FEIGNING INTEREST, AND WHY YOU MUST DO IT (SOMETIMES)

Yes… okay… I see… interesting… that’s nice… awesome… great….  We get it, you don’t care about what the other person is saying, so you feign interest.  Most of the time, you feign interest without knowing it, and even worse, why you’re doing it!  But feigning interest can make you seem aloof and arrogant if not done properly.  So read on and learn why it’s important to feign interest and how you can do it.

WHY IT’S IMPORTANT  

You’re not the most interesting person.  You’re trying to be, and that’s why you’re reading this.  But because you’re not the most interesting person, chances are other people aren’t the most interesting human beings either.  So why feign interest?  Because you live in the real world, and in the real world whether you like it or not, you need to pretend (at least a little).  

It was colder this time last year, global warming, you must pretend to care.  Have you tried this new restaurant, no you haven’t, but pretend to care.  I just read that Putin sent Trump a private message via Tinder, you don’t care, but you have to pretend to.   

Seriously, no one really cares about what you did over the weekend on a Monday morning, especially on their way up the elevator to work.  Even more so, no one really cares about what you’re going to do over the weekend, especially on a Friday afternoon.  But why do people ask? They ask because it is more awkward not to.  And in real life, it’s better to pretend, than to linger in awkwardness.

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HOW TO FEIGN INTEREST  

We’ve all had conversations that we don’t really care about with people we’d love to forget.  I vividly recall a pathetic conversation I once had with an obnoxiously undisciplined and very drunk Australian.  We were at an upscale bar after work with a host of other colleagues, and for some reason Mr. Koala decided to rant about the psychology of life.  As one might expect, the conversation was incomprehensible, yet all the other colleagues were very polite and tried their best to feign interest.  Which leads us to the point: how do we feign interest about topics we don’t care about with people we don’t care about.

  • Ask questions – When you ask a question, you can sit back, sip on your strong alcoholic beverage, and listen to the other person talk.  This takes the ownness off of you and onto the speaker.  Just make sure you nod occasionally, smile, and pretend to be interested by keeping eye contact.    
  • Use your surroundings – If the conversation is getting too boring for you, scope out your surroundings and see if you can find something or someone to deflect the conversation to.  If there is no one around, talk about very general topics like the drinks they like or some places that are on your bucket list because you probably want to die.  If you’re lucky enough to find someone around, drag the other person over and retell the whole story you just heard to this new person!
  • Present a conundrum.  If all else fails, present the person with a conundrum; it gets them thinking and talking.  Two of my friends hate each other, what should I do?  I have an annoying colleague but everyone seems to like him/her, what should I do?  I want to buy my mom a present for Mother’s Day, what are your suggestions and why?  

As you can probably tell, feigning interest is a life skill.  The sooner you realize the need for it, the sooner it is you will practice it.  And the sooner you practice it, the sooner you’ll perfect it.  So get out there and practice, talk to difficult people, talk to boring people, test yourself with topics you really don’t care about, then see how you do.   

 

     

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