Photo by Mathew Guido.
We’ve all been to that dinner party. There’s always that one person that is keeping the room captivated by telling endless hilarious stories or fascinating tidbits about everything in sight. And you’re just standing there essentially with a dick in your hand wracking your brain for something interesting to say. Anything. Please?
Let’s face it; we all want to be that interesting person, the life of the party, the one that easily scores an invite to any shindig in town. The one that is effortless, the one that has a date to every affair, the ones who’s always surrounded by admirers. The one who’s smart and witty and engaging.
Not all of us are naturally gifted when it comes to being interesting, but fear not – there’s a pill for that. Kidding. But I am going to tell you about seven ways how you too can become interesting and captivate audiences all through our dinner and well into dessert.
1. Develop new skills: Ensure that other people find you interesting by making yourself helpful in any situation. That’s why many suggests learning as many useful skills as you can, from web design to sewing. That way, you’ll always be the go-to person, whether a friend needs to create a website for her new business or a blanket for her baby niece.
2. Be curious: One way to ensure that you’re not interesting is by closing yourself off to differing opinions and viewpoints. Instead, you should actively seek out new ideas and experiences that will change the way you think and feel. Sudhir Desai advocates being a “lifelong learner.” He writes: “Keep an open mind, be curious. Allow for a complex world with multiple interpretations. Learn things to deepen and broaden your perspectives.”
3. Learn how to tell a good story: Maybe you’ve amassed a ton of information and experiences — but if you can’t communicate them to other people, you’re sunk. That’s why Marcus Geduld says you should learn how to be a storyteller: “You don’t just dump whatever is on your mind into the conversation; you purposefully shape it to make it interesting. … Start thinking of your life as a gift you can give to others. Wrap it in the finest paper you can find.” Geduld says that means you need to learn how to read your audience to see how long they’ll be able to pay attention and tease your listeners with clues to the end of the story. Interestingly, recent research found that women also see men who can tell a good story as more attractive. The study authors saythat’s possibly because skilled storytellers may seem better positioned to influence others or gain authority.
4. Have three good stories ready to share: Knowing how to tell a story spontaneously is a handy skill — but if you’re nervous about that, arm yourself with a few personal anecdotes you can use to liven up an otherwise dull interaction. Writes Devesh: “Comedians don’t just talk about anything when they’re onstage. They have their act rehearsed. You don’t just trot into a job interview and say whatever’s on your mind. Always have three good stories on hand that reliably entertain, inform, or engage.”
5. Read a lot: If you have the time and money to travel the world, great. But even if you don’t, you can still learn about different cultures and historical periods by reading everything you can get your hands on. Books, magazines, newspapers — expose yourself to as many new stories and ideas as possible. Based on a review of the past decade of research on the psychological effects of reading fiction, Keith Oatley told The Washington Post : “People who read more fiction were better at empathy and understanding others.”
6. Display a sense of humor: Awdesh Singh suggests developing a sense of humor in your interactions with others. “Learn to see the lighter side of the life,” he writes, “and develop a habit to be happy even in your failings.” Bonus if you’re trying to impress a date: Research suggests men who are funny are perceived by women as more attractive, possibly because they seem more intelligent.
7. Embrace your weirdness: “We all have quirks,” writes Del Singh . “It is part of our being. Interesting people unleash their inner weirdness.” Dressing, speaking, and acting like everyone else can be kind of boring — we’re not in junior high school anymore. So let your freak flag fly, and do it with confidence.
Story by Merideth Grinnell.