Do you know how to be interesting? Think of the most interesting and engaging people you know.
What is it that they do or say that makes them so fun to be with? What do they talk about?
Almost all interesting people are good listeners. They have a way of making you feel like you are the most important person in the universe while talking with you. They are active listeners and will work with whatever material you provide them to carry on a conversation. That being said, let’s focus on what you offer to others that allows them to engage with you.
Most people talk about the thing they know the most about…themselves.
Even the best conversationalists can only use that limited scope of information for so long before it wears thin, the conversation wanes, and eventually repeats itself. One way to test this is to think about how much the other person knows about you and how much you know about the other person at the end of the conversation. If you don’t know anything about what they are passionate about, the conversation was a failure. Furthermore, if they don’t much about you, you have both wasted oxygen and time idling in place.
Ask questions…Where you were born? Where did you grow up, go to school? What is your passion? Favorite travel spots? Ask them to tell you about siblings, friends, parents, pets, children. Be careful not to spend too much time discussing occupations. Most people’s work can be summarized in a short resume that sums up to be…I work to make money so I can buy things. The vast majority of people you meet will not be astronauts, race car drivers, pirates, or some other breathless occupation or endeavor.
Example of a boring conversation:
“So, what do you do for a living?”
“Well, I’m a data analyst for a large manufacturing company and in charge of deciding if we buy or sell widget A or widget B, on any particular day.”
“Wow, I’m a lawyer and specialize in intellectual property law and write and review contracts for large companies.”
Does what you do for a living define you?
Hopefully not. Most people still have to pay rent or mortgage, and no matter how interesting your work might be, it’s not something that will sustain a conversation long, much less a relationship.
Let’s try this again.
“What do you do for fun?”
“Well, it’s a little embarrassing to admit, but I am a competitive square dancer.”
“Oh! Well, that is interesting! I’ve never done that, but I have been taking salsa dancing lessons, and I really enjoy it! Tell me more about square dancing!”
Whether it’s square dancing, motorcycling, skiing, trap shooting, visiting old battlefields, or making action dioramas with Barbie and Ken dolls – as long as it gets you off of the couch and is fun and interesting, it provides a means to engage with others.
There is a lid for every pot and a ying for every yang.
There is a special, interesting person out there doing the same thing, or something else, that they want to share with you. No matter how esoteric or outright goofy your thing might be, it will probably make the invite list for a party somewhere.
Get off the couch. Pursue new interests. Find the thing that turns you on, and you will find the person who turns you on. They are waiting for you – so get out there, be interesting, and share what makes you unique with others. If you don’t know what your passion is, get out there, learn new things, and try new activities until you find something you truly enjoy.
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