'The 'Marilyn Monroe Effect' has helped me make new friends as an introvert.'

If you know me, you’d be surprised to find out that I’m a social introvert pretending to be an extrovert. I’ve been gaslighting you all and I’m not sorry. My job requires me to be a “put-yourself-out-there” type of person. From writing things like this article to unloading secrets on a podcast to (my absolute least favourite) attending events.

To be clear, I love my job to bits but I’d be lying if I said that thinking about attending an event where I didn’t know many people, will keep me up every single night leading up to it. "What time should I get there?", "What do I wear?", "What do I do with my hands?" and "Maybe I should take a shot of tequila before I leave?" are the thoughts that cloud my mind right until the day I need to show face.

Once I’ve made it to the actual event, I’m completely fine. I’m confident, I know what to do; I know what to say and I have the best time. Not because my anxieties suddenly go away (they’re very much still there) but because I’ve trained myself to be that way.

In one of my psychology electives at university, I learned that confidence isn’t something people are born with but is a behaviour that can be learned until you've completely embodied it. It’s the origin of the saying, "Fake it till you make it." This lesson was one of the (few) things from my tertiary education days that I have successfully been able to apply to my life.

Of course, this age-old psychology tactic has now gone viral on TikTok coining a fancy name called the 'Marilyn Monroe Effect'. A psychology student and TikToker, Mikaela Wilson, explains that depending on her body language, Marylin Monroe could walk out in broad daylight, and everyone would presume that she was a "normal person" and ignore her. It was only when she turned on her "Marylin Monroe persona" that people would then recognise her and walk up to her.

@mikaelawillson this is my number one glow up tip and the way i was percieved by people so you definitely need to try it #themarilynmonroeeffect #howtoglowupquick #glowuptips #howtobeconfidentaroundpeople #confidencetips #bemoreattractive #glowupforsummer2023 #marilynmonroe #psychologytricks #psychologytips #howtobehotter ♬ original sound - mikaela

So how do we actually use the Marylin Monroe effect and fake confidence? It’s simple and honestly a bit cringe to spell out but I'm doing this for the greater good. Here are the steps that I’ve adopted to achieve the 'Marilyn Monroe Effect' which never fails me.

1. Body language.

Just before I’m about to enter a social situation I do two things: Put my phone out of sight and whisper the words 'head up, shoulders back' to myself.

I never approach people who have their phones in their hands. Yes, I know, we all have our phones in our hands but when I see a phone out, I immediately think, "That person looks busy, I shouldn’t bother them." From observing other people in social situations, I know I’m not the only one who thinks that.

Open body language is one of the oldest tricks in the book. When we’re nervous, we automatically slouch to make ourselves feel small. When we make ourselves feel small, we also look small.

I’m 5’4 and many people who've I've known for a long time don’t realise that I fall into the "short girl" category because of the way I hold myself. Physically opening up your body language signals to people that you’re approachable and down to chat.

2. Eye contact.

It wasn’t until I started looking people in the eyes did I realise how many people avoid eye contact. 

Unless you’re in the middle of a heated argument, making eye contact with people while they’re talking to you gives them the illusion that you’re listening and caring about what they’re saying (whether you are or aren’t is beside the point).


3. Remember people's names and say them back.

I truly believe that we’re all a little egotistical at heart. We love hearing people say our names. It makes us feel important, respected and valuable.

Whenever I meet someone new, I always make it a point to say their name again. It’s a great memory tactic, and it also makes them feel appreciated and gives them a sense of inclusion (and, at times, nervous because they’ve most definitely forgotten my name).

It also gives them a sense that what you’re saying is of importance (even if it isn’t) and I’ve made many new friends by having fully attentive and considerate conversations like these.

Those three steps are all I do to fake being an extrovert. You don’t even need to talk that much to fake confidence (something I’m sure you’re grateful for).

Faking confidence has significantly bettered my approach to social events. Not only that, but by adopting the three steps above, I’ve actually enjoyed going out to gatherings where I don’t know anyone. It’s helped me make more friends as an adult and has helped control my anxieties. Marylin was definitely onto something.

Have you ever used the 'Marilyn Monroe Effect'? Tell us in the comments section below.

If you want more culture opinions and recommendations from Emily Vernem, you can follow her on Instagram @emilyvernem.

Feature image: Getty.