Someone once pointed out to me that the word “interesting” has quickly become obsolete in the everyday English conversation. In other words, it means nothing. This really should not be.
“Hey, guys! Guess what? So today I went to the mall and there was this super big sale going on at this one store and I got 3 shirts and 1 pair of jeans but I’m not sure if I should have also gotten a jacket which was 30% off…”
“Wow, that’s great!”
“Yeah, and while I was shopping, there were some really cute crewnecks, but those weren’t on sale for some reason. I was really bummed out!”
“I know, right? And then in the next aisle…”
You are bored with this conversation. I am bored with this conversation. The one saying “that’s interesting” is probably bored too. It’s easy to tell. Although when we say something is “interesting” it literally means – “this thing is of interest to me; it is worth considering” – we don’t really mean to say that. A better translation is: “oh, that’s nice. I don’t really care, but I’ll interject this phrase to keep you talking.”
Of course, there are times when the speaker really does take interest in the subject. I’m not disqualifying that possibility. But more often than not, “interesting” manifests as a default exclamation for the uninterested listener.
A sad story indeed, when the conversation between people descends into such apathy and boredom. The relationship formed between people is precious and valuable, and the time spent with someone you know deserves to be treasured as a one-of-a-kind, unique experience. It’s kind of like how people like to travel to new place to see new stuff and learn new things; each person carries a distinct set of experiences and traits to be explored. God created all men equal, and unique, and special – everyone has something interesting to bring to the table.
I have been called by God to love others as He loved me. So has every other believer. At the most basic, human level, this should look like a friendly and encouraging conversation.
Listening to my friend, or that stranger who suddenly wants to talk to me in the McDonald’s line, may be one of the many ways I can demonstrate Christ’s love for His people – “I’m interesting in what you have to say, because, like me, you are also one who was made to be loved by God.” If I approach every small talk and meetup in this way, who knows how far the influence of Christ’s love will reach.