How To Be More Fun
Simply put, knowing how to be fun is useful social skill. If you can be fun people will enjoy having you around. You'll also have a better time at the get togethers you go to.
Being fun is something that has a time and a place though. It's great if you can be fun at a party or with a bunch of buddies who are in a light, joking mode. If you're on a quiet, contemplative walk with a friend, trying to be fun, fun, fun isn't as good a fit. Overall, I see being fun as just one social 'mode' of many people can be in. Sometimes it's the right one for the circumstances, sometimes not. This article covers the idea in more detail:
Regular Logical Mode vs. Light Fun Mode In Social Interactions
I think there are two aspects to being more fun. There are the behaviors that actively make you more fun, and there are the traits to avoid that make you less-fun.
Being more fun
When I was trying to think up all the traits I've noticed that make people more fun, I realized they were all fairly vague and general. You'll see what I mean in a second. This vagueness means two things: First, as long as they're sticking to the very general principles, everyone can be fun in their own style. Your fun self can be a reflection of your normal self.
Second, the principles are relative. What I mean is, one person can apply them at a low level of intensity and be fun in a subdued way, which their friends may enjoy more than someone who's really over the top. Another person can apply the same principle in a more rowdy, energetic way. Sometimes I get this mental image of a "fun person" being a loud guy standing on a table with a beer in each hand. But I think that's just a particular flavor of being fun, which you'd have to be in a certain mindset to appreciate. You can be fun in a more low key manner, and in a style other than "hyper, drunken party animal".
However, even though I just wrote about how everyone can be fun in their own way, this article is still using a certain meaning of "fun", which involves having a wacky, entertaining, funny time with people. If someone were to say, "My idea of having fun is to take an afternoon to meditate in my garden", then this article won't line up with their use of the word. If it's not important to you to be more fun in the way the article is talking about, then it may not be something you need to read.
Try to joke around and be amusing
In one way or another, fun people are often funny. Sometimes it's because they're purposely being a comedian and trying to make their friends laugh. With others it's more that they have a naturally amusing personality, and can't help but be entertaining as they make conversation on any random topic.
Introduce people to fun new activities and situations
Fun people have a knack for pulling their friends into fun situations. Some of them just simply know good places to go and fun things to do. Others have this hard-to-pin-down ability to just get everyone they're involved with into wacky circumstances. Rather than make a normal response to an event, they'll be a bit more spontaneous and unpredictable and get everyone involved in something memorable.
Help people have more fun themselves than they normally would
A lot of us are used to going through life at a certain level of reservedness. We may have a better time if we pushed our limits somewhat, but we're used to our default setting. Fun people are good at convincing us to let loose a little more. Sometimes it's because their own enthusiasm is infectious. At other times they have a skill for applying some light, harmless peer pressure (to get us to do something we'd like anyway). The classic example is someone dragging their more reluctant friends onto the dance floor, where they start to have a good time once they get going.
Purposely try to have fun
Some people have fun naturally. Others know they need to consciously shift into a mindset where they're trying to have a good time. They realize a part of them wants to quietly hang back, and instead they go on the lookout for things that could increase the fun they're having.
Whether they have to work at it or not, fun people are good at finding or creating entertaining situations. Hopefully the setting they find themselves in will be fun from the get-go, but if it's not then they'll stir something up. They'll end up chatting to some new people, and find a way to joke around with them. They'll suggest an activity to take part in, or a change of venue. They may get everyone involved in some zany stunt and see where it goes.
Get in touch with your goofy, immature side
Having fun often means being more silly and childish than normal. You have to shelve your more sober parts of yourself and temporarily regress to a goofier, freer side of your personality. It means laughing at dumb jokes and stupid antics, instead of being serious and judgmental about them. A lot of people use alcohol or other substances to help them get into this state, but you can obviously get there on your own.
Be a little more wacky and reckless than you would normally
Another part of being fun is being more spontaneous and uninhibited compared to your normal self. That doesn't mean you have to start throwing furniture off someone's roof or become a stereotypical frat boy idiot, just that in fun situations being a bit more wacky or reckless relative to the usual you isn't seen as a big deal.
Or to use a cliche: Say "yes" to more things than you normally would. If you have a chance to do something memorable and entertaining, throw caution aside and go with it. That way leads to stories you'll laugh about afterward. If you really want to, you can come up with a reason why doing pretty much anything is a bad idea. Don't let that sensibility go too far.
Take things a little further than you normally would
This point is closely related to some of the ones above. This is hard to explain, but I've noticed fun people have a tendency to push things a little further than everyone else. If everyone is joking around, they'll start making slightly more outrageous or edgy jokes. If everyone is on the dance floor, they'll start dancing in a more kooky or showy way and get everyone else to join in. Not always, but sometimes this pushing involves taking things in a slightly more risque direction.
There's often fun to be had in pushing things slightly, but some people are hesitant to go there. The fun person helps everyone get into that territory. It takes skill and experience to know how brush up against the line without crossing it though. If you go too far, you can come off as insensitive or make people uncomfortable.
Have tricks and talents that make you more fun
This is a more minor point. Fun people often have all these little skills they can pull off that help other people have a good time, if only to get one cheap laugh out of them. They may know a bunch of jokes or stories, or be able to pull out some funny dances, impressions, or corny magic tricks. Sometimes people see these party tricks as cheesy and trying too hard, but they can get a good reaction too. Fun people are also usually pretty good at "stock" having fun skills like dancing and playing pub or drinking games.
The traits that make you less-fun are more concrete and straightforward than the abstract principles in the previous section. Avoiding these un-fun traits is just as important to being fun as the ideas above, maybe more so.
I'll mention again that this article is based around how to have more of a particular definition of fun. Some of the things below aren't inherently negative traits in all situations. Some readers may see some points and think, "Hey! That's just how my personality leads me to act! Why am I being told that the way I am has something wrong about it?!?" My response would be that from the worldview the article is using, certain traits may be seen as "bad". It's only through that one lens though. Through a different perspective a behavior that's positive in the "having fun" sense may be a liability elsewhere. If you decide you don't care about whether you're fun or not in a certain way, then carry on acting how you'd like.
Don't be the person who never wants to do anything
If you're ready to have a good time, it's irksome to be around someone who isn't up for any of the activities that you think will be fun. By this I mean shooting down overall suggestions for things to do, and also the little chances to do something amusing that come up when you're out (e.g., riffing on a goofy topic).
There are three parts to this point. First, don't be the person who never wants to do anything new. Second, don't be the person who never wants to do anything *period*, and who always wants to stay in. When your friends are rearing to do something, not being on board drags them down. Be reasonably open to new suggestions and don't expect your mates to always do more humdrum things with you. Third, don't be the person who wants to quit everything halfway through.
Wherever you are, don't just hang back and do nothing
If there's one thing that identifies less-fun individuals, it's that they never seem to be doing much. If you were to go to, say, a staff party, the more fun people would be making the rounds talking to their co-workers, joking around, maybe dancing, and generally having a good time. Less-fun people could be found sitting at a table staring off into space, watching the dance floor but never joining in, or being physically in a group conversation but not engaged with it.
There are other reasonable ways you could describe such people aside from "less-fun". Maybe they're only at this staff party because they have to be, and couldn't care less about having a zany time. Maybe they're shy, or they have a quiet personality, or they don't know anyone, or they don't know how to dance, or they're distracted by other concerns. These things could all be true about them, but like I said, they still come up short through a "fun" lens. That's not necessarily a harsh judgment on their entire character, just pointing out that they're not in the mix.
You can go a long way toward being more fun if you just make an effort to participate when you're around people. There are several reasons why you might not be taking part more already:
- You may not always have the skills to join in (e.g., knowing how to banter, dance, or play pool)
- You may not always have the knowledge to join in (e.g., everyone is joking about a movie you haven't seen)
- You may not always have the confidence to take part (e.g., singing Karaoke)
- You may not always have the desire to jump in (e.g., your friends are playing a video game you find boring)
- You can't relate to many of the people you're with (e.g., your roommate invited her co-workers over, and you have little in common with them)
You may be able to get over some of these barriers with a quick attitude change, like vowing to give a certain activity a chance. For others you may need to work on your shyness, or practice a skill on your own for a bit. It's your call whether any time invested is worth it.
Don't be too picky about what you require to be entertained
Somoene back at the bar while their friends are off elsewhere could just be shy or taking a breather, but they could also be thinking something like:
- "I'd dance but music isn't very good."
- "I'd drink but it's too expensive."
- "I'd talk to people but they all look stuck up."
- "I'd talk to people but it's too loud in here."
- "I'd talk to my friends but they're all being annoying right now."
- "I'd have a good time but this bar sucks."
- "I'm bored."
- "This place is boring."
- "The people I'm with are boring."
While the less-fun people are making a tally of what's wrong with the place, their more fun friends are out there dancing, meeting people, and having a great time, despite the supposedly less-than-ideal conditions. Try make the best of whatever situation you're in. Focus on the positives instead of the negatives. Don't feel you can only have fun under the perfect circumstances.
Don't sit back and wait for the amusement to come to you
This is related to the above point. Another big trait of less-fun people is that they're not good at creating a good time for themselves. They depend on the setting or other people to provide them with entertainment. If they go to a party they won't take the initiative to meet new people or get involved in a fun activity. Instead they'll hang back and wait for guests to come talk to them or rely on their friends to keep them interested. They'll become antsy and resentful if their friends get distracted and no one entertaining strikes up a conversation with them.
They may also be bored somewhere and have all these 'if's running through their mind: "If the DJ starts playing better music I'll have fun. If I was at (some other bar) I'd be having fun. If my friends start acting a certain way I'll have fun. Until those things happen I'll remain bored." It's a passive attitude, where they think they can only have fun if things largely out of their control flow toward them.
Don't be a downer
When people are having fun they're sensitive to anything that may bring down their mood. They don't want to be out with a buzzkill. One way to be a downer is to complain too much: "This place sucks", "This place is dead", "I'm bored., "Let's go somewhere else", etc, etc.
A second way to bring everyone down is to keep bringing up inappropriately depressing and heavy topics for the circumstances. If you're out on a Friday night and it's obvious your friends want to take it easy and blow off steam, that isn't the time to go on about how you hate your parents, or how all your ex-girlfriends toyed with your emotions.
Don't be overly serious
Being too uptight can generally contribute to being less-fun. Recognize any of these?
- "Everyone here is so shallow. Why don't more people want to have deep, intellectual conversations?"
- "Drunk people are so annoying."
- "Ugh, everyone's being so loud and obnoxious."
- "Why are those people dancing like that? It's so embarrassing."
- "I can't believe my friends are playing drinking games. What a bunch of idiots."
- "I'm too mature to do that."
- "Eww, this place is so hot, and loud, and smelly."
- "Do these people really think this is amusing?"
And on and on. As I wrote earlier, having fun often involves letting loose and acting less-proper and controlled than you normally do. Lighten up a little. You can't bring rigid, serious, humorless sensibilities to fun situations.
Don't see having fun as immature or beneath you
Some less-fun people can be that way because they see the very idea of having a good time as base and puerile. They may see it as something only shallow, vacuous people do, and believe more intelligent, mature types don't stoop to that level. Like I've been saying, being able to joke around and goof off is just a different way of acting. It doesn't detract from your more intellectual or refined traits.
Once more, this piece is written from only one of several perspectives. Here's an article with a different angle on what it means to be boring or not: