We’re often drawn to people we deem “interesting.” Depending on the person, the definition of “interesting” can vary; we’re not all interested in people who knit rainbow sweaters or go fishing in rare waters. “Interesting” is an incredibly objective adjective. Your boss might not think you’re interesting, but that doesn’t mean your neighbor’s kid agrees.
Our “interesting” people, therefore, look differently and do different things. Yet interesting people do have critical qualities in common. All interesting have a similar intrigue, one that encompasses their personality and life. They all own their quirks and oddities and pursue what makes them unique with a great passion.
Qualities of interesting people.
1. They don’t lead “normal” lives.
Interesting people don’t live how everyone expects them to. While they may hold down a steady job or have a conventional family, their personal interests, ideas and world views aren’t what you’d predict. Their interesting quality stems from their disinterest in entertaining the “norm.” Instead of caring about what’s “cool” or “usual,” they simply follow what they’re passionate about.
2. They’re curious.
Curious people are always discovering more about the world around them and using this knowledge to inform their own lives. That’s what makes curious people so interesting: they’re always searching for more answers about their lives, interests and others.
3. They embrace their differences.
Interesting people may intrigue us, but that doesn’t mean they always fit in with others or what’s considered “normal.” Interesting people often have quirks that make them exceptional. They may like things that aren’t in keeping with the status quo. Nevertheless, someone who’s truly interesting will embrace their uniqueness and care about what they love with no shame.
4. They’re incredibly passionate.
Have you ever been engaged by a teacher simply because they’re so excited about what they’re teaching? People are interesting to us because they care so greatly about what they love, even if we don’t love it. Interesting people are passionate about their interests and strive to expand and develop them.
5. They’re daring.
Not every interesting person is the next most daring adventurer, but they’re daring and adventurous in their own ways. Interesting people don’t let themselves stick with the skills and passions they already have. Instead, they’re constantly learning and looking for new skills and hobbies. They aren’t hesitant to go a little out of their comfort zone or to try something new.
How can I be interesting?
We might want to be interesting to impress someone else or get along with others. Yet while being “interesting” means others consider you so, becoming interesting should be a self-oriented journey. There’s so much more to being interesting than impressing and intriguing others. Being interesting can help develop passions you never knew you had; it can get you excited about life — your hobbies, daily activities and even your work. Once you’re passionate about your own world, connecting with others becomes an easy second step. If you’re excited about life, you have the opportunity to connect with others who are excited too.
Start not by focusing on who finds you interesting but rather whom and what you find interesting. Who do you admire? Who gets you excited about a topic or subject you’d never considered before? What do you enjoy doing? If you had the chance to do anything for the rest of your life, with no financial restrictions, what would you do?
It’s questions like these that help you understand how you can bring the uniquely interesting parts of yourself to light — because they’re already there inside you.
1. Pursue what you already love.
Being an interesting person doesn’t mean you have to be a completely different person. Everyone has hobbies that others will find interesting; it’s about developing these hobbies and making them passions that make you more interesting. Think about what you already like. How can you develop that? If you like Shakespeare, you can expand your expertise by reading more of his works and biographies or even watching some performances. If you like drawing, you can get creative with your style, technique and materials.
2. Try something a little out of your comfort zone.
Interesting people are often happy with their lives, but that doesn’t mean they get complacent. By trying something out of your comfort zone, you not only get a new experience, but you infuse a little more excitement and wonder into your daily life. Try something that builds off something you already like. If you’re into athletics, try a new sport or a new workout class. If you love to volunteer, help out at a new organization, or try another volunteering role.
3. Learn a new skill.
When you’re not pursuing more of what you love, mix it up a little by learning something completely new. It doesn’t have to be a whole language or a difficult technical skill; it can be something as simple as making a fortune teller or cooking a new pasta dish. These new skills can help round out your interests and function as exciting tidbits when you’re meeting and spending time with new people. Think about skills you admire in others, and start by learning one or two that excites you.
4. Read, read, and read again.
One of the best ways to learn about other people, cultures, and events is to read. As long as the information is reliable and trusted, you’ll only become more interesting by reading. Reading gives us the opportunity to learn about the world around us, whether it’s a newspaper article to inform us about national events or a fiction novel to teach us about characters, empathy and understanding others. Start with your type of reading — book, blog, newspaper article, magazine feature — and then branch out to keep learning more.
5. Listen carefully to others.
Becoming interested in others can help them become more interested in you. Not only do people love attention, but on a deeper level, they appreciate when someone cares about them. We feel a sense of compassion toward those who hear us out and listen to what we’re saying. If we listen with thoughtful and caring ears, we can not only provide support to others but also learn about what may inspire ourselves.
6. Ask questions.
An important part of connecting with others is asking questions; we can become more interesting by making these connections. Be thoughtful and ask questions that encourage others, not provoke them or pry into their life. Once you’ve asked them, really understand and consider their answers. You’ll remember more details and be able to connect with them about their lives the next time you speak; in turn, they’ll remember you as interested and engaging.
7. Speak up for what you believe in.
While sometimes you may not have a stake in an argument or issue, never taking a side can be boring and frustrating for others. While you don’t want to start a fight, it’s okay to disagree with others — these disagreements can actually start really productive, interesting conversations. Whether it’s politics or baking tips, make sure you’re speaking with an informed, well-researched mind. Admit fault when you’re wrong, but stand up when you think you’re right.
8. Share what you’ve learned.
It’s great to have knowledge and skills that have helped you create a better life. By sharing that wisdom and ability with others, you can become more interesting as you help them improve their lives. Show them the article you just read with exciting news, or tell them why you loved the last book you finished. Bring back stories of when you went traveling and tried something new, and share the lessons you learned along the way.
9. Love how you’re unique...
Interesting people embrace their quirks and oddities, so it’s important to love every part of yourself and your passions — even if others consider it “unusual” or “weird.” If you’re really passionate about something, you shouldn’t be afraid to own it and make it yours. The things that others may consider unconventional make you intriguing, and loving them makes you truly interesting.
10. ...but stay humble.
Interesting people may know that others find them engaging, but they don’t pursue this quality because they want to impress others. It’s okay to be proud of your accomplishments and to love what you do, but arrogance will never make anyone your friend. Get rid of your ego and let yourself be open to being interesting for the sake of improving yourself.
Zoë Kaplan is an English major at Wesleyan University in the class of 2020. She writes about women, theater, sports, and everything in between. Read more of Zoë’s work at www.zoëkaplan.com.