About 4-5 years ago, I went on a couple dates with a college professor. She was smart as a whip and in love with her job. I was really into her because I have a ton of respect for anyone who’s found work that they’re passionate about.
The problem was she might’ve been a little too into her work. Work was the only thing on her mind. When she was in the car, she didn’t listen to the radio because she wanted to think about work. Whenever she was on vacation, she was happy she’d have extra time… to do work! From home!
I remember trying to ask her about her hobbies early on. As you could imagine, she didn’t believe in hobbies. “That’s a really western thing, isn’t it?”
My friend back home quipped, “She sounds like a lot of fun.”
Looking back, it’s possible that she did, in fact, think hobbies were a waste of time. But trying to play devil’s advocate here, maybe the problem’s with how people usually talk about hobbies.
For most English learners, hobbies seem like a fun and easy topic to discuss. I like [X]. I don’t like [Y]. My brother likes [A], but I dislike [A].
That’s some perfect, but very simple grammar right there. Your likes and dislikes can be a nice introduction, but a lot of people stop right there– they don’t know how to continue the conversation. It’s like the same problem with dating and pick-up lines.
Continuing a dialogue is exactly the thing I want to teach as a conversation coach, but that sort of practice is better served through booking a session, not a quick blog post.
What I can do, however, is teach how to freshen up your conversation starter. Instead of using “to like” use “to be into”.
For example: I’m (really) into K-Pop.
You can also use it in the negative sense: I’m not into country music.
On top of that, you can use them in combination with like: I like socializing, but I’m not really into big groups.
Remember: using “like” is okay, but not if that’s the only expression you can use.