Are you a boring person?

Wondering whether we are boring is probably something we worry about at times, because others don’t usually give us feedback about being bored in our presence. So it’s hard to know.

We do know when we are bored however, and that may give us some clues as to whether we are boring others. Are we a boring person too?

None of us want to be boring, and there are reasons why some of us are boring.

We may not be able to help it.

If you are extremely shy you may be perceived as being boring, or perhaps even “stuck up”. A shy person will show many of the signs that a boring person does, except he or she can’t help it.

You could have Social Phobia (Social Anxiety)

If you have social phobia (extreme shyness), if you freeze and go silent in conversations, then perhaps you should think about getting some professional help for this. Anxiety is a major factor here and needs to be worked on.

Usually a very shy person will be mentally talking to themselves in a very negative and unhelpful way. For example they might be telling themselves something like: “I’m not interesting, others are bored with me and don’t want to talk to me. I feel terrible and I want to get out of here before I get any more embarrassed”. Social Anxiety is treatable, and fixing it will give you a new lease on life. See a good psychologist.

Others may be plain rude and not include you

There’s nothing worse than being shy and being excluded by others who think they are the most fascinating people on the planet. They ignore many quiet people and move on to find other people they think they can impress. They will pass you over without a second thought, and you may not be boring at all.

But let’s say you are boring, what’s a bore like?

There are many ways of being boring. Some are more obvious than others.

For example, you may not have anything much to say, or on the other hand, you may talk all the time about nothing; just talking for the sake of talking. (This can also be a sign of anxiety, so get help)

Researcher Mark Leary on boring styles

Mark Leary, a social psychologist studied the topic of boring people and noted that it wasn’t just what boring people said, but how they said it. For example they could be lacking in enthusiasm for a subject, have little or no eye contact (this is disconcerting for other people), talk all the time about trivial stuff, or talk about themselves all the time.

Then there are the people who talk very slowly and ponderously, and whose replies drag out the conversation while people wait for the point to come out. It’s tedious and boring.

Passive people tend to be boring

Passive people don’t seem to have any passion or opinions about anything, so they can appear to be boring to others. If you are a passive person try to be more pro-active in your life. There are some tips below about getting some spice into your life.

Then there are the distractors whose behaviour can seriously interfere with, and hijack the flow of a conversation. Their minds are not focused, and they hop from topic to topic in a haphazard way, confusing everybody. This is also boring.

Some people just have to have exciting and fascinating people around them

You may not be particularly boring, but there are people who have to have buzz around them in order to be happy. They could be standing in a group pontificating about life and at the same time they are gazing around the room for someone else more interesting to appear. They seem to be listening to you but they are actually listening to a conversation in the next group.

They will suddenly dump you and join into the other conversation showing that they have not been listening to you at all. This doesn’t mean that you are boring, it’s just their personality. They seem hollow, and just going through the motions of conversation, saying “uh huh” but not really following. These people would not see themselves as boring, but their conversational style is very predictable because they either don’t listen, or only half-listen to conversations.

More boring styles

People can be seen as boring if they are super serious, or on the flip side, if they put on a big show trying to be funny or entertaining. This entertaining style can wear thin after a while, as there is nothing of value added to a conversation, it’s all fun, fun, joke, joke, and it’s all about them.

So how not to be boring

Mark Leary noticed that those people who talked about their thoughts and feelings were seen to be more interesting. Boring people did not do this. They just talked about themselves or trivial matters or were not interested in others.

Interesting people also gave more information, and contributed more to the conversation. Leary also noticed that those who were identified as “boring” were not perceived as likeable, and were seen as less popular, less friendly and as having less valuable qualities than other non-boring people.

What you need to do and be to avoid boring others

According to the website “Science of People” there are six ways not to be boring.

As a fairly boring person myself I would find some of these ways rather difficult. These behaviours don’t come naturally, and that’s why if you think you are boring others you have to work hard to make changes.

The first step is to be aware that you need to change.

Here goes:

You must create excitement and emotion in a conversation!

Try and be interested in others, even if you think that you are the most interesting creature on the planet. Ask them what they are doing, and what interests them.

Make them feel important. In other words, be well-mannered, and value their opinions, and time, and their feelings. They could then see you as attractive, so it’s a win-win situation.

Really get into their way of thinking; ask about their ideas and why they think this or that way. Try and get to know them.

Give them your total attention, face them and have good eye contact. Research shows that if your toes are facing the other person it gives them the feeling that you are totally involved in the conversation. If you turn away from the other person then it may appear that you are not interested in them.

Non-verbal cues account for 60% of an interaction.

A recommendation was made to give a triple nod just after they have finished talking. I found this a little artificial, and like a whole lot of politicians nodding when their leader talks, but try it anyway.

General tips

  • Don’t do all the talking, especially about yourself. Engage the other person, and
  • Don’t whinge and complain, people don’t like this. Notice if you see everyone running to the other side of the room when you come in.

Try and be positive. Don’t say no to everything all the time.

On the other side of the coin, you don’t want to be infected by the negativity of others, so limit your time spent with other whingers.

Smile!

Not so much as to look inane, but a smile is engaging and friendly, and encourages others to want to meet you and engage with you.

Don’t be super predictable

Being predictable is pretty boring.

Do something different with your life

Get yourself a hobby, meet other interesting people, and give up the hermit cave. You’ll have something different and engaging to talk about rather than your bad cold or the nappies that need washing, or the slow traffic on the way to work.

Don’t be a workaholic, do something else apart from working all the time. Find something different and interesting to do. Putting some variety in your life will give you something more lively to talk about apart from your work.

There’s no need to be boring – Create non-boring habits!

Doing some work on your boring style will work in your favour. You will become a more interesting person, feel happier, and you will find others more friendly and welcoming to you.

© kr.crawford 2018