September 12, 2012 Uncategorized  4 comments

Charisma is something I was talking about tonight with a friend – perhaps he’ll recognize himself here – and it made me think about the kinds of charisma I’ve seen.

Charisma isn’t about good looks, it’s about maybe a kind of intensity, or the kind of personality that is larger than life.  Someone who puts out a bit more wattage, or takes up a little more space than the rest of the room.

To me, charisma is the quality of being the person that people want to watch in a room, the one that they check in with and watch, even if it’s not obvious.

Some people have natural charisma, I think.  You’ve seen them.  They’re the striking woman you see across a restaurant and notice, or the arresting-looking man on the elevator and eavesdrop on his phone conversation.

Some people can turn on charisma.  It’s not natural, not always there, but something they can work up to or find the switch.  I was always like that.

I don’t consider myself charismatic by nature.  I’ve talked about being shy still, at times, growing up very different from others, and I am not the most naturally warm person.  But I know how to make a room watch me, I know how to work a room, how to present a class so you are listening and laughing both.

There were many times, particularly in the last few years I hosted the munch, that I really didn’t want to go.

I was tired.  I was disillusioned because of things done and not done in and by the community.  I was impatient with the fact that my first concern in any scheduling, personal, professional or private was, “Oh, crap, is that a munch weekend…?”

So, I didn’t really want to go.  I was going, of course, so I was going to have to suck it up.

I would start practicing my smile, loosening up my small talk on the way there.  I’d go through the list of who I needed to ask something, who was doing what so I could ask about it.

Who had a new grandbaby or had started back to school or just moved to a new house?

In the parking lot, I’d put on my lipstick and the last spritz of perfume and get out, smiling, and by the time I got downstairs, it was all fine.

I was also saying tonight that it’s interesting the little nuggets of wisdom you find really speak to you as you get older.

“Fake it till you make it.”

Keep smiling and acting like you’re having a fabulous time and you will be, after a bit.

Charisma is like that for some of us, I think.  Faking it till we make it, “dressing” for the personality we want, not the one we have.

There’s also something I have always referred to as “Bubba charisma.”

Bubba charisma is what Snookie has.  (I guess.  I’ve never really watched the show, but I am projecting.)

Bubba charisma is what Larry the Cable Guy has.  (Again, no experience, but projecting.)

I have know people whom, for the life of me, I could not figure out what ANYONE saw in them.

Most of them were not bad people – one was, a very very bad person – but they were just sort of… Bubbas.

The most famous example of Bubba charisma is, of course, George W. Bush.

I think it’s very difficult to be a leader without charisma.  If people won’t listen, it’s hard to get them to follow.

If no one is following, well, then, you’re just taking a walk, not leading.

4 comments to Charisma

  • vanillamom  says:

    Powerful line there, at the end.

    I have often wondered, as I got older, if I was borderline xenophobic. I really dislike hoards of people. I enjoy, for example, going to church once I’m there, once the music starts, all the people I know. But working up the…stamina, I guess, that’s the challenge for me. And afterwards, I’m exhausted. (that’s remained constant for me, being tired after interacting with a large group of people).

    That is something that I think I got from my mom, she never (or very rarely) went out. Dad did the shopping etc. She worked after I moved out to start my own life, but that was pretty much it for her.

    Fake it till you make it is not a bad model at all.

    and it is really nice to know i’m in good company with my little “oh I doanwanna go” thing!


    (ps, You remain one of the most vibrant people I know…!)

  • Cerrin  says:

    I have to say I am a big believer in the fake it till you make it. And smile. I am all about smiling. If you feel sad or even iffy about something Smile. You will feel better about it.
    I learned that if I smile at someone who dosent know me and may think I am odd they will eventually smile back at me. lol But then again my mom said I have never met a stranger. lol So keep on smiling and being you.

  • sin  says:

    Even extroverts don’t want to go out to play sometimes!

  • MsConstanceExplains  says:

    I think we always look around and assume that no one else feels the way we do – nervous or sad or shy or tired or grumpy – that they are all perfect examples of Grace Kelly sweeping into the room, confident and charismatic, when it’s probably true they’re more like Woody Allen, slouching in and hoping no one notices.

    I’ve also found that the best way to stop worrying about yourself – is my hair ok, does my ass look fat, does anyone really like me? – is to focus on someone else.

    It was interesting, years back when I took a Myers Briggs test, I classified as an ENTJ. This probably surprises no one.

    An ENTJ is Extraverted iNtuitive Thinking Judging, the “Executives” of personality types. This is what one site has to say about us:

    As an ENTJ, your primary mode of living is focused externally, where you deal with things rationally and logically. Your secondary mode is internal, where you take things in primarily via your intuition.

    ENTJs are natural born leaders. They live in a world of possibilities where they see all sorts challenges to be surmounted, and they want to be the ones responsible for surmounting them. They have a drive for leadership, which is well-served by their quickness to grasp complexities, their ability to absorb a large amount of impersonal information, and their quick and decisive judgments. They are “take charge” people.

    The interesting thing was, had I answered two or three questions – and there are a LOT of questions on the full test – differently, I’d have come up as an INTJ, an introvert, not an extrovert.

    They are the “Scientists,” and the description of them also suits me:: INTJs live in the world of ideas and strategic planning. They value intelligence, knowledge, and competence, and typically have high standards in these regards, which they continuously strive to fulfill. To a somewhat lesser extent, they have similar expectations of others.

    What I was NOT close to the tipping point on was the last two. Thinking and Judging. I am very much into Thinking versus Feeling and Judging rather than Perceiving.

    I am very judge-y.

Leave a reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>