Since You Asked…

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Dear Caroline, 

This might sound like a funny question, but here it is. I’m about to graduate from college. I have a degree in accounting and a job lined up. When I mention my line of work, people often joke about how boring accountants are. Those jokes don’t hurt my feelings. I think there’s a grain of truth to them. 

How can I become a more interesting person? 

…Chris in Coyoacán

Dear Chris,

Take heart. Your question itself is interesting. Many people will give you one stock answer: “Don’t be interesting, be interested.” That’s good advice for small talk. People tend to be flattered and charmed by those who put them in the limelight.

However, that charismatic tactic wears thin after anything longer or more profound than a cocktail party.

People tend to fall into two general categories: dabblers and delvers.

Dabblers skip around on the surface, trying this and that. The first time you meet them, they’re learning watercolor painting. Six months later, you run into them again, and it’s jujitsu, and on and on. They tend to think this endless exploration makes them interesting people, but it makes them “ho-hum.” Talk to a dabbler, and you’ll soon see there’s nothing very accomplished to listen to.

Delvers, on the other hand, have at least one deep interest. It doesn’t matter if their passion is astronomy, ukulele, baking, competing in triathlons, training dogs or anything else you can think of. They’re knowledgeable about something and good at it too! If asked about their interest, they can volley the conversational ball with aplomb.

Interesting people are memorable. When you go to a funeral and listen to the eulogies, you’ll notice that people talk about and remember a person’s deep interests, not their dabbling.

If you want to be interesting, find at least one thing you want to learn or do, beyond accounting, and master it in your free time. Of course, you can, and should, also do some dabbling. Dabbling is like candy. Deep interests are like food.

Here’s to nourishing your social success!


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