Charm & Joie de Vivre


I am quite suspicious of most any man who can be best described as "charming." I tend to associate charming with smarmy. That kind of man who effortlessly sashays into a room, winks at the ladies, and has them all swooning in under a minute. Ugh. I've known men like that and I can spot their smarminess like none other. I have quite close to zero patience for them.

But charming, well, I quite love the idea of being charming, just so long as I can disassociate it from smarmy. Merriam Webster defines charm primarily as
"something that is believed to have magic powers...." 
Well if that's charm, then yes, please!

Over the holidays, I worked in a retail store on the weekends and loved it. Most of what I loved about it is that it was so very different than my regular education administration position. At the store, I mainly greeted customers and just chatted. I asked how they were spending their holidays, gave suggestions of places to go in the city, found out lots about the people they were shopping for, etc. It reminded me that I do rather enjoy meeting new people and connecting with others.

I was reminded of all this the other night. I signed up for Sarah's e-mail newsletter on Yes and Yes and was pleasantly surprised to receive a couple e-books. One e-book was a short one titled "How to Charm Anyone." She has all kinds of great tips but one line really stuck with me,
"Interact with people like they're already your friends."
I love that idea and I think that is a major part of why my time working retail was such a joy to me. I simply pretended that the customers were good friends of mine! I had so many wonderful conversations during my time there and I am thankful for the chance to break out of my comfort zone a bit to rediscover how much I enjoy getting to know people.

For so long, I've associated charm with insincerity, equating charming with ulterior and selfish motives. But charm, based in genuinely kind impulses, sounds positively wonderful. For this year, rather than a word of the year, I've chosen more of a phrase, "joie de vivre," and I think charm goes hand in hand with that. My goal for the year is to have fun. To complain less and express joy more. To be engaging and to show others just how fabulous I think they are. Because I do think they are fabulous and I want to be extra sure that they know. And I want to give the people I meet the benefit of the doubt. To treat them as if we are already friends and to get to know them as such. This year, I am hoping to make people feel great about who they are, with a bit of charm and joie de vivre.

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