From ignorance to interest

One of life’s greatest pleasures is to have engaging conversations. We are social animals, and a conversation is the oldest currency we have used as a species. We are hard-wired to enjoy them. How, then, do we have more of them?

Interesting people are good conversationalists. To be interesting, (cliche alert!) is to be interested. But cliches are cliches because they are usually true. Let us dig a little deeper: how do we become more interested? To be genuinely interested is harder than it seems. The easiest way to be interested is to find common ground with the person we are speaking with. What if that is not the case? What if we find little or no overlap? These are times when interest is displaced by ignorance.

But is there a means to reconcile ignorance and interest? In recent times, when I have had too little in common with the other person, I ask them questions about their interests – often really basic ones. These questions have served as bridges to better conversations. As a thumb rule, the more basic the question, the more interesting the exchange can turn out to be.

In summary, ignorance can be transformed into interest – the key to having engaging conversations. Curiosity catalyses this transformation.

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