it must not be rooted in an orientation to exploit.

    Some sociopaths are very nice looking and those looks make it easier for them to operate. Good looks open doors. Charm is the behavioral version of good looks and it also opens doors. Good looks and charm are tools that can be developed/cultivated by the sociopath as a means of social power. The more socially powerful a sociopath is the easier it is to take advantage of a target.

    Charm is a form of social power. If the ultimate end of that cultivated power is to exploit a target then charm can not be considered good. The question that must be asked when a person is being charmed is "Why?"

    1. Well written, I took mental notes.

    2. In my own particularly 'sinister' way, I charm people in order to enrich their point of view on any particular subject they breach.
      I do it in order to see the recognition of truth in their expression.
      It backfires at times of course, but is still a pleasant exercise in unraveling the human condition to those you encounter and interact with.

  9. Live and let live. Use your life experience to create the life you want. No one can stop you.

  10. At 13, I read "The magic of thinking big", a nice little positive motivational text which touched on charm. I then read another book from my Dad's library by Allan PEASE on the "Art of Body language". It was like a doorway opened up in front of me to the secrets behind social interactions. It allowed me to bloom from an awkward teenager into Prince Charming. I've always found it easier to talk to other people about themselves and only throw in the occasional morsel of my own life to shown that I can relate. I'm still intensely private and being charming in this way helps me to stay socially connected whilst I "data-mine" what I need from other people. Now at age 40 and a very self aware Sociopath, its humorous to read these articles with a smile. Oh yes, I very much agree.

    1. Baz,

      When I was younger I felt that people who would "data-mine" me were draining to talk to. Of course I didn't realize what data mining was at the time; I would just walk away from talking to them feeling exhausted (physically at times). Then as I got older I started feeling drained and annoyed.

      But then one day I thought to myself why get annoyed? It just adds to feeling even more drained. So now when I meet someone like that I have a completely different response; I completely lie. I just make up shit, whatever pops into my head. It's fun, it makes me laugh, and it completely changes my mood; I walk away laughing and smiling. And inside I smirk at all the useless, dis-information I just unloaded.


    2. How cute, melissa found a way to be creative

    3. yeah i lie too. but i give them mis-information. : )

    4. Disinformation- intentional
      Misinformation- unintentional

  11. Funny, I am open and honest and don't "HIDE" my feelings, opinions.
    So, data mine me all you want.

    I will be nice to you until I am sick of the bullshit. I can see the manipulation and when I am done, it is VERY hard to get on my good side again.

    Bipolar empath

  12. Yep, no turning back. Screw me over one to many times, we're done, finished,adios amigos!

  13. "But are they sincere about it?"

    This is the tricky one. Empaths would like to believe so, but it is just mirroring our own values and emotions.
    Only sociopaths can answer, but since we cannot believe them 100% because they lie to us, and/or to themselves... I guess we'll never know for sure.

    But taking it on a really psychological point of view. Sociopaths are not "monsters, they're on a different spectrum of emotions, particularly about the empathy scale.

    Seems it seems that sociopathy is nurture, and some studies show that empathy can actually be increased or decreased (with certain limits), I guess we can imagine that sociopaths are in some punctual circonstances able to relate and to be sincere.

    There is no reason that they cannot feel admirative, curious, intrigued, about someone at the first place without necessarily plotting some twisted manipulations, and therefore being kinda honest in their charming interest.

    I'm used to say that they don't see us as people, but as possessions. While in relationships, sociopaths can be very possessive but also protective.
    Becoming from charming to protector, it might not be intentionally planned, they can get genuinely upset when someone else mess with their "toys".

    I guess that's the closest way for them to "care".

  14. Say thank you to people, by text or whatever. Don't say Thanks. Say thank you. if someone says thank you, say you're welcome. be grateful just because even insincere gratefulness is just common sense.

  15. Like it doesnt matter if you're sincerely real or true or lying with a person, what matters is that it is that you say the right things.

  16. We live in a very strange times in human history. We have always introspected, we have always said, "Know thyself," but in historical times we did not have artificial intelligence, we did not have brain scans of our own brains, we did not have genetic engineering, we did not understand that there is no god, we were not working on shaping our own evolution.

    We are our own Frankenstein. No good will come of this. Pray to an imaginary god that I am wrong. .

  17. the only issue i have with being charming is that it borders on "people pleasing". i think people pleasing is a really bad trait to cultivate - especially as a man. no woman is attracted to a people pleaser. Women like men who follow their own journey and can tell others they're wrong... not the other way around as in "oh you're so great all the time"

  18. So then let me ask you guys...
    is there a difference between PEOPLE PLEASING and CHARMING?


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