Everyone can benefit from becoming more interesting.
We live in a noisy world, and the more interesting you are, the more likely it is that you’ll be heard above the noise. In addition, being interesting can help you with just about any goal you may have. Look at the following:
- Do you want to impress your current circle of friends? Make yourself more interesting.
- Do you want to meet new people? Make yourself more interesting.
- Are you trying to attract the attention of a love interest? Make yourself more interesting.
- Do you want to make lots of valuable connections at networking events? Make yourself more interesting.
- Do you want to be the kind of person others want to open doors for? Make yourself more interesting.
Fortunately, there are many things you can do to be interesting. Below you’ll find 14 of them.
14 Ways to Be Interesting
Here are 14 ways to become so fascinating, people from all walks of life will be drawn to you.
1. Be An Active Person
As I was doing research to write this article, I came across this gem:
The graph illustrates the obvious: lazy people are boring. Lazy people do the minimum to get by at work, they come home and watch TV, and then they go to sleep. The next day they simply repeat these actions. Every day looks pretty much the same.
Could that person possibly have anything interesting to say? No, of course not. Look at the following:
- When a lazy person is asked “What are you up to?”, the answer is “Not much”.
- When a lazy person is asked “What are you reading?”, the answer is “I’m not really into books”.
- When a lazy person is asked “What’s new?”, the answer is “Same old same old.”
An active person, on the other hand, is always doing something. Maybe they’re taking a 30-Day Happiness Challenge; or they’re training for a 10K; or they’ve joined their Neighborhood Watch. When you ask an active person, “What’s new?”, they always have something to say.
So, if you want to be more interesting, get up off the couch and go do something. As an illustration, here are some things I’m doing right now:
- Working on my eBook on how to learn any skill fast (it’s coming along nicely).
- Contemplating taking up Stoicism.
- Making more of my own beauty/personal care products instead of buying the chemical-laden variety at the pharmacy.
- Taking a kettlebell swings challenge.
By doing lots of things I make sure that when someone asks me what I’m up to, I have lots to say. To be more interesting, be more active.
2. Happy People Are Magnetic, Debbie Downers Are Not
A while ago I wrote about my Personal Manifesto on this site. One of the things that I have on my manifesto is the following:
“I talk health, happiness and prosperity to every person I meet.”
After all, people want to be around others who make them feel good about themselves and about the world in general.
Don’t be one of those people who’s always complaining. The last thing you want is for people to take one look as you walk into a room and think, “Oh, no, here comes doom and gloom”. Happy people are much more magnetic–and interesting–than downers.
3. Be Passionate About Something
If you want to be more interesting, be passionate about something. It can be anything:
- Be passionate about saving the planet — or whales, or dolphins, or the bees. Find something worth saving that you can be passionate about.
- Be passionate about your job, career, or business.
- Be passionate about a social issue – domestic violence, bullying, the rights of the mentally disabled, and so on.
I have a British uncle-by-law who is incredibly passionate about Winston Churchill, and about World War II (his library is amazing). Listening to him talk about these subjects is fascinating.
Late night show host and comedian Stephen Colbert is passionate about JRR Tolkien. It’s so much fun to watch when he has a Tolkien geek-out on his show.
Interesting people have something that they care deeply about. Passionate people are incredibly interesting.
4. Fill Your Brain With Interesting Things
If you want to be interesting, you have to fill your brain with interesting things. Think of it this way: whatever goes into your brain is what will, eventually, come out of your mouth.
When asked how to be a good writer, Ray Bradbury once said you should “stuff yourself full of poems, essays, plays, stories, novels, films, comic strips, magazines, music . . .” That advice can also be applied to being a good conversationalist. That is, to being interesting.
Become well-read, watch classic films, go to museums, subscribe to interesting blogs and podcasts, and listen to great music. The more cultured you become—the more high quality input you stuff yourself with–, and the more knowledge you acquire, the more interesting things you’ll have to say.
5. Let Your Weirdness Shine Through
Most people go to great lengths to edit themselves so that they’ll fit in. They’re petrified that they’re going to say or do something that may come across as being “weird” or out of the ordinary.
However, in her book, “How to Be Interesting (In 10 Simple Steps)”, Jessica Hagi argues that–to be more interesting–you should embrace your weirdness. Here’s a graph she came up with to illustrate that the more special and strange you are, the more memorable you become:
Do the following:
- Don’t judge others for being weird.
- Stop being afraid to let other people get to know the real you, however strange that may be.
- Instead of being generic, allow yourself to be quirky.
- Break out of the box.
- Share your unique insights.
Plus, think about the following: you’re probably already doing things that other people find weird, and they’re just not telling you. So, you might as well stop pretending that you’re as normal as can be, and let your weirdness hang out. After all, being weird is a wonderful thing. Own it!
6. Be Daring, Bold, and Audacious
One of the characteristics that interesting people share is that they’re risk-takers. That is, they’re daring, bold, and audacious. They do the following:
- They explore–they go places.
- They push on the boundaries of their comfort zone.
- They try new things.
- They play and they have fun.
- They learn to do new things, and are not afraid to be really bad at first.
- They create bucket lists and get to work crossing off the items on their list.
Make yourself interesting by getting yourself to get out there and do interesting things.
7. Be Present
If you’re at a cocktail party and you’re talking to someone who looks like they don’t really want to be there, or like they’d rather be talking to someone else, do they make a good impression? Are you likely to want to speak to them again? Probably not.
Part of their attention is on you, but most of it is somewhere else. That is, they’re not present. And no one is interested in talking to someone who’s not present.
On the other hand, think of those people who make others feel like they’re the only person in the room, and like there’s nowhere else they’d rather be. Those people come across as being incredibly likeable, and interesting. And they achieve this by being fully present–by giving others the gift of their full attention.
8. Ask People About Themselves and Really Listen to Them
Dale Carnegie, author of the perennial best seller “How To Win Friends and Influence People”, once said: “To be interesting, be interested.”
It doesn’t matter how much you know, there’s no bigger bore than someone who just talks about himself/herself and doesn’t show any interest in the person they’re talking to. But if you show interest in the other person, they’ll love you for it.
After all, people love talking about themselves. In fact, research shows the following:
“Talking about ourselves—whether in a personal conversation or through social media sites like Facebook and Twitter—triggers the same sensation of pleasure in the brain as food or money.”
Being an interesting conversationalist is a two-way street. It isn’t just about being a good talker, but also about being a good listener. When you’re talking to someone, be genuinely interested in them. Do the following:
- Be curious about them.
- Operate on the assumption that everyone has something interesting to say.
- Regard everyone as an opportunity to learn.
You can start by asking people about their hobbies, their family, their future travel plans, and so on. Then, make sure that you listen carefully to what they have to say.
9. Become a Good Story Teller
Research scientist Kendall Haven writes in his book “Story Proof: The Science Behind the Startling Power of Story” that:
“Evolutionary biologists confirm that 100,000 years of reliance on stories have evolutionarily hardwired a predisposition into human brains to think in story terms. We are programmed to prefer stories and to think in story structures.”
Stories help our minds to focus. In addtion, stories take facts and concepts and put them in an emotional structure, which makes those facts and concepts more memorable. By learning how to tell good stories you’ll gain the ability to engage your audience and hold their attention.
Here are some tips on how to tell a good story:
- Set the stage – who, what, when, why, and where.
- Edit out the boring stuff.
- Keep your stories simple and straighforward.
- You can embellish a little to emphasize a point, but not too much.
- There has to be conflict.
- After a struggle the conflict is overcome.
- The struggle leads to some change.
- Try to come up with a moral or message for your story.
10. Have Three Good Stories Ready
Now that you’re a good story teller, the question becomes: what stories are you going to tell?
Think of at least three good stories people would be interested in listening to. Sit down and mine your own experiences, and think about anecdotes you’ve heard from others that can be turned into good stories.
In addition, keep in mind that being interesting is as much about how you say something than it is about what you have to say. Practice telling your stories until you’re sure you can tell them in an engaging manner.
When you’re practicing how to tell your stories, keep the following in mind:
- Use your facial expressions to help you get your point across.
- Use gestures to emphasize the point that you’re making.
- Use a lively and expressive voice.
- Become good at pantomine: use your body to act out the narrative.
The other day a friend told me that she had walked in on her husband as he was talking to himself. But he wasn’t just mumbling under his breath. He was talking in an animated voice, laughing, and moving his hands as if he had an audience.
She asked me: “Isn’t that weird?” I answered: “No, that’s not weird. He’s practicing his stories so that he’s ready for when he has an audience. I do it too.”
If you want to be more interesting, practice your stories. (And if you think that’s weird, go back to point #5).
11. Tailor Your Stories to Your Audience
Chris MacLeod, author of “The Social Skills Guidebook”, explains that you have to develop an instinct for the things that people want to hear about. The story that you choose to tell, as well as the aspects of the story that you emphasize, will depend on your audience.
As an illustration, if you’re talking to your grandmother who loves art about your trip to Paris, you’ll want to focus on the museums that you visited. If you’re talking to your friends, you may want to talk more about the Paris nightlife. And if you’re talking to your sister who’s a foodie, you’ll want to tell her about the places where you dined.
If you’re talking to someone you don’t know, watch for signals of engagement to determine their interests. To be more interesting, tailor your stories to your audience.
12. Learn to Tell A Few Good Jokes
We all love to laugh, and we love being around people who can make us laugh. So, always have a couple of good jokes, funny quotes, or funny sayings up your sleeve. Don’t undersell or oversell your joke, be confident, and make sure you get your timing and rhythm right.
13. Learn to Improvise
In my post, “How to Become a Better Person” I wrote about the many benefits of taking an improv class. Taking an improv class will teach you to think faster and better on your feet, which will allow you to push a lagging conversation forward. Also, it will allow you to build on the ideas of others, embrace the moment, and better connect with others.
14. Cultivate a Beautiful Mind
In his book, “How to Have a Beautiful Mind”, creativity expert Edward de Bono–known mostly for his coining of the term “lateral thinking”–explains that having a beautiful mind means the following:
- You can easily discuss and explore ideas with others.
- To you a discussion is a genuine attempt to explore an issue, and not a battle of egos.
- You take genuine delight in finding points of agreement with others.
- You can appreciate other points of view and you try to see things from other people’s perspectives.
- When there’s a difference of opinion you can openly explore the basis of the difference.
- You’re good at setting forth different alternatives, possibilities, and ways of looking at the issues being discussed.
- If the person you’re talking to has more information on a topic than you do, you listen attentively and ask questions.
Be more interesting by cultivating a beautiful mind.
In summary, people will think you’re interesting if, during a conversation, you achieve the following:
- You made them feel seen and understood.
- You made them feel interesting.
- You made them think.
- You introduced them to a new idea or piece of trivia.
- You made them laugh.
- Through your example you’ve inspired them to take some action to improve their lives.
- You’ve made them feel better about themselves because they’re associated with you.
I’m going to leave you with a quote by Bethenny Frankel: “It’s more important to be the most interesting person in the room than the prettiest.” Live your best life by becoming more interesting.