A good friend of mine moved to Williamsburg, Brooklyn, right around the time it was becoming trendy. He said you could always spot the hipsters because they all looked alike. Apparently, it was a joke that was lost on a lot of them.
As someone of a certain age who isn’t quite a Generation Xer and is just a few years too old to be a Millennial, I am old enough to remember the days before the internet and social media, but young enough for them to have made a major impact on my life.
One of the things that I have seen repeatedly in both people older in age and those considerably younger is the need to be “interesting.” Indeed, for some, the worst thing that they can possibly be accused of is being “boring” or a “poser.” The ironic thing is, the more most people try to be interesting, the more likely they are to be further from the mark than when they started.
As someone who has had the privilege of meeting some truly interesting people (including a German-born artist who was cited by the Olsen twins as someone they look up to and was a muse for some well-known fashion designers), I have noticed some things that most interesting people have in common regardless of sex, age, nationality, etc.
While the following can’t guarantee anyone will cite you as their muse or make you the most interesting person at party, they are a way to find one’s true authentic self and set you apart from the conformists. In any event, it’s worth a try:
Interesting people have a passion for something.
Having a passion for something doesn’t mean that one expects everyone else to like or understand it. It doesn’t mean looking for converts or being an evangelical. It doesn’t even have to be grand or something huge like trying to bring world peace. Rather, it simply means having at least one thing that truly motivates someone and adds richness to their life. Sometimes, the most esoteric or mundane passions can be the most interesting.
For instance, I knew one man who was into stamp collecting. While it wasn’t my cup of tea, hearing him talk about how he loved finding rare stamps as well as the various places he visited while pursuing his hobby was nothing short of fascinating.
The aforementioned artist has a true passion for fashion and carries off amazingly eccentric looks that few people could ever dream of wearing without looking insane. Again, even though I may not have that same passion, it is still nonetheless fascinating to hear her talk about her style.
Passion is one of those things that is hard to fake. It is also a glimpse into a person’s soul which can be rare these days given how many people adopt personas on social media or just in everyday interactions.
Interesting people are interested in other people.
One of the things that I often hear people grumble about is how few people ever ask about how other people are doing and speak only about themselves. As one friend put it, “Sometimes when I talk to people I feel like I am listening to an ad where the product they are trying to sell is themselves.”
She has a point.
While it’s a good thing to share things about oneself, a conversation between two or more people should never be all about one person.
Years of meeting various people have taught me that there really are no boring people. Everyone has at least one story to tell and many have several.
While it’s not a good idea to “mine” people for information—especially when we just meet them—taking the time to learn about them can be rewarding.
Interesting people know, like Rhett Butler did, that “with enough courage, you can do without a reputation.”
As a long time fan of Gone with the Wind, I always loved that line because of the truth it contains. While Rhett may not have been the most upstanding character in the novel/movie, he was arguably the most interesting. He certainly wasn’t afraid to go against the status quo nor did he pay lip-service to certain things just because that is what the majority around him believed.
Human beings are naturally complex creatures. Sometimes in our need to conform or be “nice,” there is a tendency to go with what the majority is saying even if we personally don’t agree with it.
While being a rebel just for the sake of rebelling tends to be tedious, as well as those who always play devil’s advocate to get a rise, those who express their views on things without the fear of how they will appear to others are truly refreshing.
In closing, interesting may mean different things to different people, but there are some things that most interesting people have in common.
At the very least, the above tips can help us become a bit more comfortable in our skins-something that nearly all of us could use.
Therefore, try them out even if the only person you wish to appear interesting to is yourself.
Author: Kimberly Lo
Editor: Travis May
Photos: Movie still