Interesting is a word I notice in conversation because of how people use it—or misuse it. The two ways that amuse me most:

  1. When asked for an opinion or evaluation, people will say “That’s interesting” or “Hmmmm, interesting.” Often they don’t follow that with insight. Instead, it’s a neutral being used to not offer a more candid (and negative?) assessment. When I hear interesting in this context, I either assume they meant “that’s a bad idea” and I say, “I need more. Give me the next words that are coming to mind.”
  2. The other use of interesting is to say “Let’s talk about something, anything else.” Next time you hear that something is interesting, notice how often the conversation pivots immediately to either a completely new topic or bends to an absurd or hard-to-follow degree toward the speaker’s experience. Best of all, notice it you are doing it yourself.

My point is, if one found a topic or argument truly interesting, they would expand upon or ask about it. In my experience, and counter to its definition, once labeled interesting, you’ve hit a curiosity dead end.

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