Do you sometimes worry that you’re not interesting enough? Do you have the idea that if you could only travel more or get a better job or take up more adventurous hobbies, you would suddenly seem intriguing to other people?
Well, I’ve got a little secret to share with you about being interesting . . . and it’s got nothing to do with brushing up on your pop culture, politics, or sports knowledge.
Being interesting to others has nothing to do with accessing something new from the outside—it’s really all about freely expressing what’s already inside you.
That’s right: if you want to seem more interesting to the people around you, all you need to do is share who you are and what’s going on with you, honestly and freely.
If you really want to get people’s attention and draw them to you like a high-powered magnet, the key is to make a legitimate connection with them. The only way to do that is to access your most authentic self and share that self with the people around you.
Unfortunately, one of the strongest deterrents to that behavior is false stories.
Most of us come preconditioned with a resistance to sharing our authentic selves because we have built up false stories that say we are boring people.
The worst thing you can do as someone who wishes to increase his social fitness is to believe that your story is not worth sharing.
The problem with not sharing your authentic self freely is that you will find yourself constantly questioning everything you say and do. At that point, you are not only disengaged from the conversation (being in your head rather than making a connection), but you are also failing to hook the other person into the conversation because you are only ever giving a fraction of yourself to the exchange.
Still think you’re not interesting enough?
Let’s take the blandest example I can think of: let’s say you were to share with a coworker that you love Post-it Notes. No, they’re not exciting, but you like the rainbow colors, and they make organization and categorizing easy. So, you pass by your coworker’s desk, notice the Post-its, and mention that you love rainbow Post-it Notes. Now, a couple things might happen:
- Your coworker might just say, “Oh,” and continue on with his/her work—not fully picking up on your offer to engage, but at worst, thinking you’re talkative and excited about Post-its; or . . .
- Your coworker might welcome the offered distraction of engaging in a conversation—he/she might even have an unexpected appreciation for Post-its. Now the two of you are talking, and the conversation can go anywhere from there.
Pick something you’re excited or passionate about, and let the world know how you feel! So what if every person on the planet doesn’t agree with you? Either way, you’ve shared a piece of yourself and given someone a chance to get to know you a little.
When you put your energy and enthusiasm into something, you become magnetic.
Whether they know it or not, people want to be around other people who find joy in life. The only thing that can keep you from making a connection with the people around you is your resistance to sharing.
Now, I get it—sometimes you’re just exhausted and don’t feel like trying at all. It happens to me all the time: I get home from a long day, the kids are distracting, we’re trying to get dinner together, and the moment for sharing and personal connection just seems to pass by.
What a lost opportunity that is!
You might be tired; you might be frustrated; you might even be surrounded by people you don’t like all that much. No matter what the excuse, there is never a time when sharing a piece of yourself is impossible or when making a personal connection is not worth it.
Still feeling stuck and overwhelmed? Try asking yourself what’s going on for you in that moment.
What am I feeling? What am I thinking? What am I interested in? What’s bothering me? What am I drawn to? What am I noticing around me?
Worst comes to worst, you can always just share one of those things:
- Huh, I can’t believe how much energy I have today.
- Wow, would you look at the color on those leaves over there?!
- I’ve been thinking a lot recently about learning how to play an instrument.
Sure, none of these examples are earthshattering shares, but they can certainly get a conversation going, and they involve giving a piece of yourself freely. In couples therapy it’s called “broadcasting to improve.” In that case, the idea is to offer something up that will allow you to make a deeper emotional connection to your partner—to improve intimacy.
This is often something a therapist will suggest to the man in a heteronormative relationship (or to the more reserved partner in any relationship): just narrate what’s going on around you or within you, without an agenda.
It’s simple, and it works.
When you share your thoughts consistently, freely, and fully, you will become instantly more interesting to other people.
Now, does that mean that everything you say will be 100% interesting to everyone all the
time? No—that’s impossible.
If you keep at it, however, you’ll find that many people (often most people) will be interested enough in what you say to pick up on it and engage in a conversation. After all, most of us are usually looking just as hard as you are to make a connection and pass the time in conversation.
So, commit to trying this for just one week. Practice on people you feel the most comfortable around and take chances from time to time on those who you don’t know very well. Not only will you feel better, but you might also make a new friend in the process.
NOTE: as you dive into this practice, your inner safety police might start to fight back—they’ll question the things you chose to share; they’ll tell you you’re lame; they’ll make up stories to try to get you to give up. DON’T LISTEN TO THEM.
No matter what happens, you must continue to share, expand, fight back against old stories, and build the confidence you deserve.
You are worth sharing. Your life is worth sharing. Your experience is important . . . and it matters.
Please feel free to share your thoughts and questions below! What stories do you tell yourself about being uninteresting? What thoughts or observations do you often hold back from sharing? How is this practice working out for you? We really need to keep offering our wisdom to each other on these comment threads, so please take a chance and help your peers grow alongside you!
Until we speak again, may have the courage to be who you are and to know on a deep level that you’re awesome.