Being interesting isn’t just about having a great story to tell, it’s also about how well you’re able to communicate even the most mundane tale. Communication consists not only of the words we use, but also nonverbal cues such as body language. Body language includes everything from our facial expressions to how we stand or sit. In fact, there are over 700,000 forms of nonverbal communication, which account for over 65 percent of social meanings, according to social anthropologist Edward T. Hall. Body language is especially important in emotional situations where it typically
“prevails over words,” according to Kris Rugsaken, an academic advisor at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. Sure, accumulating experiences will almost always make you more interesting than a person whose knowledge is relegated to one area, but if you can’t convey those experiences in a compelling way, you’ll still be a bore. You know who can’t stand a bore? The person married to one.
Staying Interesting is Hard to Do
“The world is deluged in interesting,” says Internet marketer Antone Roundy. That’s one reason it’s difficult to sustain interesting for very long, he says. It can be especially hard to captivate an audience of one for years or even decades on end. Have you ever been to that dinner party in which you were able to learn more about the person talking by the eye rolls of his partner than from the words passing his lips? According to Stella Resnick, Ph.D., author of The Pleasure Zone: Why We Resist Good Feelings & How to Let Go and Be Happy, the aforementioned eye rolling or crossing of arms when a partner is speaking says, “I’m not going to listen to what you have to say, because it’s worthless.” Talk about working a tough crowd.
Ways to Keep Your Partner Interested
In the beginning of a relationship, interesting is effortless. We hang on a new partner’s words as if they were photo albums in a tornado. One of the reasons is because it’s all brand new. It may even give you the false impression that, once interested, your partner will always find you interesting and vice versa. Don’t bet on it. Staying interesting is an ongoing process. If you get complacent, you’ll eventually run out of stories your partner hasn’t already heard and those rainbows and unicorns will soon become hailstorms and horseshit. Lucky for you, there are ways to keep your partner interested for the long haul.
- Stay Current: Keeping up with current events and politics is sexy, says Tokii co-founder Karla Tolstoy-Stephens. Not only will staying abreast of the latest political news give you something to talk about with your partner, it’s also your civic duty! (Hint: Tokii has DiscoveryGames that focus on the 2012 US Election.)
- Be Weird: “More weirdness means more freedom. When you’re not trying to fit in, you’re free to stand out,” says Jessica Hagy, a contributor to Forbes. Weirdness is also great for parties, she says. “It’s not small talk when you bring up your big weird thing.” When weirdness is honest and positive it’s both captivating and attractive, says Hagy. “Weird is not creepy: weird is what makes life less boring.” In other words, to stay interesting, let your freak flag fly.
- Grow Up: “Personal growth is the key factor to improvement in all aspects of your life,” says Tolstoy-Stephens. “When there is nothing new to discover or experience, the relationship will end.” You know it’s true.
- Introduce Your Partner to New Things: “If I had to come up with a personal definition of what makes someone interesting, it’s that they have knowledge that other people would want to have, but don’t yet,” says Chris Macleod, the founder of Succeed Socially, a blog devoted to helping people to overcome shyness and to improve their social skills. He notes that knowledge doesn’t have to be “straight up facts.” It can be everything from nuggets of trivia to a unique worldview. He suggests knowing your audience (which, by now, you’d better) and interjecting humor as ways to staying interesting.
Beware of Technology
You may be inclined to rely on technologies such as smartphones to keep up on current events or trivia but be careful, says Susan Krauss Whitbourne, Ph.D., a professor of Psychology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. A recent McGill University study found that people who rely on global positioning systems (GPS) lose functioning in the hippocampus, which controls memory and spatial orientation. What it comes down to is you either use it or you lose it—mix in lots of real life experiences with your Google searches.
Stay Interesting, Stay in Love
If you still think being interesting isn’t important for relationships, consider this: a recent UK study found that “growing apart” and “falling out of love” has replaced infidelity as the leading cause of divorce. Yes, it’s true, there’s now a better chance that your partner will leave you because “of you” rather than “for someone else.” That’s gotta sting. But, “by breaking up our hobbies and interests into our family dynamic, our relationship as lovers, and ourselves as individuals, we can cover all aspects of our life and then, no one ever gets bored,” says Tolstoy-Stephens. To be interesting, all you need to do is lead an interesting life. Well, when you put it that way…
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