Hey, Psych2Goers! Have you ever learned something and said to yourself “Wow, that’s interesting,”? Maybe you’ve met a new friend and thought “They’re really cool and always have the best stories!” I know I have. In Paul Silvia’s book Exploring the Psychology of Interest (2006), he views “interest/interesting” as an emotion rather than a concept. He also breaks down what makes something interesting: uncertainty, complexity, conflict, and novelty. Basically, if this new thing or person brings up questions, isn’t easy to figure out, may make you have conflicting thoughts, and is brand new to you, you probably are interested in it. Everyone is interesting, but how do you reflect your interesting qualities to the world? Let’s look at 7 easy ways to show how interesting you are!
Side Note: The terms “boring” and “interesting” are subjective, and this article is based on personal opinion. At the end of the day, you should never change to be like someone else or try to attract someone. Changes to yourself or your personality should only be made for yourself ONLY! Talk to a mental health professional if you feel you need to make changes for the better.
#1: Be passionate!
When you’re in class listening to your teacher, would you rather listen to someone who’s monotone and sounds like Charlie Brown’s teacher the entire time? I seriously doubt it. You’d probably rather to listen to someone who’s excited about the topic and is genuinely happy to teach it. Same goes for interesting people! When you talk about your hobbies, goals, dreams, or anything you enjoy, don’t keep it hidden. Show that joy and passion! Not only does it show others what’s truly important to you, but it shows that you have a wide range of emotions about a lot of different topics. This can help you to seem more interesting to others.
#2: Learn how to hold a conversation!
In 2015, Jian and Dalisay did a study on the quality of conversations between bosses and employees. It went just as you would imagine. The better the quality of conversation, the more committed to the job and company the employee was. The same principal goes for any kind of conversation with anyone. When one person isn’t really able to hold their end of the conversation, not only does it make the person seem less interesting, but it also shows their lack of commitment to the conversation and even the friendship.
When having a conversation, try these easy tips:
- When the other person is speaking, make sure to listen to what they’re saying rather than thinking of what you’ll say next.
- Summarize what they said. It shows you’re paying attention and truly care about what they have to say.
- Ask questions. This shows that you, the interesting person, has interest in THEM. This can make others to feel interesting, too
#3: Keep a few good stories in your back pocket, just in case.
Alright, one thing we didn’t mention in the last point was how hard it can be to have a conversation (especially after a two-year quarantine and with in-person interaction becoming a thing of the past). Here’s a little hack to help you seem more interesting AND help break that first conversation ice: pick three good stories about yourself to practice and memorize the way you’d like to tell it. These can be crazy date stories, that time you caught a three-foot fish when you were 11, or even that time you got locked out of the house because you grabbed your sister’s bike lock keys with her teddy bear charm on it instead of your house keys. (It happens. We won’t tell.) When you have the stories planned out, it takes the anxiety away from having to think up what to say, and you can practice ahead of time. That way, the next time you’re meeting people for the first time and have to say a little something something about yourself, you have a couple ready to go.
#4: Don’t show them ALL of your cards in the first round.
Have you ever been on a first date and your date tells you their entire life story within the first 15 minutes of the date, traumas and all? When you’re first meeting someone, it can be heavy and overwhelming to give someone so much new information. If this emotion does include past traumas, it can be something pretty hard to take in if you don’t already have a strong understanding of this person, as well as a strong foundation in the relationship. Giving the Cliff Notes version of your life in 30 minutes or less can also can make someone feel like they know everything about you already. Like we said, part of something or someone being interesting is that “novelty” factor. If you tell someone the whole story, there isn’t anything left to surprise them!
If you know me, I’m mostly home unless I’m running errands. Super exciting, right? Not. I think we all have a friend or two that is constantly somewhere new and posting all of their latest selfies in the latest location. Traveling can be a bit pricey, but exploring in your city may not be! Do you like coffee but always hit your local Starbucks? Maybe search for local cafés nearby. Do you like being in nature? Instead of going to a local park, try looking for nature trails nearby. Visiting new places is another way to be more interesting! Who knows? One of your adventures might end up being one of your stories in your back pocket.
#6: March to the beat of your own drum.
I think everyone’s parents told them this one, but it’s actually true. When you try to fit yourself into a box to be cool or liked, it can come off as ingenuine to others simply because your passion doesn’t match it. Let’s say you and a friend went shopping, and they bought green pants. You wouldn’t wear something like that, but you bought a pair, too, because she did. When you wear those pants, you might feel awkward or uncomfortable which can show through your actions or facial expressions. Embrace your weird, your quirks, and what makes you YOU!
#7: Keep learning!
When a child learns something new, it’s super exciting. After they’ve been doing that same thing for a while, it kind of becomes old news until the next new thing comes along. That really doesn’t change as we age. We gain lots of skills in school, but if we stop there, it can limit how interesting others may perceive you. Have you always wanted to learn archery? Go find a class! Found yourself liking a lot of candle-making TikToks? Learn how to make one! Not only can learning new skills help keep yourself sharp, but it can help others see you become more interesting.
It can be really easy to fall into the rut of just working or going to school and not making time for yourself, your loved ones, or anything else which can be more boring than paint drying. Remember: when you decide that you’d like to make a change, whether it be becoming more interesting or something else, always make sure you’re doing it for you and no one else. As always, keep your eye on Psi for more Psych2Go content!
Have a wonderful day!
Want to take a look at some habits that interesting people practice? Watch 10 Habits Highly Interesting People Always Practice.
The references used in and to compose this article are listed below:
Barker, E. (2014, April 18). 7 things the most interesting people all have in common. Time. Retrieved June 26, 2022, from https://time.com/68212/7-things-the-most-interesting-people-all-have-in-common/
Bradberry, T. (2017, June 2). 8 habits of incredibly interesting people. Inc.com. Retrieved June 26, 2022, from https://www.inc.com/travis-bradberry/8-habits-of-incredibly-interesting-people.html
Jian, G., & Dalisay, F. (2016). Conversation at work. Communication Research, 44(2), 177–197. https://doi.org/10.1177/0093650214565924
Morin, D. A., B.Sc., V. S., Watkins, N., Shafir, H., & Haworth, A. (2021, August 11). 12 qualities that make a person interesting. SocialSelf. Retrieved June 26, 2022, from https://socialself.com/blog/person-interesting/
Silvia, P. J. (2007). Exploring the psychology of interest. Oxford University Press.