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September 10, 2006 6:43 AM   Subscribe

How does one train oneself to have an "effusive" personality?

Well, basically the situation is as follows:

I've been doing a lot of self-development over the last couple of months, and am generally happy, having started to mold my introverted nature to an extroverted one. I'm loving and hating it at the same time -- but it's great to see the old scales fall away.

One sticking point though is the effusive personality factor. I define effusive as "the ability to make people laugh and entertain them in a non-abrasive fashion".

I find, once I get to know a person, I can be quite the effusive personality. I do that by varying how I do it with respect to the person and their relationship with me. My gf would get a different implementation of this wrt my mom or best friend etc.

So, I am left with the conclusion that (1) I know how to be effusive and can be effective at it and (2) I know it's in me -- my dad was quite the effusive character as is my brother.

But, how do I do this with little knowledge of people? I would like to use it as a self-development exercise in opening myself up to the world. I can't, however, find any places this is explained. At least my google-fu and amazon-toc-fu fail me.
posted by gadha to Human Relations (16 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
drink more hooch, it brings out the moxie.
posted by garfy3 at 7:00 AM on September 10, 2006 [2 favorites]


i was an extrovert posing as an introvert as kid. after a few awkward early adulthood years growing into my natural "effusive" self it just kinda came natural. I would venture to amend your statement that it's about "knowing people." For me, it's about knowing situations.

it's all about being in a good social setting... being around the right people, at the right time, in the right contexts. I can still be very awkward around certain personalities, but I generally find those to be people I just don't care for in the long run. i think intuitively knowing a good situation from a bad is most of the battle. once i'm comfortable with a group of people, it's like spinning a wheel.

i think there's also something to be said about being the kind of person that people feel comfortable around.

also, don't beat yourself up about being an introvert. you are what you are. most of my best friends and girlfriends have been introverts. the world needs balance between the quiet thoughtful types and the loud mouthed jackasses like me.
posted by trinarian at 7:13 AM on September 10, 2006


Dance lessons can help. Particularly tango and merengue lessons. Watch Steve Martin in this movie for a fictionalized view of how transformational merengue can be.
posted by paulsc at 7:36 AM on September 10, 2006


I find, once I get to know a person, I can be quite the effusive personality. I do that by varying how I do it with respect to the person and their relationship with me.

This is the key. You've already proven able to gauge people's personalities and how to best work with them; now, work on figuring them out quicker. Obviously, you're not going to detect all of the nuances of someone's personality immediately, but that isn't necessary to have a good, engaging time with them.

A few questions/tips which have helped me on this same path:
- Can this person laugh at herself? That's key to avoiding accidentally insulting her, especially with what you may percieve as harmless teasing.
- Can the person appreciate sarcasm? This is definitely important to me, since sarcasm makes up a lot of my natural sense of humor. For some people, it just doesn't register.
- I learned this trick from my dad: From the very start of the conversation, pay meticulous attention to what the other person says, particularly the details. Make it your goal to subtlely bring up one of these details again by the end of the conversation. It might be a really tiny point, but it proves that you're really listening, and that you care enough to keep the other person active in the discourse.

This certainly won't make you perfect (I know I'm not!), but hopefully, it will help. Good luck!
posted by sarahsynonymous at 8:03 AM on September 10, 2006


I'm not sure why you're trying to mold your introverted self into an extraverted one. As an introvert, it kinda sucks how Americans tend to overvalue extraversion, sometimes going so far as to pathologize introverts. In truth, there's nothing wrong with either.

That said, I also know how hard it is to be shy and to want to make more friends and be better liked and I can understand wanting to learn how to do that.

But do you really have to entertain everybody?

I find that people who always insist on being the center of attention grow wearisome rather quickly.

Be friendly, be witty, have fun but remember your old introvert qualities and remember to share the spotlight and to listen.
posted by Jess the Mess at 9:04 AM on September 10, 2006


Well, Jess The Mess, this was all in response to my previous post. I guess I don't have to be Mr. Entertainment, but I'm enjoying discovering this whole new side to my personality and want to develop it the best I can.

I'm also not looking to be the centre of attention. I'm just carrying out this social experimentr on myself, and this is part of it :)
posted by gadha at 9:12 AM on September 10, 2006


I manage people and find the easiest way to build rapport - what you are defining as "effusive" - is to make fun of yourself.

I've just taken on a new team of about 70 (will baloon to about 100 in October) and this approach tears down walls, and shows people you too are human, and not a pompus ass (banking seems to attract those types).

I also find it effective to get people talking about themselves and just listen. I've only run this team four weeks now, but I've sat down with everyone - in several countries mind you - and spent at least 15 minutes with each of them. After a few jokes aimed squarely at myself the really loosened up, so much that now I've got more than enough information to joke and build rapport with them.
posted by Mutant at 10:20 AM on September 10, 2006


Sometimes effusive can turn into annoying. Don't be that person.
posted by konolia at 11:01 AM on September 10, 2006



Sometimes effusive can turn into annoying. Don't be that person.


Especially fake effusive...ick!

Good question...I learned a lot from the responses. I'm on a similar path to get out more and meet more people. I set little assignments for myself, like these days my assignment is to talk to one stranger when I go out (I'm a pretty big introvert!). I am still just doing this by asking directions or the time, but it's helping. There was a great post on lifehacker.com about looking people in the eye and how powerful that can be. I have also learned that listening is really important; often effusive is output only which is a drag to be around, but effusive can be inqusitive, curious, understanding, compassionate.
posted by kenzi23 at 1:06 PM on September 10, 2006


I might add that when meeting people for the first time find something about them that you like. It puts a positive spin on your internal relation to them that shows through in your conversation. This is kind of like smiling when you speak to someone on the phone. Can't be seen but affects the way you speak.
posted by ptm at 2:01 PM on September 10, 2006 [1 favorite]


Read this. Seriously. It's old and it'll feel weird reading examples about Rockefeller and Taft but the advice is timeless.
posted by mendel at 3:23 PM on September 10, 2006


Well, not exactly fake effusiveness, but I decided to take more risks (socially) at work and be a little more spontaneous (or rather, indulge in impulses when they occur). It's working out ok
posted by porpoise at 3:47 PM on September 10, 2006


Sometimes making fun of yourself can backfire, if people think you're being serious and lack confidence...you really have to know your audience.
posted by sweetkid at 4:52 PM on September 10, 2006


You don't have to be "effusive" to charm people. Like others have mentioned, insincerity is ick!. ptm has it - find something you like about the person you are talking to. You say you find it easier to be effusive around those you know well. So what you need to develop are your rapport-building skills.
People will always warm to a good listener, and you can extend that to being observant - is that obviously a new and daring tie that they keep fidgeting with? Find a way to pay them a sincere compliment. Even if it is a little off-the-wall: "I love your tie because it reminds me of the venetian canals". Or whatever. Everyone has social insecurities. Be that rare person who will soothe them.
But remember that Sincerity is the key: if you are 'out to get something' (admiration, laughs, promotion, breakfast, whatever) from people they will pick up on that (if only subconsciously) every time.
I'm a self-made extrovert, for the same reasons that you are considering becoming one. I make people laugh alright ... but ...when I lie awake at night reviewing my social behaviour that day "Christus, Catch, you need to shut up shut up shut up shut up" this is the advice I wish someone had given me before I started. Retraining is twice as hard.
posted by Catch at 1:43 PM on September 11, 2006


D&D. No, really. We become what we pretend to be. Role-playing games are very powerful means of changing your personality.
posted by jefgodesky at 2:06 PM on September 11, 2006


You've already proven able to gauge people's personalities and how to best work with them; now, work on figuring them out quicker. Obviously, you're not going to detect all of the nuances of someone's personality immediately, but that isn't necessary to have a good, engaging time with them.

SarahSynonymous' opinion is close to mine. Instead of "figuring" people out more quickly, I think extraverts (myself being a bit of one) simply take more "risks" (for lack of a better term) when engaging people. Some people will stay quiet and chime in only when prompted, and provided you don't do it all night, they will appreciate being included when you bring them in with a direct question about their opinions or thoughts. Others will feel they don't know the group well enough to join in on off-color jokes, so be sure to find a way to include them somehow. Without making them the target of said jokes, of course.

I think you run the risk of becoming That Guy if you try too hard or do the above too often, but it's part of the risk. It's about feeling people out; if you see that maybe your anecdotes are appreciated, scale it back. Aside from that, try to not apply too much of a formula to it and just be a more vocal version of yourself!
posted by littlelebowskiurbanachiever at 6:39 PM on September 11, 2006


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