Do you know someone who is super interesting? Someone who always seems to have a cool experience or funny story to share. Someone who draws you into conversation so you’re totally engaged. You often leave interactions with this person thinking, “Man, they are cool.” Surely, you know someone like this. You can’t quite put your finger on it, but they just have this quality about them. They’re interesting.
I’ve always had admiration for people like this. In recent years, I’ve developed a major curiosity about them. What do these people have in common? What’s their secret? It might be easy to think that it’s about extraversion or people skills, but that’s not it. It’s something else. But I wasn’t sure what, exactly. What’s the secret for how to be more interesting?
I got my answer several months ago. I was listening to a podcast with Elizabeth Gilbert. Surprisingly, I don’t remember the context of the conversation, but Elizabeth’s statement hit me like a ton of bricks. “I think a definition of an interesting person is an interested person. I’ve never met an interesting person who’s not also an interested person.” I rewound a few seconds and listened to her statement again. “An interesting person is an interested person.” Suddenly, I got it. The people I find interesting, the ones that hold my attention and make me lean in, they are interested. Interested in subjects and people. Interested in hobbies and activities. Interested in things of substance.
Because how the heck can we be interesting if we aren’t interested?
The answer for how to be more interesting lies in being interested. Read more often. Enroll a class. Talk with a stranger. Listen to podcasts. Learn how to do something you’ve always wanted to do. Ask an expert to explain something. Take on a new challenge. Research your ancestors. Volunteer near your home. Visit a national park. Connect with someone different than you. Cook your way through an entire cookbook. Investigate a topic completely unrelated to your job. Be interested.
Think back to the question I posed at the beginning of this post about the person you know who is super interesting. I bet they’re interested in things. I bet they do several of things I just mentioned. Let’s be honest, watching Netflix and staying in our comfort zone isn’t the secret for how to be more interesting. Want to know how to be more interesting? Be honest with yourself about how engaged and interested you are. Life’s too short to sit on the sidelines.
PS: If you liked this post, check out this one as well!