I was sitting in my apartment the other day listening to opera and reflecting on the importance of being interesting.
I can see how that statement might come off as pretentious. Let me clarify – I wasn’t just sitting around, listening to opera on iTunes, and casually pondering egotistical insights.
There was actually a live opera performance happening in my living room.
There’s no need to start an Occupy Boulder demonstration in front of my apartment – this wasn’t an outrageous display of 1% wealth. See, my roommate is an opera singer. But depending on which of his friends you ask, they may describe him differently – they may describe him as a programmer, tango dancer, the CTO of a tech startup, a Crossfit instructor, or a guy who speaks 4 languages. And they’d all be right.
If you want to meet interesting people, do interesting things.
Each activity, hobby, or skill that you add to your repertoire expands your personality into another dimension. When you meet someone, the chances are much higher that you’ll have something in common – and even if you don’t, you’ll surely be a lot more interesting to talk to.
The more obscure your hobbies are, the better. Things like sports, celebrity gossip, and popular TV shows hardly count – they’re too commonly discussed and thus won’t set you apart at all. Actually…if this is all you have to talk about, it’s better to just not say anything at all.
I love to work out with kettlebells, and that in turn led me to start a kettlebell company. I’ve met dozens of other entrepreneurs and fitness enthusiasts through that business and who knows where those paths may lead, what ventures may come forth. Whenever someone asks me what I do (auto parts and kettlebells), I get a funny look and an opportunity to explain myself – it’s a great icebreaker.
If you’re having trouble meeting people, try starting some activities. You’ll find that people are a lot friendlier and open to conversation when you’re enjoying (or, in the case of kettlebells, suffering through) the same experience. And if you transplant yourself into another city – or country, for that matter – your hobby opens you up t0 a built-in network in your new location.
Interacting with a diverse group of interesting people is the best way to expand your mind. If you find yourself bored, unmotivated, or just otherwise stuck, revisit your hobbies and discover a new passion.
There’s always a risk involved with putting yourself out there and mixing with a different crowd. Opera singers come with certain pitfalls, such as hangover-unfriendly decibel levels and keeping the company of extremely large women who are used to having the lead role.
But, over time, I think you’ll find that the juice is worth the squeeze.
Until the next time – stay thirsty, my friends.