We all have that one friend who seems to have an endless list of hidden talents. You might catch them moonwalking at a party, lighting a match with one hand, or sharpening a knife with chef-like flair before chopping veggies for Green Goddess salad. Like some sort of uber-cool movie character, they seem to be chock full of suave life skills and fun party tricks, and thus never fail to be all sorts of impressive.
While unusual skills like these can seem near-magical when you watch them in action, often all it takes to pick up random talents is a little time and effort. If you find yourself with a spare moment, simply choose one fun skill to learn, pull up a YouTube video, and commit to practicing until it feels like second nature. Go for the fun party tricks, or focus on one or two that would come in handy in everyday life, like a laundry or cooking hack. What’s more is that these cool skills to learn don’t have to be just useful. Sometimes they’ll keep yourself entertained. Ever solved a Rubik’s cube? Now that’s a talent that will get your friends talking.
Learning something new and starting a hobby also feels really good: a 2017 study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health found that structuring your free time with leisure activities was linked to mental health benefits. That’s not even taking into account the self-esteem boost that comes when you truly impress people at a party with your ability to do the splits.
Below, a few easy-to-learn skills that are sure to impress everyone.
If ever there was a skill you needed in life, it's moonwalking, obviously. Popularized by Michael Jackson, the moonwalk makes anyone look like the best dancer ever, even though all you’re doing is sliding backwards across the floor. Whip it out at your next get-together, and everyone will be all sorts of impressed.
While there are a million and one TikTok dances out there, the shuffle is one that keeps coming back. Learn how to do it once-and-for-all using the video above.
3. Sharpen Knives
The next time you're cooking with an audience and notice the knives are dull, pull out a steel (the thing you sharpen a knife against) and remedy the situation like a pro. Not only will a sharp knife make your slices more efficient, it'll also prove to friends and fam that you’re pretty much a shoe-in for the next season of Top Chef.
4. Chop Food Quickly
Amazed by people who can chop an entire cucumber in .5 seconds? Then follow this essential knife skills guide and you’ll be slicing and dicing like a five-star chef in no time.
5. Whistle With Your Fingers
Get someone's attention or quiet a room with an impressively ear-piercing whistle. As with most skills, it’ll take some practice. But once you get it down, you’ll never forget.
6. Twirl A Pen
Pen twirling is a fun way to pass the time, while also impressing everyone with your casually cool skills. Are you a drummer? Or some kind of magician? Let them wonder.
7. Take Amazing Selfies
We all know how to hold up a phone and snap a selfie. But have you ever wanted to take them to the next level? Get ready to stunt on everyone with your new and improved, perfectly-angled pics.
8. Take Better Pictures
Whether you’re snapping a photo of a friend, landscape, or building, there are ways to finagle the shot to make it look next-level. Think about things like framing and lighting, and even your most casual photos will be worthy of a postcard.
9. Tell Great Stories
Some folks tell stories that captivate the entire room, regardless of the topic. In the video above, you’ll learn their tricks, including how to hook an audience, speak with enthusiasm, and tell stories in a linear way so listeners never feel lost or bored.
10. Magically Fold Shirts
Folding shirts can be an agonizing task, especially if you go about it the old-fashioned way. Check out this video for a magical technique that’ll have you speeding through laundry, while roommates look on in awe.
11. Tie A Tie
Knowing how to tie a necktie can truly save the day, whether you wear one or end up tying it for someone else. Follow this tutorial for some quick tips ‘n tricks.
12. Light A Match With One Hand
Shock everyone with your ability to light a match with one hand before strolling off into the sunset like it was no big deal. All you have to do is bend a match down over the end of a matchbook, flick it with your finger across the striking pad, and voilà. (Side note: Be careful while practicing.)
13. Pick A Lock
Forgot your keys? You can a) wait for the super or the locksmith, or b) pick the lock yourself. It requires a wrench and a paperclip, as well as lots of practice. Get it down, though, and you’ll never be locked out again.
There’s something oddly charming about knowing how to juggle, whether you toss around three tennis balls or a couple of oranges. This video covers all the basics in just 10 minutes.
15. Speed Read
Speed reading can come in clutch whenever you need to go over terms and conditions (you read those, right?), quickly get through a book for class, or simply check more novels off your to-be-read list — all of which are very impressive.
16. Do A Split
It’ll take anywhere from a couple of weeks to a few months to become flexible enough to do a split, so know that going in. It’s also important to start slow, warm-up, and know your limits. But once you get there, there will be no stopping you.
17. Solve A Rubik's Cube
While Rubik’s cubes look intimidating, they're actually not impossible to solve if you understand how they work. Instead of turning the squares and hoping for the best, there’s actually a pattern you need to follow, as well as a few twisting techniques. After some practice, you should be able to solve them in a few seconds, much to the astonishment of everyone nearby.
18. Play The Piano
The next time you're out and about and spot a piano, be the person who can plunk down to play a quick song. It’ll be ridiculously charming.
19. Break An Apple In Half With Your Bare Hands
Why would you want to rip an apple in half, you might ask? Because it looks cool. Simple as that.
20. Say The Alphabet Backwards
It's easier than you think to say the alphabet backwards, especially since it fits into the same sing-songy ABC tune you already know.
21. Flip Food In A Pan
One last food trick, because nothing’s more impressive than kitchen skills, right? In the video above you’ll learn the secret to flipping food in a pan, just like a professional chef. (And yes, you should practice with something like cheeseballs until you get the hang of it.)
Additional reporting by Lauren Grant.
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