Thoughts On How To Be More Interesting
The title says it all. I'll say this in one of the more basic/obvious articles, but I think there's still some goodness in it.
Being interesting is about introducing people to new things
If I had to come up with a personal definition of what makes someone interesting, it's that they have knowledge or information that other people would want to have, but don't yet. It doesn't have to be straight-up facts either. It could be things such as pieces of trivia, ideas, life experiences, tastes, philosophies, perspectives, or world views. You can probably think of a time where you met someone who had a unique job or lifestyle and you were eager to pick their brain and take in all their stories and anecdotes. Or you likely know someone who looks at things just a little differently, and you enjoy hearing his opinions about the world. Or, you could know someone with unique style and tastes. This person's taste indirectly introduces you to new things, and you're drawn towards it.
If you want to be more interesting be the real deal and live a fun life
Being more interesting isn't about sitting around at home an hour before meeting your friends for dinner and cramming some Fun Facts into your head to bring up later. It's about living a varied life and really becoming the kind of person who has new things they can introduce to everyone. It's not always the case, but some socially inexperienced people have lived fairly one-dimensional lives, especially if they're on the younger side. Maybe they can be interesting to someone who wants to hear about their handful of hobbies, but that's about it.
So try to fill your brain up with a lot of knowledge and experience. That's hardly a chore, though you may need to make a conscious decision to not devote all your time to your small number of natural interests at the expense of everything else. Read widely. If a festival comes to your city, check it out and be able to report on it, instead of staying in. Listen to other interesting people. Seek out new places in your town. Try new things. Expose yourself to new ideas. Listen to new music. Watch new movies. Form your own opinions. Don't just do the same things week after week. Do this enough, and for a long enough time, and you really will be a more interesting person. At this point all you have to do is open your mouth and count on that what you have to say will be worth hearing.
Your views and experiences don't have to be extreme to be interesting
The caricature of an interesting person is someone who BASE jumps off volcanoes, or who writes magazine articles about rock bands they're touring with. I'm sure those are fascinating things to hear about, but people can be interesting about much more mundane, day to day things too. If their perspective and stories are fresh and thought-provoking, someone could be interesting by talking about their job as a veterinarian or legal secretary, or by giving a recap of a movie they just watched. Most people have more interesting things to talk about than they realize.
Learn to present what you have to say in an engaging manner
This is super general advice. Being interesting is as much about how you say something as what you have to say. Two people could have the same basic story, but one person may present it as an droning, rambling saga. The second might package it into a short, hilarious routine. An interesting person can take a mundane topic, like what happened at work that day, and turn into a snappy monologue. An uninteresting person can be talking about something engaging and suck the life out of it.
Everyone has certain things about them that people tend to ask about over and over. Like they have a unique job or major, or they recently traveled or went skydiving. It helps to have neat mini-speeches and stories prepared for these topics. Not everyone cares about them, but if someone asks you'll have something ready to go.
More generally, if you have to speak about something, you can generally put some effort into editing out the dull bits and presenting it in an interesting light. Try to inject your humor and views into what you have to say. I guess it's almost a type of performance talent that improves with practice.
Another part of this presentation aspect of being interesting is the overall package you present to people. If you come off as someone worth listening to, then people will be more likely to want to hear what you have to say. If you seem like someone who's better off being ignored, then people may not give the interesting things you have to say a chance.
Develop an instinct for the things people want to hear about
This is connected to the points above. There's no point in saying something if the other person doesn't care about it. You've got to know your audience to a degree and tailor your conversation to what they'd prefer to hear about. Like say your grandma asks you about how college is going. You may be interesting by going into detail about the subjects you're taking. If your parents ask, you may concentrate on the friends you're meeting and how you're fitting in, because you can tell that's what they primarily want to know about. You may tell your home-town buddies drinking stories.
You also have to gauge how much information someone wants. Say someone mentions something that reminds you of a story of yours. You may realize you have to come up with a thirty-second version of it, otherwise the other person's attention will wander.
Being interesting is about fostering your uniqueness
You can hardly be interesting if you have the same things to say as everyone else. It comes from adding that unique perspective that only you can offer. Your opinion about a political issue may be flavored by a handful of history books you read. Another person's view may be affected by a certain job they had. Maybe another person has some firsthand insider knowledge about the issue. They're all bringing something to the discussion that only they can, and that the other participants (hopefully) want to be filled in on.
If you and your friends are sitting around and talking, there are lots of things that only you can contribute to the conversation. You can add those points because you've spent some time doing your own thing and delving into areas that interested you. In the process you've acquired novel knowledge, perspectives, and experiences.
Don't underestimate how interesting certain quirky or intellectual aspects of you can be either. On occasion you can impress people with your knowledge of some pretty esoteric topics. You never know, the person you're talking to my be a closet science buff and want nothing more than to hear about what you did your Biology thesis on.
Don't feel you're entitled to be seen as interesting just because you have certain knowledge
I'll throw this one in there because I've come across people who were, for example, really well-informed about things like politics, philosophy, and international issues. They came off as a somewhat bitter because they thought they had this strength 'on paper', but no one seemed to care too much that they had this knowledge. I guess in a way these topics are one of the 'right' things to be interested in, but if it doesn't pan out in real life you can't really complain. Just adapt to the circumstances and talk about something else. The same goes for having particular experiences. Some people have done lots of traveling, and are disappointed when they sometimes get indifferent looks when they, say, try to tell their co-workers about how what they're eating reminds them of the food in Guatemala.