Being interested, according to the Collins English Dictionary, means you 'think [something] is important and want to learn more about it or spend time doing it.' The word interestING however, means 'it attracts your attention, for example because you think it is exciting or unusual.' Makes sense, right?
I'm not sure about you but I would be very happy to know somebody regarded me as interesting. It's a great characteristic to be, so why am I telling you to be interested before being interesting?
This isn't a new concept, but rather one that's been brought up by some pretty great minds. Bestselling author Austin Kleon, American writer and lecturer Dale Carnegie and espionage author Helen MacInnes have all written about how you'll gain more success from being interested rather than trying to be interesting. Personally, I believe there are two main points in this ideology, of which both impact and affect each other...
1. Think of someone you find interesting (I'll wait...) The chances are they're pretty cool, might be aspirational but most likely are interestED in something. They might be a pro in their field, or just have inspirational passion for a topic. So, it would seem the person who is so interesting is actually really interested also!
2. The second part of this theory works the other way round, but with the same outcome. If you become more interested in a person (asking questions, active listening, genuine conversation) you'll learn more. Being interested in someone else makes them feel important and heard, which everyone thrives from. When they think you're interested, they'll think you're cooler; an all round better and more genuine person. Which makes you more interesting. Boom.
Confused? Let me break it down...
Whether you're meeting someone for the first time, or catching up with an old pal, be sure to pay attention to them. Get off your phone and make some eye contact. Communicating in a sincere and genuine way shows you care. Guess what? That shows you're interested.
Really listen! Heard of active listening? It's when you ask questions based off what you've heard; things that are relevant, not just generic mind-numbing borefest questions.
Keep talk about yourself to, well, yourself. Wait until you're asked. And if you're not (they mustn't have read this post...) then inject some personal anecdotes when it's appropriate. Don't tell them how much you got as a bonus this year when you're discussing their grandmother's funeral, for example.
With society so focussed on milestones, accomplishments and personal success, it's hard sometimes to not mention more about yourself than you are discovering about the other person. Just be aware that we all want to share our success and have others celebrate it too, but in moderation or when asked.
Whether you are interested in a hobby, your own business or just your favourite animal, keep hold of that! Continue to be interested and passionate. Because what do we now know? Being interested actually makes you more interesting!