She is a mystery. Her only companion a cup of coffee and a copy of her favorite book. Though she sits alone at this sidewalk café, she savors the moment. She quietly delights in the sights and sounds of the scene unfolding before her. She has nowhere to be. No one is waiting for her elsewhere. She will stay as long as she likes. And only leave when she is ready. Who is this woman?

She leaves us wanting to know more.

In an age of social media, over-sharing has become an unfortunate by-product. But maintaining a mysterious element about oneself can leave people wanting more. Not to be mistaken with being stand-offish or aloof, cultivating one’s allure–when done with kindness, grace and authenticity–is an empowering way to keep the people you meet fascinated by the person you are inside.

Consider the following five ways to cultivate the right kind of allure:

1. Less is more.

Leave things unsaid. When in conversation, resist the urge to share too many details or overwhelm your conversational partner with too much information (it’s OK, we’ve all been guilty of TMI). It’s a wonderful thing to be warm, honest and open, but the girl who talks incessantly can leave a person with nothing to ask.

2. Good listening.

A nugget of wisdom from Plato, “Wise [wo]men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something.” Hone your powers of observation. Draw people in with your genuine interest in them. This is a beautiful way to open up a new relationship or friendship — slowly, like peeling an artichoke and getting to the heart of a person.

3. Off the radar.

Practice restraint on social media, even if for only one day out of the week. Get off your Facebook feed. Refrain from posting your every thought on Twitter. Instagram snaps can wait. Keep them wondering.

4. Solitude.

Revel in being alone. It can be fantastic for the soul. You are anonymous in your own city. No one knows your name, how old you are, what you do for a living. Enjoy sitting alone on a bench at your favorite park. Look around, observe the interesting people passing you by. Notice the different colors exploding in the sky, the delicious scents in the air, the feel of your hands folded in your lap. Take a deep breath. Breathe in. Breathe out. Cherish this moment.

5. Take time.

Why in such a rush? Remember to daydream. Be in the moment. We live in such a fast-paced culture that we rarely take time to rest. Take the time to grow, to change and to invest in others. Take the time to stroll in a garden. Take the time to be quiet. Take the time to ask yourself who you are and what you want.

Do you think we need more “mysterious” women in our culture?

Image via Melody Munn



  1. Reading this in 2021, and this article still rings true, if not even more so now than when this was originally written (showing comments that date back to 2015). I am always desperate to share with people, men in particular, how cool i am so i tend to overshare but i’m slowly learning that they’ll see that in due time, right? so why kill myself trying to overcompensate?. Less is very much more. The people who are meant to be in my life will organically see all the magic i possess. Aside from points #1 & 2, i’m doing a solid job with the others, for which i’m grateful. There’s no greater feeling than being off the grid when it comes to my online presence. Like, at 30+ i don’t care. There’s alot going on in life that needing to tweet what’s happening at every minute of every day is NOT a priority of mine.

    Either way, thanks a million for this article!

  2. While so much of what you write resonates with me, it’s not for the purpose of cultivating allure but because at the age of 42, I realize that giving so much of myself away is exhausting – for everyone involved. I need time to recharge, to think, to be alone and to be quiet, to listen and to wonder. Ironically, I was much more prone to solitude and this sort of restraint in my twenties, having arrived as a young woman before social media existed and even before cell phones became prevalent. I will be forever grateful to have had that moment in life. Love Darling and your article, even if my perspective is different. 🙂

  3. I fully agree with you ! You simply said the truth !
    But not everyone understands that the human being sometimes needs also solitude; nowadays we want to be as busy as possible. We lost lots of values such as the family, the honesty, the semplicity of everyday life, it’s a pity

    1. In my age (20 y.o.), sometimes I’m afraid to remain alone
      I should find a balance
      Do you have some advices for me ? Thank you

      1. Hi Anna-
        I think there is a big difference between being alone and feeling lonely. Solitude happens when we are at peace with ourselves. Loneliness comes from a place of self-doubt. Surround yourself with people you trust and who fiercely want the best for you.

        All the best,

        1. That’s an article topic right there just waiting to be written! For me as well, feeling lonely is one of the biggest battles I face. It can happen in an instant; one moment, I’m fine and enjoying resting on my own – the next, I’m feeling that hole of not having someone next to me, and my solitude is ruined. It would be interesting to delve into how we can develop peace with ourselves, instead of always running after ways to not be lonely.

  4. This is part of why I LOVE to travel. As a college student I can’t get a moment’s peace on campus and when I am off campus its always in a rush to get something done before my next class. The ability to cozy up with a book in a shroud of anonymity sounds heavenly as the pressure of Finals approaches.

    1. Hi Elizabeth-
      Travel is such an important component and I wish more of us did it more often (myself included!). Good luck with Finals (you probably already took them by now). How did you do?

      Take care,

  5. Beautiful post. I love the imagery it gives me. Going to a cafe without my laptop, reading my book (possibly on the patio with a big cozy scarf and sunglasses), and enjoying the anonymity of this act. Bringing back some mystery. So good!

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