Build Confidence and Charisma

The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast with Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

Music Credits: “Light Shines,” by Atlantic Thrills

If you’re feeling a little rusty or nervous when it comes to talking to old friends and new acquaintances alike, it’s time for a refresher course on how to communicate with confidence and charisma. 

My guest on today’s episode knows all about charisma under pressure. 

Kristen Carney is a stand-up comedian, comedy writer, online dating coach, and “conversation coach” who specializes in helping people be comfortable with others, be interesting and fun to talk to, develop an easy rapport with others, and be more confident about themselves — especially in conversation.

In this article, you’ll learn how to carry more charismatic conversations with people to make not just great first impressions, but lay the foundation for an enduring and positive new relationship. You’ll discover the power of self-confidence and self-awareness in your interactions with others, as well as some “pro tips” to instantly set others at ease and be perceived as more likable and interesting.

I’ve also recorded an episode of the Love, Happiness and Success podcast on this topic. You can listen to this episode right here on, and a full transcript of the episode is available below. You can also listen to “Build Confidence and Charisma” on Spotify, on Apple Podcasts, or wherever else you like to listen. Don’t forget to subscribe!

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Build Confidence and Charisma

How to have charisma with new people.

Kristen shares the unique anxiety of being a stand-up comedian.  Unlike other kinds of performance art, the audience reaction can vary wildly minute to minute and there’s no set expectation for how audiences should react.  The feeling is almost like meeting someone new or being on a first date. You only have a few seconds to make a good impression. 

How to build confidence in new friendships.

If you’re dealing with social anxiety around dating or making new friends, how do you cope? Here are Kristen’s tips:

  1. Remember, it’s natural for people to judge you. “You can’t control that, that’s going to happen regardless,” Kirsten says.
  2. Don’t put too much weight on whether a person likes you or not. When you focus less on being judged, people will be less likely to sense that negative energy.
  3. Enter situations smiling. People can sense the energy you are giving off, so it’s always better to look genuinely warm and welcoming.

I didn’t want to fake-smile, of course. I just worked on the joy that is inside of me.” – Kristen Carney

Kristen says that it took therapy for her to unlearn and let go of the discomfort she felt about herself, in order to build her confidence and charisma in these situations. (Listen to the full story of her personal growth therapy process in this episode.)

Self-awareness and charisma. 

How do you feel when you’re around others? Kristen reminds us that even in situations where you’re not speaking, people will still sense the energy you are giving off and make assumptions from things like your body language and facial expressions.

Because of this, it’s crucial to have self-awareness and understand how your inner experience may be impacting others — whether you know it or not. 

Sometimes, although you may not be conscious of it, you become stuck in negative emotions. Kristen shares that when she’s annoyed or moody, for example, at a grocery store, it is very evident.

Kristen shares how it can affect others. “You know sometimes, I forget, this person is being a jerk, and then I realize, well maybe, I’m putting out that energy of being a jerk.” 

After becoming aware of your energy, you can then readjust it. When you begin to unload all that negative energy, you start to radiate welcoming energy towards others, and start to become someone with charisma.

How self-deprecation can develop charisma

Maybe your goal is to create chemistry on your first date, or perhaps to appear more attractive to an acquaintance, co-worker or new friend. However, we often focus so much on chemistry and getting people to like us that we hyperfocus on our faults instead of embracing our natural, positive charisma. 

In these cases, we tend to have feelings of inferiority and insecurity, which is entirely understandable. However, to develop charisma, it’s crucial for you to embrace yourself.

I’ve realized that what I have to offer is unique and is great in and of itself without having to be like them,” Kristen comments about being surrounded by more educated, “decorated” colleagues. 

Here are some great tips that she’s learned from her personal experiences:

  • Stop trying to be anyone else. If a person doesn’t like you for who you are, then so be it. It’s easier said than done, but once you get to that level, the pressure of fitting in “instantly melts away.”
  • Stop comparing yourself to others. You may not like what the rest of the crowd likes, and they might think your favorite things are weird. That’s ok! It doesn’t make you any less of a person.
  • Remember what you have to offer is unique. You might have ways of doing or learning things that are different compared to others.That’s ok! What may seem strange to others is what makes you special!

As a comedian, Kristen is no stranger to self-deprecating humor. However, she has to catch herself when it comes from a place of insecurity. 

When you’re feeling good about yourself, you can use self-deprecating humor to call out your shortcomings in an approachable, genuine way. Calling attention to your own faults can help those around you feel more comfortable in theirs and show you’re self aware. 

However, self-deprecation should be used in small doses. Too much can make you seem insecure and desperate for validation.

Speaking with confidence, clarity, and charisma.

Other than being more comfortable in your skin, there is an art to speaking with confidence, clarity and charisma. 

 As a conversation coach, Kristen helps people build up their self esteem so they can gain conversation confidence, and offers great charisma tips that can be used in a variety of situations. Here are some of them:

  1. Be aware of your surroundings. A great way to start or continue a conversation is to pick up on things around you. For example, you can comment on a particular smell.
  2. Be confident in your opinions. Having a different opinion than the person you’re talking to can feel like a conversation killer, but it can lead to very interesting conversations, and strong relationships. Just make sure you’re being firm with your opinions and not a jerk!
  3. Learn to connect the dots.  If you can learn to pull on random threads of conversations, you can find yourself talking about and learning about things you’d have never thought of before. 

You don’t want to be shallow necessarily, but you want to be playful and short so that it doesn’t feel like work – so that it feels fun,” Kristen says. You want to set the stage when you’re first drawing someone in and have fun doing so. The more in-depth conversations come later on once you’ve established a great connection.

Resources for Build Confidence and Charisma:

  • Growing Self – our website has dozens of helpful articles written by several experts on communication, chemistry, and friendship.
  • Kristen and Chill – check out Kristen’s website, where you can find great resources on online-dating banter and having better conversations.
  • The Banter Coach – connect with Kristen on Instagram.

Kristen Carney has shared some practical and insightful tips on how to hold charismatic conversations. What did you connect and relate to the most? Feel free to share your thoughts by leaving a comment down below.

Did you like this interview? Subscribe to us now to discover how to live a life full of love, success, and happiness!

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Build Confidence and Charisma

The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast with Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

Music Credits: “Light Shines,” by Atlantic Thrills

Free, Expert Advice — For You.

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Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby: This is Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby, and you’re listening to the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast. 

[Intro Song: Light Shines by Atlantic Thrills]

Dr. Lisa: That’s Atlantic Thrills and the song is Light Shines. I thought it was a perfect song for us today. Because today, we’re talking about how to get your light to shine, particularly when you’re out in the world talking to other people. Something that I think we’ve all maybe fallen out of practice with. I don’t know what I’m going to do with myself when we’re back out meeting and greeting people in person; it’s going to be that way. “What do I do with my hands again?” kind of moment.

As I record this, we’re all sitting in quarantine, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I think that’s something I’ve heard a lot about from clients, and people leaving comments on the blog and Instagram these days, is our relationships and our connections with other people are feeling more important than ever before. I think we appreciate that much more than things that we feel we are losing or being threatened. I think that all of us have been feeling a little more isolated and compartmentalized than before. It is that much more important to figure out how to create really meaningful, valuable, good feeling connections with other people. That’s true for romantic relationships and our intimate partnerships, but also even friendships or connections with family, the people that are most important to us. And also, figuring out ways to build those connections with others. 

At the core of it, and I know we talk a lot about this on the podcast, is that the real fabric of a relationship is connection and attachment, emotional safety. I think being able to be truly authentic with others, and have relationships that are characterized by caring, and a mutual appreciation, and all of these things. And it is also true that especially when we are creating relationships, newer relationships, be they friendships or romantic relationships, how we show up in the very beginning, can determine whether or not we have the opportunity to go deeper with people. First impressions do matter, and not that it’s you only get one chance, and then it’s over, because that is way too much pressure for any of us to take on board. But it is worth considering what is our leading-edge when we first meet someone.

If you are single and dating, how that first date goes is going to determine whether or not you have the opportunity for a second. I think that when we talk about romantic relationships or things related to couples; it is very easy to go into the deep stuff around communication and how we show love and respect. Those things are all incredibly important. it can be easy to get so into the weeds of that; that we lose sight of the fact that there’s also needs to be fun in a relationship like to be a good friend to your partner, to be enjoyable to hang out with, to spend time together, doing light things that aren’t the most serious things in the world. That’s really the bulk of how we spend our days with our spouse or partners and even our kids. Then also certainly with friendships. There is a time and a place to go into the deep stuff, and to be vulnerable, and to have those very authentic heart-to-hearts. Honestly, I think that it’s true that if you can’t do that at all with “friends”, it may not be the depth of the relationship that you want to have. 

There’s a lot of the rest of the time that we spend with friends that are devoted to just fun, and companionship, and being easy, and light, and just enjoyable. And again, the deep stuff is important and chemistry does matter; that people feel a spark when they’re with you, that people want to hang out with you like the song we were just listening to. There’s a line in there that I love, Like a moth to the flame, right? I think that as we are discussing all different topics related to your love, happiness, and success, it is worthwhile to be talking about how to build up your confidence in these interpersonal moments, and also your charisma, your chemistry because you can be intentionally more charismatic, more fun to talk to, more fun to be with, more make people feel the chemistry when they’re around you. This is not an impossible thing even if you know you may be as I am, honestly, as many people are: naturally inclined towards introversion. 

That is okay. That’s good. That gives you depth and meaning. I think introverts are fascinating to talk to you personally. But how do you put your best foot forward, be your best self, particularly with people who don’t yet know you? We have to do that to some degree to give ourselves the chance to get to know people more deeply. We don’t do a cannonball into the deep end of the pool with intimacy, there’s an on-ramp. Being intentional about how you’re coming across in the beginning, is the on-ramp. That is what we’re talking about today on the show is how to increase your confidence, your charisma, your chemistry with others. 

If this is your first time listening to the podcast, I’m so glad that you found this. I’m Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby. I’m the Founder and Clinical Director of Growing Self Counseling and Coaching. I’m a psychologist, Marriage and Family Therapist, and life coach. I spend a lot of time really, I would say the bulk of it, helping people with matters of the heart. We talk about all kinds of things on this show: we talk about career and personal stuff, and growth, and all good things. But really, I think, what I have clients talking to me about most of all, and what we do most of all in our practice, is it’s really related to how do I feel more connected to other people? How do I have more genuinely satisfying relationships with others? Let’s take a look at my patterns and relationships, and think about how those are going so that I can make positive changes. That’s, again, what we’re doing today on the show. 

I have lots planned for us around this topic of confidence and charisma. That is not all; if you’re interested in learning more about this topic, I would invite you to go to the blog at If you go to the blog page, there’s actually a search bar there and you can type in any topic that you’re interested in. But if you would like to, if this conversation will have today sparks more interest in learning about communication, chemistry, friendship, dating, go to the blog of, type any of those words into the search bar, and you will see not only more podcast episodes from me but loads of really helpful articles written some by myself but some by other people on our team at Growing Self. I get to work with all kinds of very smart, talented therapists, and coaches who have a lot to offer you all for free on the blog at

So don’t let your journey of growth stop here at this moment with this podcast. We’re gonna keep going. But in service of our topic today: confidence and charisma, I am actually enlisting the support of a true expert in this area. She’s not a therapist but she has some pretty unique life experiences that have really helped her understand the art and science of being engaging and being interesting, and being not just fun but funny to talk to. 

Kristen Carney is my guest today, and I’m so excited to introduce her to you. Kristen is an extremely interesting person. She is a stand-up comedian, who has another career really in helping people figure out how to communicate with confidence and clarity, be successful when it comes to things like bantering in the context of dating, and she has done so many interesting things. She is the co-host of the Ask Women Podcast, and she has been on let’s see, Loveline with Dr. Drew, The Adam Carolla Show, she’s had her own podcast, and she is on Comedy Central. Are you still on Comedy Central?

Kristen Carney: I wrote for them a long, long time ago. That’s nothing.

Dr. Lisa: That’s so cool. Well, I think it’s kind of something. 

Kristen: I’ll take it. 

Dr. Lisa: She’s here today to speak with us and to share her insights on how you, too, can be more interesting to talk to.

Kristen: Well, thank you so much for having me. The pressure to talk about being interesting when you’re talking, for me to be interesting when I’m talking goes through the roof. It’s like, “Be interesting.” I’m on a podcast, maybe, perhaps not sounding interesting when I talk about this stuff, because it is really formulaic in a sense. So it turns out to be a conversation that sounds very self-help-y rather than super fun and entertaining, which is what I want people to be, right?

Dr. Lisa: I apologize if my glowing introduction but you understand like, “It’s Kristen Carney, the most interesting and entertaining person in the world to talk to,” and you’re like, “Ah, crap.”

Kristen: Yeah, I’d like to set the bar low so that I can exceed it. I can blow people away because they had such little expectations. But I’ll live up to your intro, I promise.

Dr. Lisa: Well, actually, if we could even just start there, and I hope that this is okay to ask you about. So one of the things that I have been so interested to learn more about you, and your story, and your background. So you had/have a career as a stand-up comedian. Is that right?

Kristen: Yes, and no. Yes, I’ve done stand-up for the better part of 10 to 12 years. It hasn’t always been paid or on television. But it’s been a consistent thing through my life, which has led me to different aspects of comedy, and writing, and performing, and podcasting. It’s really the common thread that’s linked to all of the things that I do together. It all stems from stand-up comedy; everything in my life stems from stand-up comedy. Ever since I was 12 years old and didn’t do stand-up comedy, comedy was the through-line through everything for me. I was the class clown. I was bullied pretty badly so it was a coping mechanism. My dad was really funny. I didn’t know how to pursue a career being funny but I knew, “Okay, I have a sense of humor. I’m very perceptive. I can see things. I’m observational and I can make clever commentary. How do I make that a career?” I actually originally went into the creative side of advertising to be a copywriter  because I thought, “Well, I can write a funny commercial or something.” I never envisioned myself doing stand-up comedy.

And it wasn’t until I was in the advertising school that I was at in Chicago, that I delved into stand-up because they actually made us take a stand-up class, to see how we could write jokes, and then put that into commercials and advertising. That’s how I ended up getting into stand-up. So my whole life has just been influenced by comedy. But it hasn’t always necessarily been directly me being on stage for 3,000 people or something like that. I have done stand-up on TV but I don’t pursue it the way most people pursue stand-up. I almost put it in the background and let that lead me. 

Dr. Lisa: Yeah. Well, that’s great. It is just, I wanted to ask about that because it seems relevant. But I can only imagine, to me, it feels like the third ring of hell to imagine standing up in front of a roomful of, maybe, slightly drunk people holding a microphone and they’re all looking at you expectantly, ready to be entertained. First of all, the amount of pressure and anxiety that you must feel in those moments. Again, I’m projecting here but also the level of empathy that there are people among us who feel similarly in the context of a party or first date, that just– What do I say? But what does that actually feel?

Kristen: For some people, it’s a rush. It turns them into essentially like meta. They need to get that next hit of being onstage. And then for some people like me, the rush is there, but the rush is weighed down by the anxiety that I do have before going on stage. I grew up dancing and so I always love being on stage. I was never nervous to dance on stage; it was a different experience. I always felt a rush 100% of the time. Whereas in stand-up, it’s so dependent on you, and you never know the context or the scenario or what’s going to happen. Whereas when you’re going on stage to perform with a group dancing, it’s all pretty planned out: you know exactly what you’re doing and what’s next; whereas stand up is much more unpredictable. So the anxiety for me could actually be crippling, and I had to find ways to cope with it. Really, part of the reason I don’t do stand up as much as I would really naturally desire is due to that anxiety. 

I never like to play the female card, like, “Oh, it’s hard being a woman in comedy?” But it is hard for– If you’re not funny, especially like me. If you’re funny, it’s great. But when you’re a woman, especially not funny, then trying to do stand up, it’s even worse. But you have a perception about you from the audience that as a woman, you need to instantly break down, you need to win them over within 10 to 15 seconds. If you don’t get them within those first 10 to 15, 30 seconds even, it’s pretty much over. That anticipation for me was always hard because I don’t look like I would stand up. I don’t look very nice. I don’t look like the typical prototype of what a comedian looks like. 

And so I would always have to fight against that. And I would overthink and over judge myself. Does the shirt say the wrong thing about me? Is this gonna make me unlikable? This side of my face is less likable than this side of my face. What if this side of the crowd is like–? So yes, tons of anxiety for me. But once I’m actually on stage, and things are going well—

Dr. Lisa: Yeah.

Kristen: It is that mass hit where you’re like, “Not that I would know, not that I’m familiar. No judgement.” But hey. This pandemic’s getting long, you never know. But once that ship is sailing, and you’re flowing, it’s like, “Man, this is great,” nothing better in the world. But to get to that point, sometimes, it just doesn’t feel like it’s worth all the pre-pain that comes along with it, especially not just the pre-pain of being on that moment of stepping on stage, but just functioning in an industry like that is very difficult. You have to be very social and you have to really know how to work it, and network, and get chummy with people. And I’m pretty introverted. I’m very extroverted in certain senses to the extreme. But on a day-to-day basis, I’m very introverted. That was always very hard for me to upkeep these relationships and meeting people. So yeah. There’s nothing I love more in this world besides comedy but I love sleep. Sleep is probably number one but number two, comedy. hTat has just been a consistent source of decision making, I guess in my life, but I’ve never been directly, completely committed to just stand-up comedy. 

Dr. Lisa: Well, I can understand why because just the mental and emotional anguish. And also, even though there are moments when it feels good, and you’re in the flow, and you’re doing it, I’m also hearing that there’s a lot of self-awareness that it’s not totally in your nature to be what it requires.

Kristen: Yeah, yeah. I’m very in my head, and I’m very self-aware and over-analytical, and over-judgmental of myself, and hard on myself. So it has always been, it’s crippled me, definitely. But it’s also shaped me in a sense that it’s given me character, and a sense of humor because I don’t go through everyday life feeling great and happy all the time. Because I’m so in my head and I use that for my comedy. I use that for my jokes, my point of view on the world, and all that stuff. So I try to be grateful for it. But that’s also me just trying to sound positive because I’m on a podcast that’s very positive. If I was on a comp, like a podcast just for comedy, I’d be like, “I hate it, I want to never get out of bed and just pour alcohol into my mouth all day long every day.” But I can’t right now, so…

Dr. Lisa: Well, you– Kristen, this is The Love, Happiness, and Success podcast so we keep it extremely real and it is also 100% fun.

Kristen: Good because all I want to do really is say, “Screw it. I’m staying in bed.” But then you just dig yourself a deeper hole. It’s not worth it ‘s certainly gonna be harder to get out of that whole. 

Dr. Lisa: What I think is amazing, and what I was super excited to talk with you about is how you’ve– It seems like you’ve really taken so much of what I’m imagining you’ve learned from these experiences of, as someone who like so many of us, tend to be self-critical tend and overthink things or judge yourself harshly. And then going into, I think that the highest stress situation, and overthinking introvert could possibly be in which is in this–an entertainer role, that what you’ve done is really figure out how do I help people that are, maybe, like me, figure out how to manage some of the anxiety. And not just feel, maybe, more confident or comfortable in these situations, but also have an idea of what to say or what to be that will help them feel more confident about making a first good impression, or like you were saying a couple minutes ago, “I have 10 to 15 seconds for these people to decide,” and I think that it’s a crappy reality. I would like to believe that we live in a world where humans can be more compassionate with each other and understand that it takes a long time to know somebody fully. While I think we all know that that’s true in practice, particularly when it’s a new relationship, but when you’re dating, when you’re first out, even making friends, people do judge others pretty quickly, and that it’s also a reality.

Kristen: It is. So you have– You can’t control that; that’s gonna happen regardless. So you can put yourself in the best position possible. Also, not put too much stock into whether they like you or not. Having just this confidence, that unending confidence, it’s not affected. Of course, we’re human beings. And if you want someone to really like you, and they don’t really seem to like you, it’s a bummer, but not putting much weight on it. Because when you do put weight on it, it shines through in your interaction. You can do everything right. But if you’re in your head thinking these things, people are like dogs in a sense. Well, in certain ways, not because they sniff their own poop, but because they can smell, they can sniff, they can sense–

Dr. Lisa: People with anxiety.

Kristen: Yeah. So people will pick that up. And so the less you are focused on that, the less people will feel that and you’ll give yourself a better opportunity to be perceived the way that you want to be perceived, or in the correct way. So with making a first impression, I actually went through this. And it was mind-blowing to me because it was so simple. But when I was doing stand-up, I was trying to meet people, I was new to the scene, and I had a therapist and I just said, “I’m very upset because I’m a really good person and I’m very nice. But people react to me very negatively, it seems like very negative. It doesn’t seem like they embrace me. I don’t really feel welcome.” I had to work on that for a while but I realized I was carrying around a lot of negative energy and a lot of discomfort within myself. 

I did start working on entering situations: smiling, just smiling. It’s so simple, and confident people smile. You don’t want to be arrogant, you don’t want to be like, “I’m great. And I’m going to smile all the time because I’m perfect.” Just the way you even looked at me when I said that, when I said, I smile, you smiled so genuinely, and there’s such a warmth to that. I didn’t want a fake smile, of course. I just worked on embracing the joy that actually is inside of me, before going into these situations, and you have to be a little bit aware so that you actually do it, you don’t want to be in your head, but you want to be aware enough where you are actively putting out good energy. So I would smile. I would just smile naturally if someone came up to my friend, and I was standing there with a friend, I didn’t stand there looking off to the side or crossing my arms or like, “When is someone going to introduce me?” When the person would walk up, I’d smile, too, and I’d say hello. It would instantly be a comfort level that didn’t exist before. 

And so that was just mind-blowing to me because it felt like such an insurmountable mountain to climb to get people to like me from the get-go. 

Dr. Lisa: Yeah.

Kristen: And when I just started smiling, it made such a difference. And my face specifically, it’s very angular, it could be a little witchy at certain angles, I’ve got a dark stare, right? So you have to compensate for people because people innately want to judge that. We’ve been conditioned to, maybe, associate a long face with a witch or something. That’s not their fault. I’ve tried to accommodate them in the sense, not tell them that, but do what I need to do to offset the programming that’s already in their head about me and someone who looks like me.

Dr. Lisa: That is so important. Okay. Let’s just unpack this a little bit. There’s this just awareness that people– We, all do can just extrapolate meaning about who people are just from the basic way that their face looks like. You’re not saying this out loud. It’s probably, too, polite. But I think that phrase like resting bitchface–

Kristen: Oh, I have a resting bitchface. I have a resting C-U-N-T face really. Extreme minus, I go past the bitch.

Dr. Lisa: Well. And now for my podcast listeners who don’t have the benefit of video right now, you’re also very, very pretty, too–

Kristen: I’ll take it, I’ll take it.

Dr. Lisa: No really you are. And so, there can be this… Perhaps, we are all projecting things that we’re not completely conscious of; that, maybe, people are absorbing that like they see a pretty girl who maybe looks aloof, just not because you intend to be aloof, but because of the way your face is literally constructed. And they take that in and start making assumptions. You’re saying that it was huge to just be aware of what people do. And then really intentionally, I think you use the phrase, counteract that programming, so that you go in with a smile, and you’re being very aware of your body language so that you have some– I hate to use the word control because we can’t control everything that’s going on inside of other people. But you can tip the scales a little bit in your favor is what I’m saying.

Kristen: Yeah, absolutely.  It was really helpful. It really changed a lot for me: it changed the relationships, I was changing the perceptions people had of me. And I had stories that people told me when they first met me, they just thought– They didn’t know me, they didn’t speak to me, they didn’t think I was a b-i-t-c-h or a bitch because of anything I did. They just saw me and thought, “Oh, that girl looks like a bitch.” And that’s, they wrote me off. And that was it. And then come to find out once we actually strike up a relationship somehow, they’re like, “You’re nothing like I expected.” 

If I’d known that from the beginning when I first met them and was able to make conscious decisions of how I was holding myself or the energy I was putting out–and I don’t know if you get into this stuff, but chakras and the energy that is pouring out of your body that people sense–I noticed that if I just felt either annoyed or kind of moody, or if I pulled into a parking lot at a grocery store to run into get groceries, and the parking lot was full. And then I’d walk in the grocery store with that energy of like, “Ugh. Get out of my way.” People would react to me like that. They would feel that energy. And so, sometimes, I forget, and I’m like, “This person is being a jerk.” Then I realized, “Well, maybe, I’m putting out that energy of being a jerk.” And then I readjust. But yeah. It was life-changing for me, really.

Dr. Lisa: Thanks so much for sharing that. I love it because it’s so doable and I also hear exactly what you’re saying to that: It’s very easy for all of us. I certainly do this, too, we’re unconsciously marinating in the broth of our own feelings or being focused on something or annoyed with something and not fully aware of how we feel to be around. People can pick up our mood states through how we look and how we’re vibrating almost. That can really impact people, too. Particularly if you’re going into a high-impact social situation, or a situation where you would like to meet new people, or dating, or make new relationships to be real conscious of that ongoing relationship, too, honestly. But, especially in the beginning, before people have compiled a, I have had 150 sets of experiences with Kristen, and most of the time, she’s lovely and nice and pleasant. Today, she’s not really herself. But if somebody was just meeting you for the first time, and they didn’t know that you were lovely, nice, they would take that annoyed, irritated Kristen as being the truth about you, right?

Kristen: Yeah. And that sticks. Yeah, that’s what sticks. So if you can alter that, then you’re in a great position.

Dr. Lisa: Yeah. Okay, can we back up just a little bit because what you’re talking about is so important in terms of that self-awareness. But what I often see happening with clients–either therapy, coaching clients that I know that certainly I myself have been in the space, the way we are thinking about situations, even before we go into them are–our inner dialogue around like, “Well, they won’t like me because they’ll think I’m weird because I’m different from that, or I’m not quite as good as XYZ for all these reasons.” People, I think, who struggle sometimes to feel confident in social situations can really have a lot of that inner dialogue that anticipatory– That will prevent them from going into these situations in the first place. Or when they do, they’re already expecting something bad to happen so they’re not smiling, and they’re not feeling great. And I know that this is a very big, complex topic. There are psychologists who specialize in social anxiety and it’s a thing. So there’s a lot here but I’m wondering, what you have found from your experiences, personally in your coaching work over the years that has helped you offset some of that because I just– I think it’s such a common experience. And–

Kristen: It is. And so, what I can refer to as my own experience. And the first thing that comes up in my head when you ask that is, I remember living in Chicago, I had just started doing stand-up comedy, and all the kids or all the people who were doing comedy in the scene were highly educated from Ivy League schools. They were high achievers, in a way they seem to have– I don’t know, I would guess that a lot of them came from money so that they were able to pursue something like comedy because they could. Whereas I was not an Ivy League student, or I’m in an Ivy League College; I was nowhere near even an A student. I was a B-minus student. I didn’t know anything about politics and big conversational things. I just knew who I was, and what I like to talk about, and I felt so nervous and scared around them. And I couldn’t be myself, and I couldn’t speak. I would just be completely quiet. And it would almost feel like: in my brain, a light switch would turn to the off position. I would have nothing to say, nothing to offer, no sense of humor. I knew it was in there. But it would just shrink. It would go away and I would clam up. 

And I look back on that. And I’ve come so far because I’ve realized that what I have to offer is unique, and is great in and of itself without having to be like them. So the first thing that I recommend is becoming comfortable. And it’s way harder to– It is way easier said than done to just all of a sudden become comfortable with yourself, right? But when you stop trying to be anyone else but yourself, instantly, a lot of pressure will melt away. Because I started to– When I was younger, I started to try to become them so that I could fit in. And the more I tried to become them, the less funny I would be, the less the more people wouldn’t like me. It felt inauthentic. It felt fake. People could feel that. And so I would learn things just so this person would, maybe, like me better, or that person would like me better. 

And I stopped doing that. I stopped comparing myself to anyone else. I started embracing who I am. And if I don’t love to read about 18th-century literature, I just don’t. That’s okay. I never will, I’ll never like– I’d make jokes about not reading essentially. I can, I read but I don’t really read. And for so long, it was like, “What a loser, you don’t read. You don’t add up to everyone else.” But then I realized, I get my knowledge in the way that I like to get my knowledge. I like to learn things. I like to learn things. I love movies. So I started to just embrace my shortcomings, and stop comparing myself to other people. When I would go into social situations, I started to feel great, not great, I’m not perfect by any means. But I started to feel just more at ease. This is who I am. This is what I like. If you don’t like it, if it’s not good enough, I’m not interested in you either.

It would hurt. It’s not like I’m unendingly confident. I struggle a lot with confidence, always. But I just became more comfortable in my skin. So when I would go into these social situations, I knew what I had to say, what I had to offer was different than anyone out there. That in itself was awesome and was unique, and cool. I would start feeling less anxiety and I’ve never necessarily had social anxiety. 

It’s interesting because when I’m in a social setting, in a group way with people that I’m relatively comfortable with, I turn it on. I don’t know what happens, but I become like Robin Williams or something like, a-dee, a-dee, a-dee, and funny and eh. And I really become myself. But there are certain people in certain circumstances, of course, that I would dim my light. And so, that’s happening way less. My light doesn’t really dim anymore for the people that I’m around. That’s a very long-winded way to basically say, become comfortable with who you are. It’s a lot easier said than done.

Dr. Lisa: Yeah, yes. Right? It’s a process. I think that we can all totally relate to that, to being around people that we’re worried about being judged by. I know, I’ve certainly been in that experience, too. How hard it can be to like, “No. Even though I’m not into these things, or they know something about music or bands or whatever that I don’t know, it doesn’t mean that I’m not a good and worthwhile person.” I’m like, – I think that that’s the theme for this year is that self-acceptance is really that core so that you’re having that inner voice inside of yourself that is like, “You are good. You are just as good as they are. It’s all okay, you don’t have to be anything else. You bring value.” Also, I love the other part of what you said, which is that if you do encounter someone who is judging you by their own weird yardstick that they’re carrying around, it doesn’t have anything to do with you, and good riddance. Who would want to be friends with or in a relationship with somebody who’s so judgy? That’s not fun.

Kristen: No, that’s the most empowering part of getting older: it’s not caring. Cool. Great. Awesome. You’re cool, you have a million Instagram followers. I don’t care. 

Dr. Lisa: I know.

Kristen: I don’t care. It’s this, that book, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck? Okay, I didn’t read the whole book, and speaking of not reading I did listen to most of it on tape. If I ever go deaf, though, it’s because I listen to so many books. That’s gonna be my thing. I do listen to books. I don’t read them. But I do listen. That was just reiterating the whole idea of just not caring that much; caring about the right things and forgetting about the wrong things. 

You said something and I wanted to respond to, but it’s escaping me right now. Oh, I know what it was. You mentioned about, maybe not knowing that certain music or all about music or something. What I recommend doing is embracing, literally out loud, your shortcomings, calling them out. A confident person can self-deprecate because they’re secure enough that if they point out something that makes them vulnerable, they’re cool. That’s okay. Self-deprecation is a very good tool to use in small doses, of course. You don’t want to become Eeyore, just constantly, “Oh, no. I don’t wanna exist.” But every so often, if you really don’t know something, or you’re really uncomfortable, calling out the elephant in the room and self-deprecating about it. 

I also recommend self-deprecating about the positive so that you are able to call it that elephant in the room. But in a way that’s not taking you down from you’re starting zero with someone and taking you down to negative 100. You’re starting at zero with someone and you’re actually going up to plus 25 by self-deprecating. You self-deprecate about the good things. So I recommend making a list of things that are actually really great qualities about yourself that you could pick on in a way to humanize yourself. It’s like the humble brag kind of thing. But if you, every single day have to make your bed or something, that’s a positive quality that you could totally pick on yourself. 

If you’re, I used this example once before, that I liked or met with men that I was working with, but this one guy, who, he’s 38, roughly, rediscovering himself. He said he was traveling all the time. He was taking singing lessons. He was learning how to use, learning how to ski or just stuff that he’s never done before. He was doing tons of awesome stuff. So I said, self-deprecate about that and saying basically like a 50-year-old divorced woman. So turn these things that are great about yourself as a way to self-deprecate. You become very down-to-earth to someone. But meanwhile, also showing that you have confidence because it takes confidence to do that. But of course, the right situation has to arise to use these self-deprecation tools. But they’re always there for you.

Dr. Lisa: What a wonderful, multipurpose little-Swiss-Army-Knife kind of communication technique. It accomplishes so many things at the same time. It shows confidence, it’s showing wit. But it’s, also, making yourself more relatable. I would imagine, too, making other people who may be experiencing their own inner demons around, “Oh, this person is so much more interesting than I am.” They feel more comfortable and safe with you, too. 

Kristen: Yeah, I used to do that as a teenager who didn’t, I hate to say the word bullied, but I was pretty bullied.

Dr. Lisa: Yeah, I understand.

Kristen: I learned to self-deprecate to make people comfortable with me. To me, I felt like it made myself more likable. It was also a defense mechanism because I thought if I point out my flaws first, I’ll get to them before other people do, which is something I was so accustomed to people pointing out my flaws, telling me what was wrong with me. So it was a defense mechanism, but if used properly and in small doses, yeah, it’s a really good tool.

Dr. Lisa: I know that we don’t have that much more time with you because we have to have a hard stop. But, I guess, I’m also wondering that maybe in our last couple of minutes, if you wouldn’t mind sharing if there are any, and I know that you have a coaching practice, you have a whole program based around this. I’m sure it’s very involved, but part of what I love about your work and what I was interested in speaking with you again, is that in addition to helping people feel comfortable in themselves and know how to handle themselves in certain social situations, I think that there is an art and a craft and things that you can learn for how to be perceived more positively, or things to say, there is such a thing as charismatic communication. Again, I know we don’t have a ton of time, but I’m curious to know if there are even one or two things that you can share about things that usually work if you would like to make a positive impression. We talked about smiling and energy. But–

Kristen: Absolutely, oh my gosh. There’s so many places I could go with this but I’m sure to narrow it down for time sake. One thing I always recommend is being very aware of your surroundings. When you’re aware of your surroundings, what you’re doing is just becoming cognizant. Is it warm in here? Is the line very long? Is there a weird smell? The reason I recommend that is because that’s a shared experience with someone else who is in the room with you. They’re experiencing the same thing. They may not be aware they’re experiencing the same thing. But if you point it out, Oh, my God! Instant connection. “Yes, it is really smelly in here. Do you smell that?” “I smell that. Oh, my God, are you wearing deodorant?” “No, it’s not me.” All of a sudden, it can turn into a fun playful exchange, if you simply start out just aware of your surroundings. So that’s one thing. 

The other thing that I recommend is knowing your point of view and having opinions and strong opinions. Not to be a jerk, but to give you a place to go from in a conversation. The conversation will fall flat if you don’t have a point of view on something if you don’t have an opinion on something. It’s really the foundation of the banter work that I teach: we start out working on opinions and how to unearth the ones that are buried deep down, because we’re taught to be polite, we’re taught to not offend, we’re taught to be amiable. Of course, I want people to be nice and lovely. But for men, specifically, when they’re dating, if they don’t share theirs, if they don’t have these strong opinions, they end up looking like the, they end up being thrown into the friend zone or feeling a little bit like the beta male, it’s not the strong masculine type that women may be looking for. So knowing your opinions, and knowing how to deliver them properly, is something that we usually get into in the coursework that I do. 

Finally, the last thing that I would recommend is looking, this takes a long time to explain. So I’m going to try to say it in about 20 seconds. When you want to be witty and you want to be clever, simply really all it comes down to is making a connection between one thing and another. It’s so hard to summarize so basically, starting to draw lines, little invisible lines between things, is where you’ll start to bring out humor. So for example, if —I’m just randomly pulling stuff out— if I’m in the airport, and there’s a vending machine with the headphones, things like that. People usually walk by, they don’t make a judgment on that just like, “Okay, a vending machine full of headphones, whatever. Next.” 

Taking these little minute things and actually applying connections to them, so say I was– I didn’t have my headphones back, and I had a 14-hour flight coming up. I would say something about the vending machine being my hero, that vending machine should be wearing a cape, it just saved me, just saved my life. That’s not mind-blowingly funny, but that’s an example of making connections to bring out humor. So those three things set you up to be pretty good verbally. But also, physically in terms of what you present yourself are important as well. I don’t know if I just made sense.

Dr. Lisa: No, no. It’s like the physical pieces and energetic pieces are all the foundation, but then shared experience, what’s going on, making connections between different things. Also, you use the word playful, too. I would imagine that just having that intention in the way you communicate and having strong opinions.

Kristen: So yeah. Playful is key, especially in dating. At the beginning of a conversation, of conversing, or connecting, you don’t want to be shallow necessarily, but you want to be playful and short so that it doesn’t feel like work, so that it feels fun. It feels like you’re at an amusement park. Then eventually, you can get to the heavier stuff. But when you’re drawing someone in short and sweet and fun and playful, it’s how you set the stage for better things to come.

Dr. Lisa: That’s an interesting conversation. I wish I had more time with you. I’m sure that my listeners are like, “Wait! No!” So where would they go if they wanted to learn more about you and your work these days?

Kristen: So my website is called It’s a play on Netflix and chill, which is about hooking up because I really just helped mainly with the dating stuff and guys trying to get the chicks. But they can also find me @thebantercoach on Instagram. I just started that Instagram page. I’m starting to build it up and get content on there. So if they want to hit me up or ask me questions, The Banter Coach on Instagram.

Dr. Lisa: Thank you so much. We’ll be sure to link to those in the post for this. Thank you again for your time. 

Kristen: Yes, thank you for having me. You’re so lovely. It’s so sweet to talk to you.

Dr. Lisa: Talk to you soon.

[Outro Song]

Episode Highlights

  • How To Talk To Random People
    • Kristen says that stand-up is similar to socialization in that you never know how you will be received.
    • You cannot control this, so just be yourself, do not think too much of how they think about you, and remember to smile. 
  • Developing Self-Awareness
    • Be aware of the vibe you’re giving off when socializing.
    • Adjust your attitude so that you don’t come off as negative.
  • Embrace Your Shortcomings
    • Kristen recognizes that what she has to offer is unique.
    • There is no need to always be comparing yourself with other people, you just need to be yourself.
  • How To Be A Better Conversationalist
    • Be aware of your surroundings so you are ready to bring out the humor in any situation.
    • Know where you stand and have an opinion: don’t offend, but aim for friendly banter

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