|Stamps of Disapproval (image from here)|
Interesting has two forms of output: "Interesting!" and "Interesting..." - giving rise to a multitude of nuances. Its hidden meanings include:
- I can't think of anything positive; give me a moment to think harder...
- I hate this, but I know you like it.
- I think this is the ugliest thing I've ever seen.
- I wish I could say something nice, because I like you as a person.
- I know there's some redeeming feature lurking in this work; I'll tell you when (if) I find it.
Unfortunately the savvy person is all too aware that "Interesting" means anything but that. What to say instead? The N-word and the L-word are tainted with the same brush as the I-word ... they are mere verbal makeweights in situations where offence is not to be caused ... after all, if someone says your work is Nice or Lovely, how could you take offence - they might be innocent of the layered meanings of these anodyne terms.
What to say instead of "interesting", though? A thesaurus is always useful - here are some useful synonyms -
absorbing, affecting, alluring, amusing, arresting, attractive, beautiful, captivating, charismatic, compelling, curious, delightful, elegant, enchanting, engaging, engrossing, enthralling, entrancing, exceptional, exotic, fascinating, fine, gracious, gripping, impressive, intriguing, inviting, lovely, magnetic, pleasing, pleasurable, prepossessing, provocative, readable, refreshing, riveting, stimulating, stirring, striking, suspicious, thought-provoking, unusual, winning
So we can say, for instance -
"This is provocative work, don't you think?"
"Unusual ... "
"This certainly has a striking effect."
"How thought-provoking - what was your starting point?"
"Fascinating ... this really intrigues me ... what's your reading of it?"
Among these comments is a hidden strategy - get the other person to do the talking - turn the comment, the opinion, into a conversation. Rather than saying what you don't mean.