How to have fun and be an interesting person
It may seem stupid for an adult to tell other adults how to have fun, and a lot of the advice in this article may sound obvious or banal, but I think the fundamental message of this article is extremely difficult to implement and will take lots of work to fully internalize.
The message of this article is this: MOST PEOPLE DO NOT HAVE FUN BECAUSE THEY ARE WORRIED ABOUT PLEASING OTHER PEOPLE
De-programming yourself of this tendency is a long and difficult process, but paradoxically, the less you try to please other people, the more people like you. Humans are attracted to high-status individuals, and evolutionarily, the alpha male (THE most high status individual) does what he wants rather than what others want. Most people, men and women, would rather follow somebody who is having fun rather than have somebody follow them or try to please them.
The following principles are necessary to have fun:
• Stop caring what other people think
• Enjoy everything
• Constantly seek better and higher pleasures
• Allow yourself to feel joy and abundance
All four principles are variants of the fundamental message: stop caring what people think of you.
Do what you want – stop caring what people think
Humans have an evolutionary need to be accepted, and we feel anxiety whenever we do something we feel might upset the higher-status members of the tribe, especially the alpha male. For this reason, humans are extremely conformist. Our strongest emotion is making others happy rather than having fun ourselves. But who is everybody trying to please? Evolution has determined that the best way for the tribe to stick together is to pick one guy who does whatever he wants (the alpha) and have everybody else just follow him.
Conformity makes it impossible for most people to have fun. They listen to music they don’t like, they go to places they don’t enjoy, and they hang out with people they don’t like or treat them badly because of their biological need to conform and be accepted.
Think about musical genres. In the 80s hair metal was big, in the 90s hair metal died and grunge music and gangster rap got big, then grunge died, and later electronic dance music got big. Hair metal, however, did not stop being good in 1991 and its millions of fans had no good reason for suddenly abandoning it. Musical genres, fashion trends, and other cultural trends change because a few important people decide that thing X is no longer cool, and now thing Y is cool, and everybody else just follows in conformity. If you go to an EDM concert (or whatever music is popular today), you will see that a lot of people there don’t even really like the music – they are just conforming.
The first step in learning how to have fun is doing what you want to do rather than what you feel like you should do to be accepted. Do you want to dance? Do it. If you don’t want to dance, don’t. Do you want to sit? Sit. Are you bored? Go home. Are you at a huge party and feeling hungry? Leave and get something to eat. Is somebody being annoying or rude? Ignore them. Did somebody say something stupid? Don’t pretend what they said was smart. Do you feel like talking about dinosaurs? Talk about dinosaurs.
This will be a huge mental shift for most people and will feel counter-intuitive and “wrong” at first. In the short term, you may feel or look rude or weird, but in the long term people will admire you. I call this “benign selfishness” – you are not being rude or inconsiderate, you are not keeping people waiting, breaking promises, etc... You are just doing what you feel like doing in that moment. Conformity is closely linked to feelings of inferiority: you subconsciously seek to be “accepted” by others because you feel like doing what you enjoy most is fundamentally “wrong”. Most people collapse if given a leadership role because they do not trust their own instincts, emotions, and abilities.
People should like you because you are fun, intelligent, interesting, and kind, not because you supplicate to them or sacrifice your own fun to make them happy. If somebody demands that you supplicate to them or otherwise “obey” them when you guys are hanging out, guess what, that person does not really like you. And if your idea of a fun time is different than their idea of a fun time, then instead of you conforming yourself to them you should perhaps consider that you guys just are not compatible.
People would rather be enjoyed than supplicated to. If you genuinely say to somebody “I enjoy hanging out with you because you are fun, smart, cool, chill, etc...,” they will feel better about themselves than if you supplicate to them for no reason other than your own insecurity and evolutionary desire to be accepted. People have a sense of their own value so if you supplicate to them when they have done nothing to deserve your supplication, they will lose respect for you because they will subconsciously realize you are only supplicating because of your own weakness and feelings of inferiority.
The universe has endowed you with many blessings that you should enjoy: the breeze, the sunshine, the scenery, the taste of the alcohol you are drinking, the company of your friends, the music playing, etc... I think “fun” is essentially the opportunity to open your mind and enjoy everything, as opposed to focusing on a specific task when you are at work. Almost everything is potentially enjoyable, you just have to open your mind to it.
Surprisingly, the main reason people do not enjoy everything is because they are worried about what people think of them.
For example, many people hate country music, not because all country music is terrible, but because they have been shamed by their friends and other social influences into not liking it. But some country music is good and you can enjoy it just like you can enjoy anything else. It may not be your favorite thing, but if other people enjoy it, you can too. You have just been programmed to close your mind to certain types of fun.
Society and our emotions team up to cause us to focus on only women and drinking when having fun. If you think this way, you miss much of the nuance of life: the curiosity of your environment, interesting conversations, eclectic entertainment, etc... A lot of guys say to me “I only talk to girls to fuck them, I don’t find anything they say interesting.” I think that’s an absurd mindset – almost everybody has something interesting about them and it’s your job to poke and prod to find out what is interesting about them. A key aspect of self-improvement is getting to know people: learning their stories, their challenges, their failures, their quirks, etc... Most of what we know about people is filtered through society, the education system, and the media. Learning people’s stories directly will give you more insight into life than almost anything else.
When I tell guys to do whatever they feel like, they sometimes respond “my only interests are reading, playing videogames, and being by myself, and girls don’t like those things.” There is nothing wrong with reading or playing videogames, but more often than not, those guys do not enjoy partying, drinking, going out, dancing, or approaching girls because they are worried about what people will think. They have been treated badly by hot girls or party people, so now they avoid those situations because they subconsciously associate them with pain. A lot of people only go to certain kinds of bars or environments because those are the only places they feel “accepted.” But if you eliminate the need to be accepted from your psyche you can enjoy anything - you would be able to enjoy dancing and nightclubs just as you enjoy videogames.
Of course, it is impossible to enjoy EVERYTHING. Some shit you will just never like and some stuff is just objectively bad and is only popular because people are conforming to some cultural thought leader. But the more you can open your mind to new pleasures and experiences, the more fun you will have and the more fun you will be to be around.
Allow yourself to feel joy and abundance
Another reason people don’t have fun is that they are wracked by scarcity and anxiety. Anxiety is often just a fear of scarcity. For example, a lot of guys spend all night trying to get laid instead of actually enjoying themselves when they go out. These guys come off as creepy and desperate to women, and end up getting rejected, as opposed to the guys that are actually having fun. These guys develop tunnel vision for women because they have a fundamental, subconscious anxiety that the women will not like them unless they supplicate, and that women are a rare, fleeting treasure that must be supplicated to, so they feel like they need to ignore all the other fun to get women. But paradoxically, if you eliminate all of your other fun and focus only on women, women will find you boring and creepy.
Abundance is a quasi-religious feeling and intellectual belief that the universe will deliver you all the fun you want, so you do not need to settle for shitty people or shitty experiences. I say “quasi-religious” because you must have this feeling and belief even when there are no actual facts to support the belief.
You may say “I can’t just turn my anxiety off. I have lots of problems at work, in my dating life, etc...” I get it. Anxiety is hard to get rid of. But the whole point of having fun is to give yourself a break from your anxieties. The strongest motivator for human beings is joy, and nobody works harder than a person who is feeling joyful about what they are doing. Think about having fun as “practice” feeling joy, so that you can hopefully start having fun even when you are doing “serious” things. Fun time can help you “re-charge” so that you can attack your problems with renewed vigor and motivation.
Constantly seek better and higher pleasures
Many people’s idea of fun is hanging out with the same people, doing the same things, and going to the same places. Again, these people do not have abundance and are worried about pleasing other people. Humans are naturally novelty-seeking creatures, so if we are stuck doing the same thing, it is usually because we are afraid of leaving our comfort zone.
How to be interesting
This article is titled “how to have fun and be interesting” but so far I’ve only talked about having fun. Well, being an interesting person is closely linked to having fun and requires much of the same work. Most people are not interesting not because they are inherently deficient, but because they have been trained by society and their own feelings to be conformist, feel anxiety, and keep their mind closed.
As part of a self-improvement program I often tell guys to engage in some type of creative pursuit: music, comedy, art, building things, etc... These guys often say things like “but I will suck” or “people will think I’m another douche trying to be a DJ,” etc...
Who cares what people think?? The main reason people don’t follow their dreams is because they are afraid of what others will think. Yes, you will suck at first. You may suck forever. Comedy or DJing or writing or restoring furniture might not be your thing. But you shouldn’t engage in art or other creative activity to impress other people. I often encourage guys to start some creative project and keep it a secret so they don’t link their art to what others think. The only way you can expand your interests and abilities is to dive head first into things without letting society cripple you by inducing anxiety and fear.