A question popped up in the Awkward Silence subscription that got me thinking. (This is not unusual by the way - Awkward Silence is meant to get you thinking in addition to talking!)
The question was "what makes someone interesting?".
This is an important question in the context of conversation. When you talk to someone, you don't want to bore them. It strains the conversation and is a lost opportunity. They will be less likely to respond to you, won’t be endeared to you, and won’t want to talk to you again.
To be interesting, my suggestion is one you've heard a hundred times but few truly master - Be yourself.
Don't pretend to be something you aren't. This is hollow and people won't care about the empty idea of yourself that you are offering. A hollow version of yourself carries no weight.
The superior alternative is to be you.
You are a unique combination of experiences, preferences, opinions & personality. There is no reason why anyone shouldn’t find something curious about you, and therefore have an entertaining or intriguing conversation with you.
That said, even the most interesting people are dull to someone. Our chemistry varies across many people. And some of your interests may not be interesting to others.
But by being yourself and tapping into what makes you interesting, you'll maximise your chances of having an interesting interaction.
What's interesting about you may vary from person to person. If you love travelling and are talking about your globe-trotting adventures, one person may be interested in the food you ate. Another may be interested in what you saw. Another may be interested in your experience of the culture.
You just have to put the feelers out until the topic of common interest reveals itself.
And this means people won’t always be instantly interesting. Have faith that with a little effort they will be interesting.