That’s interesting

One of the most overused words is “interesting.” It’s used to make a response to an observation. It’s used to start an observation. It describes something without really saying anything. And yet, I can’t figure out what it means. Is it used to get a running start on a conversation? Is it meant to show that a listener is paying attention?

When I was taking courses at ASU in education. the course focused on listening with a pause before responding. The Juniors at Bourgade found my pauses really annoying at first, But they caught on. I wonder if the word “interesting” doesn’t allow for the pause to listen and instead lays claim to the conversation by saying “that’s interesting.”  How do you trump that? Suddenly it’s not an exchange of ideas between equals, rather, the teeter-totter in conversation becomes a contest as to how to regain the supremecy in the conversation. After a while, the exchange of ideas is littered with “interested” and nothing of worth is shared.

In “The Graduate” Mrs. Robinson tells Benjamin Braddock “isn’t that interesting”. Even then, the sarcasm oozed out of her mouth and yet Benjamin didn’t catch it. He was such a naif! I find myself wanting to automatically use the word. I don’t know what I’m saying. I know I want to maintain some power in the exchange of ideas. If the person I’m conversing with uses it, I get defensive. Now that’s interesting!

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