How to Be More Fun
Byron| January 22nd, 2014
I saw a thread over on reddit the other day where a member posted a simple question: "how to be more fun?" It makes you wonder: is there a strategy you could utilize to actually increase how "fun" you are? Or is it an aspect of your personality you're just born with?
I believe having fun is actually a SKILL - and like any other skill, it takes practice to increase your results. I think most of us have been programmed from a very young age to stop having fun once we get older. When we get our first job, get out into the workforce, and are tasked with the responsibility of providing for ourselves financially, suddenly the whole concept of "having fun" gets pushed aside.
We're taught to be serious, efficient, and productive. Work hard, don't take time off, and keep your nose to the grindstone. Having fun is a luxury we should only experience in our down time or days off - and when we do have fun, it should be relaxing in front of a television set.
Sadly, this is what most of us end up doing as we get older. We forget about taking life lightly and enjoying ourselves and focus more and more on results. If we're at a social event, we're thinking, "Who can I meet to get more sales or lead to a better job offer?" If we're on a date with someone, we're thinking, "What am I going to get out of this?". It's like the moment we graduate college, we're not allowed to celebrate life for what it is - we need to put on our "serious face" and get to work.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm all for being extremely productive and working hard - but that work has got to be balanced with a nice mix of play. So let me give you two simple strategies for doing just that...
STRATEGY 1: PRACTICE IMPROVISATION
If you've never taken an improvisational acting class, I STRONGLY suggest you look into them. They will stretch and pull your imagination in ways you couldn't fathom. In each class, you perform exercises designed to get you thinking on your feet and responding to ideas your partners throw at you.
The golden rule of improvisation is to always say YES to each suggestion. Meaning, if you're acting out a scene with both of you in a restaurant and he says, "You shouldn't have eaten that! You have a peanut allergy!" you can't just flatly say, "No I don't." You must commit to falling over, choking, and reacting in a way that affirms what he just described. You have to say YES to new context as it shows up.
This ability for you to say yes is directly what affects your ability to have fun! If you're willing to improvise and say yes to what gets thrown your way, you will be a far more interesting guy to hang out with.
Let's assume you are at a party and notice you're not really having much fun. Rather than sticking to "serious mode" with small talk that bores most of the people you're talking to, switch to "improv mode." Be willing to change the subject to something a little more off the wall. For example, assume you meet a cute girl and want to get to know her. Rather than asking her the same tired questions - "What do you do? Where do you live? How is your family?" ask her to play a game with you. Ask her to guess what you do for work. Whatever answer she gives you, simply roll with it.
Depending on what type of person you've met, she will either have a lot of fun with the following conversation or she'll prove to be a cold, stiff bore you won't want to spend your time with anyways. If she gives you a look like, "OK this is stupid," just walk away immediately. If she's game, then here's where you can have fun. Let's say she guesses that you're a veterinarian. Tell her, "No way - how did you know? I've been practicing my entire life. Ever since I was four."
Then be willing to make up a story. This is the key idea: it doesn't matter how stupid or random your story is. Whatever you say is going to be FUN and COMPELLING. Want to know why? Because both of you know you're playing a game. She knows you're not really a veterinarian, but she's curious to see how far you're willing to push this idea. So make up ridiculous stuff. Tell her, "Yeah I'm a vet but I absolutely hate animals. Got pushed into the family business at a young age. It was basically slave labor."
Have her ask you questions and continue giving her silly answers. Then flip and challenge her - pick an occupation for her to try on and grill her about what she "does for a living." This idea is risky - and you're going to have to have more confidence pulling it off and you're going to have to be able to think on your feet. But look at it like this: if you're both laughing and having a good time, you've made a far deeper connection than any guy approaching her asking the same tired questions she hears every day.
If you're the kind of guy who has a flat personality type and doesn't really feel comfortable around others, I suggest investing in an improvisation class. It will RADICALLY transform your ability to have fun and think like a kid again.
STRATEGY 2: ACTIVELY LOOK FOR AMUSEMENT
Here's what I mean: you want to spend your time actively looking for areas of interest wherever you are. Put your phone away - stop fumbling with your drink, and start scanning the environment for things that amuse you.
The more you're able to laugh at what surrounds you, the more fun you will be. This is because self-amusement is contagious; the more fun you're having with where you are, the more others will follow suit. People want to feed off of good emotions and they want to spend time with people who experience good emotions more than those who dwell in negative ones.
You must take responsibility for your emotional state. This means if things are not going well for you on a given day, you need to be able to shift and start thinking differently. You must possess the capacity to generate happier emotions in your mind. One of the easiest ways to go about doing this is to find amusement in your environment.
Let me give you an example: let's say you are again at a party and notice a few people goofing off. You think what they're doing is pretty silly - so you allow yourself to find amusement. Then run over and introduce yourself. Say something like, "What's up? I need a picture with you." Then have someone close by snap a shot of you goofing off with them. If they give you a weird look, so what? Find something else and just move on.
Wherever you are, ask yourself, "How can I make this fun? What's funny about what's going on?" If you're not finding anything, it might be time for you to start using your imagination. This means look for ways to play games in your environment. Give the people you're hanging out with social dares. Make someone run up to a complete stranger and behave as if they've known them their entire life. Have another squawk like a bird and speak German to them. Just keep these dares in good spirits; your goal isn't to offend other people. Ideally, you will pull them into your circle of fun and they will want to participate.
Overall, having fun is all about switching your brain to go from logical to creative. It's about ditching the notion of getting a specific result and embracing the idea of just being in the moment. Use these two strategies in future social outings and I guarantee others will see you as a more fun guy.
About Byron Van Pelt
Byron Van Pelt is a Certified Life Coach, entrepreneur, and published author of Unshakable Swagger: The Man's Guide to Being Confident Any Time, Any Place...Period. He is now happily married with his wife, Bethany and lives in Jacksonville, Florida. With over eight years of dedication to the world of high-end personal development, he utilizes an arsenal of skills to accelerate his clients' breakthroughs in business, dating, health, and fulfillment. Byron specializes in teaching men how to explode their level of confidence in everything they do and ensure it resonates in even the most challenging circumstances.