What’s The Difference Between A Hobby And An Interest?

There are twenty-four hours in a day. We dedicate a few of those to sleep and some to work, but we define ourselves by the remaining few hours.

Our interests and hobbies are active expressions of our personalities, allowing us to experiment and discover ourselves through the things we love.

However, there is a difference between a hobby and interest, and both play a considerable role in our happiness.

Whether you're writing a resume, trying to find what piques your curiosity, or just in the market for a fun way to spend your time, it's good to be aware of the difference.

We’ve pulled together some examples of special interests and hobbies to both illustrate the difference between them and spark your creativity.

Hobbies vs. Interests 

These two words are often used interchangeably, despite significant differences in their definitions.

To avoid this mistake, you need to understand where they overlap and where they diverge.

When filling out a job application or writing your resume, you may be asked to list your special interests.

You might love knitting scarves or perfecting your sourdough starter, but these would be your hobbies rather than the encompassing interests that lead you to them.

Similarly, an interest in Eighties disco music doesn’t always translate into DJing weddings on the side. 

To illustrate the difference, imagine two large circles. These are your interests. Sprouting off of each circle are a few other smaller circles.

Some of these little circles might be connected to more than one big interest circle. These are your hobbies, born out of your interests and leading you to new ones.

Are Interests and Hobbies the Same Thing? 

The short answer is no. Hobbies and interests are two different expressions of your curiosities, coping mechanisms, and dreams.

An interest can certainly develop into a hobby, while a hobby can expose you to new interests, but each word defines a different action. Your interests are the things that make peak your curiosity, making you want to learn more.

An interest could be anything from fashion to astrophysics. Every person has a wide array of interests that have developed over the course of their lives. However, not every one of those interests develops into a hobby.

A hobby is an activity that you regularly enjoy. While passions and hobbies can develop into careers or be monetized, you typically engage in them in your downtime.

The goal is usually self-fulfillment rather than necessity or for personal gain. While our interests can overlap with our work, hobbies might be vastly different in nature from our careers. 

Here are some other key differences:

  • Hobbies require active participation, while you can passively find an interest in something. 
  • Interests motivate. For example, your work, the television shows you watch, and the books you read are all affected by your interests. 
  • Hobbies are what you’re motivated to do. They are set in motion by excitement and love for a particular subject matter or activity.
  • Hobbies are pursued pleasure. This is not necessarily the case with interests. 

Hobby Examples 

Hobbies have the power to change your life, not only by providing an outlet for self-expression but by exposing us to new people and worlds to explore.

Certain factors, like money and accessibility, can significantly impact how we spend our time.

So, no wonder we feel so disappointed if we never finish that painting or have yet to master the perfect Crème Brûlée. 

Hobbies, although pleasurable and exciting, often require substantial investment. These are meaningful and precious nuggets of our lives that are often trivialized.

When your time is so valuable, finding the perfect hobby can feel like a lot of pressure.

So, how do you go about your search?

Knowing your interests is a great starting point, but a willingness to discover new interests is just as important.

Turn up the volume on your curiosity and tune into what piques your interest.

Ask your friends about their unique hobbies, how they got started, and take inspiration from their path.

Here are some examples to get you started:

  • Making a collage
  • Writing short stories
  • Learning calligraphy and lettering 
  • Collaborating on a Zine
  • Learning photography
  • Rock climbing and bouldering 
  • Making YouTube videos about local wildlife
  • Playing the piano
  • Participating in live-action role-playing games 
  • Hosting parties

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Interest Examples 

Our interests are vast and varied, intersecting all platforms. There is more information at our fingertips right now than ever before in the history of humankind, more than we could absorb in a lifetime.

Slowing down to follow your curiosity down a trail can be one of the most fruitful human experiences. The world is full of wonders and oddities that are inspiring and remarkable.

Some interests demand our attention, while others can start a lifetime conversation. 

You may not have had the time to pursue your interests, or you may be wondering to yourself, “What are my interests and hobbies?” When our life moves at a faster pace, it becomes more difficult to make time for the things that appeal to us.

We have to put them aside for our responsibilities. It’s essential to carve out time for yourself and pursue the subjects that open your mind and bring new possibilities.

Here are a few examples of interests to pursue: 

  • Murder Mystery Podcasts
  • Philosophy 
  • Fashion History 
  • Traveling
  • Environmentalism
  • Sports Journalism 
  • Social Justice 
  • Impressionism 
  • Improv/Stand Up Comedy 
  • Sci-Fi Movies 

Now you know the difference between interests and hobbies.

There is a distinct difference between what is considered an interest versus a hobby; however, these two subjects often intersect.

Whether you are searching for new adventures or looking to spice up your resume, knowing how hobbies and interests inform each other will help you on your mission.

Although starting a new hobby can be an investment, new opportunities for growth come when you stretch yourself. Pursuing your interests can bring you to new worlds, boost your confidence, and strengthen your mind. 

You love doing something in your free time and learning new things. Is it a hobby or an interest? Read this post to find out the difference between these two.