# Cultivate an Air of Mystery

Cultivate an Air of Mystery- Self Observation

Curious things, habits. People themselves never knew they had them.
-Agatha Christie

I’ve discovered a bad habit of mine- nervous laughter. It is not exactly a recent discovery. I’ve always had a penchant for laughing in awkward moments (remember conversations with my mysterious neighbor?)- it is a coping mechanism of mine. But when watching myself in a video taken at a recent party I held for family and friends I noticed I did a lot of nervous laughing. Particularly when the spotlight was on me.

Now don’t get me wrong- I am all for laughing if something is amusing or if one feels like laughing. I love to laugh and laugh a lot (it is, as they say, the best medicine!) but when I was laughing in the video- nothing in particular was funny. I was laughing to cover up my social anxiety and using it as a coping mechanism.

You see I do have a bit of social anxiety. I have hermetic tendencies. To put things in perspective out of all the characters in The Wind in the Willows I most identify with the Mole. I am perfectly happy at home with a book and a cup of tea rather than in a large crowd or party atmosphere. Being around a lot of people in social situations stresses me out and to atone for the stress? I giggle nervously in an effort to appear up-beat and au courant with all of the excitement.

The trouble with this nervous laugh? It is so not mysterious.

Sometimes we use habits of ours (like my nervous laughter) as a crutch to help us get through difficult situations. The question is- what am I afraid of? If I didn’t laugh when I felt anxiety what would happen? Would I actually have to have a real conversation with someone? Would there be moments of silence? Would people have a look at the real me instead of the jovial, constantly bubbly me? Yes! And would that be so terrible? No!

Now that I am aware of my nervous tendency I can take some action to fix it. This does not mean that at my next social gathering I am suddenly going to sit in the corner with a smoky eye, a cocktail and a scowl in an effort to be mysterious. I am just going to be myself- with no apologies, no people pleasing behavior and no armor (in the form of nervous habits). As a result I might seem more mysterious and maybe even intriguing (which can never hurt, in my opinion). But mainly I will be ultimately more authentic- more myself.

I highly recommend watching yourself on camera to figure out your nervous habits- and possibly discover ones, as Agatha Christie says, you never knew you had. Self observation can be very valuable tool.

So whether it's anxious giggles, biting your nails or over-sharing, I would love to know… do you have bad habits that compromise your air of mystery?

Apologies to those email subscribers who did not receive last week's special Thursday video on Skindinavia Makeup Finishing Sprays. To see the video click here.

A Chinoiserie commode and two French Rococo chairs are pictured above. I love the porcelain lidded bowl, which is from China and dates from the Xanghi Reign 1662- 1722. Isn't the color celadon divine? These objects can be viewed at the Getty Center in Los Angeles.

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Anonymous said...

Hm, maybe try to smile instead of laughing?

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Luxe- Excellent suggestion and one that I've been working on... Smiles can be quite mysterious too- just look at the Mona Lisa :)

Anonymous said...

Have you ever read "Please Understand Me", a book about character and personality types? It was very enlightening for me and once I understood my "personality", I understood why I have "hermit" like tendencies too (introverted). Yet, I can be in groups and feel comfortable if they aren't too big or too loud. But I don't like being the center of attention--ever. Lovely post!

Trish said...

I am an extreme introvert and find social functions intimidating at times. I have a lot of them, due to my job and my husband's position. I can usually function well, but often I find myself babbling, and kick myself afterwards.

Merveilleux said...

I may be the same way.. Instead of enduring a moment of silence I sometimes let out a little giggle to seem like I'm enjoying myself.. which does seem kind of strange now that you've brought this to my attention. Lol..

Winnie Namatovu Lubega said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Rose said...

Like Trish, I am also an extreme introvert, find socializing intimidating, yet have a lot due to my husband's work. Then, I find out most people like to talk about themselves rather than listening to others, so my coping method is to smile warmly and listen with interest. In the end, I got more invitations for coffee because they find my companionship friendly :) Try !

Karena said...

Oh mu gosh, this hit home because I know I do this!! I will try smiling and repress my laugh tendency, as I know it is out of nerves or maybe an uncomfortable situation!


Art by Karena

Rebecca said...

I too do the nervous laughter. I also tend to stutter when stressed in groups (not very mysterious). Of course when I just smile and say nothing, some people then think I'm being arrogant. It doesn't occur to them that I'm shy.:)

Anonymous said...

I know how you feel. I not only giggle when I am nervous I giggle all the the time when I am around anyone that is not my family. I have never been particularly comfortable with people outside my family and I sometimes feel like I am still the 13 yr old girl who wants to be accepted so I laugh or over share which I think is worse. I hate that I get so excited to make a new friend and then I think I try to move too fast and in 5 mins they know my life story. I don't know why I do it and I can't stop. Then afterward I want to go home and hide. I have always admired the women who are cool, calm and collected. These are usually the women I see get the most favorable reception among other women and get invited to gatherings again and again. The air of mystery is definitely something I am still working on.

LR said...

Thanks for this (honest) post! Lots of people struggle with this, myself included. I am fairly introverted and I'm not one for much small talk, especially when meeting new people. I've never been really good at it and at times I find it too phony. I do the nervous laughing bit too, as well I find that I tend to repeat myself on the phone if I have to make cold calls (at work). Can't stand it! Part of the issue is other people -- some people are not good at making others feel comfortable in their presence, which others can sense and everyone reacts in some way, i.e. the nervous laughter, repeating words, babbling, etc.

Good suggestion about the mysterious smile. Will have to try that.

Anonymous said...

LOL - I too prefer the company of our family (2 girls, a dog, a cat) and our homely creature comforts. Am also afflicted with the giggles/babbling in awkward social moments. It's nice to be able to share this - anonymously, of course. Would we have it any other way, we hermits?

Have a wonderful circle of friends, and we have a garage band, so the occassional musicians (plus their family & friends) will join in. Don't mind singing in front of a group, but when in comes to speaking to them tete-a-tete, it's in these moments when the spotlight is blindingly bright on my "introversion". Thank goodness friends know this and amply cover for my social awkwardness.

I really like the suggestion of "just a smile" - it does add to our je nais se quoi, no?

Thanks, Jennifer, you're alway so much fun! LMK

Beautiful Things said...

In awkward situations, I always try to think of the scene in 'North by Northwest' where Eva Marie Saint meets Cary Grant on the train. So cool, so composed...

Vicki said...

Lovely post Jennifer but as I read I thought, oh no, now I'll have to do something about my social unease which is talking to cover the gaps. I feel very uncomfortable when no one talks, I have been told to just wait for someone else to talk but I can't. It's just too awkward when people look at their shoes. I think I have a fairly good ability to do small talk but would much rather be at home with a book or linen press to re-organise!

The Daily Connoisseur said...

Ladies- Thank you so much for your contributions to this discussion! I had anxiety (shocker) about posting such a personal observation of mine but your feedback has made me so glad that I went ahead with the post and has made me feel not so alone about the issue! I experience a lot of the same things you've expressed- when I am with my family or a group of my close friends everything is OK but when in a large group of people- particularly when the spotlight is on me (or near me) I get very flustered and have a strong NEED to act as though everything is going GREAT! and that I am happy and upbeat etc. Then after the social gathering I am always exhausted. Completely drained and it's because I've been on edge for so long without really knowing it. Watching myself on film was so illuminating for me. I think a lot of this behavior is about people pleasing- which I struggle with. And isn't it interesting that so many of us that are shy and introverted are also bloggers? Yes it is highly ironic that I have a YouTube channel that people from around the world can watch yet I can't give a speech in my own home to a small party of people. Ah well life is about working on yourself and enjoying the journey. I'm grateful to you all for being a part of mine :) xxx

MAMA P said...

I do something similar, which is rapid-fire talking and, in conjunction with that, sort of making jokes about myself. It's tedious, and I sometimes can feel I'm doing it, which you would think would compel me to stop. In fact, I just keep on truckin'. I love the idea of simply being myself and realizing awkward silences aren't my problem to always fix. Thanks for the post. MamaP