The Benefits of Being Interested

By Kathy Ferguson Litton

Deep down we may wrestle thinking that we need to seem interesting, fascinating or charming in our interaction with people. Not true. In fact, “be interested” may be an indictor of a true leader. And be infinitely more magnetic socially.

Push the reset button. For those who get paralyzed by small talk these are your marching orders. “Be interested” could be freeing.

Here are five benefits to being interested:

Being interested helps us meet people.

Have you ever longed to be more charming, witty or glib as you interacted with the myriad of new faces ministry life throws your way?

Being INTERESTED is the powerhouse feature of small talk.

Asking genuinely caring questions will leave your new acquaintance feeling more cared for and you armed with info far more than just a new name. Dig beneath the surface and ask follow-up questions.

Listening comes first because people are worth knowing and because real conversation is impossible without it. Joe Thorn

Where do you live? Why did you choose that neighborhood? What makes the schools stronger there?

Being interested helps us transition to new communities.

Demonstrating interest in your new home’s history, culture and rhythms will help you plant your life more quickly. (Hanging on to the old ways of the old zip code won’t.) What do the locals eat? Who are their teams? Embracing new food, new teams and new geography will help you become one of “them”. So you’ve never skied or hiked and you live in Colorado—embrace what your new community affords. If you have never navigated that busy subway, ask a local to give you a tutorial.

What is the best day hike in Boulder? Where can I buy the best shrimp on Gulf Coast? Where are kid-friendly events in Brooklyn?

Being interested helps us learn how to serve and lead.

No one ever appreciates leader who arrives to new place with solutions in hand. Listen before you lead. Asking questions and being a learner is imperative in building influence. Being interested in the past, the current needs and cultural undertones allows us an informed perspective. Be interested in the past victories and past disappointments in a church or community.

Tell me how God moved when the church relocated. How did Love Helps get started giving food away?

Being interested is honoring to unfamiliar cultures and nationalities.

Unsure how to connect with new neighbor from Delhi, Ghana or Bangkok? Ask them about the favorite native meals, or about their religious practices. Find out what they love to do for fun. Honor their culture by asking.

Tell me what your favorite holiday dish is. Can you find the spices you need? That fabric is beautiful, where do you get it?

Being interested is a bridge to connect with anyone.

Beside you on a flight, in line at the grocery store or new lab partner in that night class is someone you can connect with. Don’t know where to start? Just be interested. See where it goes.

“Is that a good book? How are you going to cook those lamb chops? Do you like those running shoes? Tell me why.

Be interested, genuinely so.

You may find a new friend, uncover a need you can serve, see a heartache or just brighten someone’s day.

Published April 25, 2014

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Kathy Ferguson Litton

Kathy lives in Mobile, Alabama, with her husband Ed, pastor of Redemption Church. Both lost former spouses in car accidents, and God uniquely gave them new love and life together in 2009. Kathy enjoyed 26 years of life and ministry alongside Rick Ferguson. She has three children and ten grandchildren. Presently she serves as Director of Planting Spouse Development.