OPINION: Being genuine is better than trying to appear interesting

Though trying to fit in can work short term, pretending can lead to feelings of isolation



Though the desire to fit in can sometimes make pretending to be different or interesting seem tempting, it tends to put a strain on someone in the long run.

RAINY SHARMA, Evergreen columnist

Every day, we meet many people, but upon meeting some, a sudden thought comes to our mind that the person is so interesting. The main reason we find people interesting is because of their authenticity.

In a group setting, people sometimes attempt to fit in with others. This might help in the short term but can make a person feel even more isolated in the long term.

People might change their behaviors to try and seem more interesting, but they end up running away from their true identity, attempting to morph themselves into someone they aren’t. This is harmful and unnecessary.

“When I am thinking that a person is interesting, to me it means that they have a wide array of experiences, they may have all sorts of different things they are up to,” said Harrison Hughes, career coach and academic adviser at WSU.

Being interesting is not something we are born with. It is something we gain through our experiences, interaction with other people and exploring ourselves.

The more we interact with people, the more they feel connected or disconnected with us and this is where the interest begins. If a person can feel connected to us in any way, it may be through the thought process, personality, way of talking or any other gesture. They would like to know more about us; however, if a person feels disconnected from us, we might not seem to be interesting to them.

“It all depends on [if] what we need to offer is someone’s need,” said James Bledsoe, senior career coach and academic adviser at WSU. “I love to cook meat for people but I am not going to go to an environment that has vegetarian people because I will not be interesting to anyone there — although I am being myself. But if I go to an environment where people love eating meat, I will be interesting to them because I put myself in a position so that people could really see who I am and what I have to offer.”

It all depends on how people look at us. People’s perception of you is often independent of whether you are interesting or not. It does not require face-to-face interaction or verbal communication. People can form opinions on you based on your writing, an act or even silence.

“It is the incongruity I would guess in general is what makes people interesting to us when they are different from how we expect,” said Alexander Spradlin, clinical assistant professor in the department of psychology.

If there is an introverted person, they can still be interesting provided they are their true selves. To be interesting, it is not necessary to be very charming or charismatic in the traditional sense.

It can be the charisma and charm of our thoughts that can make people think we are interesting.

If a person is a good listener, empathizes with others, has a diverse thought process and is patient enough to explore more even if it’s out of their comfort zone, people will find them interesting as their personality speaks for them.

“For example, the comedian/actor Christopher Walken, he has got a unique sound the way he talks that I think makes him interesting to a lot of people,” Spradlin said. “He is not necessarily the best actor, he just plays himself, but people find him interesting the way he is.”

Certain values can make a person more interesting. If a person can empathize with the other person, enrich themselves, tend to explore and experience more and eventually empower themselves, they can become interesting.

“It’s a 6E approach to be interesting,” Bledsoe said. “If something can enrich me, empower me, equip me in some way and I feel entrusted, I can gain more experience and explore me, that’s what I will find interesting.”