About once or twice per year I meet up with a good friend of mine in a random city. Our meet-ups are never planned until the day of. We randomly find ourselves in the same city, grab some beers, exchange some good conversation, and then part ways until next time.
He’s a real likable guy, and might be the most interesting person I know. The dude flies planes, bets sports, understands financial markets, and travels. He has a solid foundational knowledge of health, sports, current affairs, politics, finance, history, and more.
When we become more interesting people, we become more likable and attractive. People want to be around us more. You’re more likely to get the job, the girl, and the “it’s on-the-house” coffee at Starbucks.
But how can we become more interesting? Here are some ideas on how to grow yourself beyond XBOX, People Magazine, and Fantasy Football.
1. Get Some Skills
Imagine being at a party, and you begin juggling vodka bottles and speaking French, all while your Soufflé is in the oven. Everybody attending would either want to do you or be you.
Learning a new skill is a good way to up your interesting-ness.
In high school, I could dribble a basketball with my left better than the average student, and could shoot a beautiful free throw. Outside of that, I didn’t have many tangible skills. As I moved through college, I gained some health and fitness knowledge, started blogging, opened an investment account, and tightened up my Español. I became a far more interesting person.
2. Know Some Stuff
My friend from the intro is the best person I know at this. Every time we meet up he checks in with how my family is doing; he remembers my mom is living in New Jersey now, and that my younger brother just landed a professional dancing job in Chicago. He directs the conversation to topics I’m interested in like health and sports.
On top of that, he can add value to any conversation.
Last year we went out with my girlfriend and all of her dancer friends and he was asking them some probing questions dance. How the hell does he know what an arabesque or a pas de bourrée is?
Knowing things about people – their family, their interests, their careers – is a great first step. People love to talk about themselves. Ask about their mom, or what’s new in accounting. Congratulate them on recent accomplishments. Ask probing questions about what you know they’re interested in.
Stay up with some general trends like sports, news snippets, and health.
3. Step Up
Do more. Be more. Take more action. Find a way to step up. Quit procrastinating, quit gossiping, and quit judging others. Do what you say you’re going to do. Be reliable. Stop eating like shit. Quit being apathetic and cool and actually care about things. Stand for something. Draw a line in the sand. Don’t be a coward. Fall in love. Try new foods. Experience new cultures. Travel. Take a risk. Eliminate the noise. Embarrass yourself, and then recover. I don’t know, man – do something to step up.
4. Be Interested
“Want to be more interesting? Develop more interests.” ~ Unknown
One of the best ways I’ve learned to become interesting is to BE INTERESTED. When you are interested, your eyes, you posture, and your tone of voice all change into something that cannot be faked, or even taught, but that the other person can feel.
A surefire way to be interested in a conversation, is to direct the conversation. Ask questions that you actually want the answer to. If you don’t care about Sally’s dog Sparky then don’t ask about him! However, if you know Sally is a sushi connoisseur, and you are considering throwing a sushi party this Thursday night, ask for her suggestions.
It’s a fine balance between asking others about themselves and remaining interested. You want to let others talk (see Tip #2), but this can be a great way to end up with our forehead on the edge of the bar top due to boredom. My friend asks me about sports and health because it’s a strong interest of mine, but it’s also something he is interested in and enjoys talking about.
It’s a fine line, but when you strike it, people leave conversations with you thinking how awesome and interesting you are.
Speaking of interesting, what do you think is the most interesting part about yourself? Share it in the comments below. I’d love to know your hidden talents, interests, and sushi suggestions.