Do you find yourself at social gatherings talking in raptures about a subject you are fascinated in for ages only to have your diatribe interrupted by that tired old excuse of ‘sorry, I just need to grab a drink’?
Have you ever wondered why people find joy in juvenile pursuits like murder mystery dinner parties, spontaneous adventures or dancing lessons?
Does proving a point by sharing a series of internet videos seem like the right way to go about things mid-conversation?
Have you nodded ‘yes’ to at least two of the three questions above?
Then you, my friend, I am sorry to say, are a boring tit.
Attention spans may have lessened over the years, but boring has been here forever. Jane Austen’s characters regularly had to entertain boring tits even back in the day.
Of course, they didn’t have wifi back then so it can’t legitimately be said that the agony of putting up with a bore was a reflection of upbringing or the fault of fickle millennial behaviour.
Having said that, you will find a lot more information online about ‘how to not be bored’ than you will on ‘how not being boring’.
‘Not being bored’ seems to be as much as an anathema in the 2020’s than ‘not being a virgin on your wedding day’ was when the only escape was a sudden case of the vapours.
Turns out, not as many people google search their own boringness as they should. This is probably because most truly boring people suffer from a lack of self-awareness, which is part of what makes them boring in the first place.
But is being boring bad?
Yes. Yes it is.
It means you are not engaging in the world around you. You are focussed only on your own inner dialogue. You are not living in the present; you are relying on old patterns and old information. You are not reading the room, you are not listening, you are not allowing yourself to grow and you are, essentially, withering on the vine.
Being boring means you are limiting yourself, and there is no good reason to do that now is there?
Not being boring doesn’t mean that you have to be the all singing all dancing centre of attention every time you see appear in public. Obviously shy people or introverts hate the idea of having to play act for an audience of one, but no one is suggesting that you need to do something outrageous in order to make others interested in you.
In truth, hyper-extroverted loud mouths can be, and often are, the most boring people on the planet. Blah, blah, blah, me, me, me etc. etc. etc.
A simple way to be less boring is to focus on the other person MORE THAN you focus on yourself.
In order not to be boring, you simply have to ask someone a question about themselves. Everyone wants to feel acknowledged and important, so in order not to be boring, try asking another person about how they feel about something, or what they have been up to lately and then, rather than prepare your counter answer…listen…and ask another question.
When that person asks you a question back, answer truthfully and express pleasure in the question.
“Thank you for asking” is a nice way to set the tone.
Try not to be too negative. Life can be tough, but there is no reason for you to pour water on a human interaction just to prove your point. If you are known as Eeyore behind your back, there is a fine chance you are simply too focussed on the bad to be fun to be near. Yes, bad things do happen and have been happening. If you only live in that dark space, you are missing out on what light might be available to you.
When someone asks you about you, say things like “it’s interesting you that bring up actually because…” and explain why. Interesting people are interested in others. If you have been speaking for more than 3 minutes, stop, and say “I could go on about this for ages, but let me hear more about your thoughts”.
Nod your head, or try and show a positive expression while you are listening. Empathic nodding and body language engages others. Turn and face who is speaking. Look at them while you listen. Psychologists say, turn your feet towards them as a signal of interest. If the topic is horrifying, let them know so that they can see you are engaged. Be real, but display your listening skills in non-verbal ways as well as verbal ones.
Don’t try and dominate the conversation, share. If someone is quiet the whole time, ask them how they feel about the chit-chat. You may be the world’s leading expert on navel lint, unfortunately, however, not everyone is going to share your passion. Let others shine also. Don’t worry, you can bask in the light they bring…inter-action is good that way.
Keep up to date. You don’t need to know the names of the people in a particular K-Pop band, but if you’ve never even heard of K-Pop, pull your head out and go and look online at what is happening outside of your own bubble.
The ‘good old days’ may have been better…but they are OLD…it’s in the name.
Challenge yourself. Set a goal to find out one new thing a week, be it current affairs or a new skill. Even if your challenge for the week was to find out how to tell an old egg from a new one (water and floating) having something to say about what you have been up to is better than “I have learned nothing new because my brain is effectively now made from solid wood”.
Be open minded. You may not agree with everything you see around you, but if you shut out all new things, you may accidently shut out a real gem. Of course, don’t be so open minded that your brain falls out. That will make you appear stupid and gullible and that can be boring too, but at least take a look at something you don’t like and try and understand WHY it offends you.
Boring people tend to be stuck in a rut, use new knowledge to get out of that concrete thinking pattern. If you are asked WHY you don’t like something, you can at least say that you have looked at it openly and still disagree.
Remember, the opposite of being ‘boring’ isn’t being ‘fun’, it’s being ‘interested’.
Note ‘interested’ and not ‘interesting’.
Interested in life, interested in others, interested in being alive.
You don’t want people to say that you were so boring they weren’t even sure you had died, so stop telling yourself things like “I’m too old to do this, to know this, to learn this, it’s too late to change” and stop being a boring tit.