Interesting is such an interesting word. In our family it has several different connotations. Let me give you some examples.
So I’m chatting with WJJ and I say, “I’ve got a great idea. Let’s go to Italy for a month”.
Or, “You know I’d love to go to Montana in winter and rent a gorgeous ranch with a full staff and a fireplace and horses.”
Or, “I am really considering cutting my hair really short.”
Or, “I think I’ll try doing Boot Camp for a while.”
I can assure you that if I said any of the above, WJJ would answer, ”That’s interesting”. What that simply means is he thinks it is a dumb idea. Over the years, he has gotten smart enough to realize that telling me it’s stupid got him NOWHERE. So he has adopted the “That’s interesting” way of telling me he hates the idea.
Jamie uses the “That’s interesting” technique when it comes to people making specific statements. For example, when someone says something that Jamie knows is completely incorrect and has not a modicum of accuracy, then he will say, “That’s interesting”. Of course, like his Father he will also say “That’s interesting” if he has no intention of considering an idea or concept.
If Jamie thinks the idea I has some merit, he will say, “Well I don’t hate that idea.” But don’t get too excited! That usually means that there is only one slight part of the idea that he is entertaining. Example: If Cheryl says, “Jamie, how about going on a family trip to Paris this summer?” Jamie will respond, “Well Cheryl, I don’t hate that idea.” While Cheryl is busy online researching the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, and Montmartre, Jamie is making plans to go on a family trip to Six Flags Magic Mountain. What Jamie means by “I don’t hate that idea” is – “I like the idea of a family trip but Paris is out.”
I use “That’s interesting” almost exclusively when I am talking about business. And usually it is when someone has introduced a concept that is either dead wrong or really whacky. Rather than say, “What are you talking about?” or “where did you get that silly idea?” I simply say, “That’s interesting.” I’ll usually add, “Please share with me how you developed that concept.” Then it gets really interesting.
Moving on to Cheryl. When she says, “That’s interesting”, she actually means “That’s interesting”. She wants to hear more. Unlike the rest of us, she uses the term honestly. What a concept. Example: If I said, “I really would like to go to Italy” Cheryl would respond, “Oh how interesting–how exciting! Tell me all about your plans.” Poor Cheryl, she doesn’t understand that WJJ is going to kibosh the idea anyway, so there’s no reason to chat about it.
Last but not least, Niccie. Jamie and Cheryl have done an amazing job raising Niccie. She is very smart, kind and polite. So when Niccie is reading a book or even telling a story and I interject with one of my life experience anecdotes, Niccie will pause, smile, and say “Tutu That’s interesting” with what appears to be a great deal of sincerity. I’ve realized what Niccie’s “That’s interesting” means is…. “Tutu, you are my Grandmother and I love you so I have to listen.”
Well, welcome to the James/Jamitkowski Family and all our little nuances. While we are far from perfect, we certainly are “interesting” –whatever that means!