If she were a less intoxicating person, it would be easy to envy her. To envy the effortless and easy flirtation that she uses to bend virtually everyone to her will. She is open, gregarious, social, saying everything and anything that comes to her mind, still coming across as hilarious, charming, self-deprecating and beautiful, and she gets her way. But no one ever feels manipulated or put upon, as she flashes a giant smile and peals of her infectious laughter float behind her as she walks away from her every encounter.
It’s in this way that she gets the inside track and makes connections that pay off in one way or another.
I have realized, though I have always suspected, that this “charm offensive” brand can also be a handicap. She can never truly read another person; she can never really get to know them. Me: No one is trying to snow me, get me into bed, impress me or flirt with me. It’s all very business-like and serious. It might not be fun, but I quickly get the real read on the people I meet, talk to and work with. When she comes to me and rhapsodizes about how helpful, nice, smart, funny, “moral” or great someone is, I take it with a grain of salt and have often already got the goods on how they really are. As a team, she and I are unstoppable because I can suss out exactly who we are dealing with and their strengths, weaknesses and what they have to offer, and she can go in for the kill – either with sweetness and light or with her brilliant “I don’t realize I am being bulldozed by this smiling woman, but I am and can’t help it” tactics.
In just minutes, I have seen how weak in the knees some go, melting around her, softening like butter, becoming overly tactile octopi when they had been distant, prim characters only moments earlier. She has that effect on them. But as honest a reaction as they display to her, they certainly do not show her their true colors, real selves or what their intellect offers (or doesn’t). They are always putting on a show for her and rolling out their best. And I get the unvarnished truth.