If You Display These 10 Traits, You Might Be a Boring Person
Boring is as boring does. If you need to up the ante on your scintillation skills, these tips from experts will help.
Are you as boring as you think you are?
If you’re looking for ways to feel more excited or exciting, here are some productive boredom-busters you can try, right now. “Being boring is relative to the company you keep, and the perceptions you have of yourself. I can’t tell you how many clients I have who think they are boring, and yet the evidence doesn’t support it,” says Joshua Klapow, PhD, a clinical psychologist, and host of The Web radio show. Dr. Klapow believes that the most important question you should ask yourself is, do you think you are boring? If the answer is yes, then you need to literally list out what it would look like if you were not boring. What would you do? How would you speak? How would you interact? This exercise becomes your road map for making change. Once you have written this down, ask yourself how realistic it will be to achieve what is on the list. You now have a way to start making small changes in your life, that are consistent with your desires.
You’re with the wrong crowd
If your conversation starters are known to empty out rooms, it may not be what you’re saying, but who you’re saying it to, that causes the boredom epidemic surrounding you. An easy fix? Find your interest tribe—two or more people, who share the same fascinations, be it gourmet food, comic books, or politics—and hang with them at least some of the time.
If you’re a physics nerd, you may love to expound endlessly about the study of matter, space, and time. A fashionista? If so, you probably expound endlessly about hemlines, fabrics, and the differences between kitten heels, and stilettos. These topics, so fascinating to you, may bore those around you to death—unless, of course, you’re talking to members of your interest tribe. You will feel (and be) less boring if you find, and hang, with people whose interests mirror your own. Here are 37 conversation starters that will instantly make you more interesting to the people around you.
You talk too much
Zipping it is one of the easiest fixes for boorish behavior. People enjoying speaking with those who are interested in what they have to say. For this reason, it makes sense to listen more, and talk less. That way, you can ask thoughtful questions and have one-on-one conversations that engage other people. “Think about your audience. What would be of interest to them?” asks corporate coach, Anna Rappaport, JD, PCC, who specializes in coaching attorneys. Rappaport recommends noticing when people’s eyes are wandering or glazing over, and adjusting to a new topic, or ending the conversation, rather than droning on and on. Talking too much is often a backhanded sign of social awkwardness.
You’re in a rut
The most interesting people are those who are interested in the world around them. The more experiences you have, the more you will have to talk about. “If you’re worried that you are boring, try something new, like visiting one of the 16 most beautiful spots in the world. New experiences are energizing, and thought provoking. They also give you something new to share with others,” recommends Rappaport.
Droning is dull
Nothing is more boring than monotony, and that doesn’t only pertain to conversation topics. Monotonous people often display little-to-no changes in facial expression or tone of voice. They may not make eye contact readily, use verbal fillers, such as “uh huh” too much, and tend not to show enthusiasm. “Social reciprocity includes showing interest in other people, by making eye contact, nodding your head, and responding with appropriate facial expressions, such as a smile, frown, or laugh. Show some emotion in response to what is being talked about, just don’t go overboard,” suggests licensed clinical psychologist, Jodi J. De Luca, PhD. Dr. De Luca recommends practicing. “Video yourself while practicing is a great way to start. You can follow-up with a second opinion from a trustworthy friend,” she adds. Here are some tips for saving an awkward conversation.
You don’t read
It’s more than just a cliché—reading opens up new worlds for the reader. The more you read, the more you have to talk about. First, make sure you’ve read the 14 books everyone should know. Then try reading the latest best seller, a fascinating autobiography, the daily newspaper, or a highly-rated magazine, provides you with conversation starters, as well as knowledge. “Reading a quality book, provides fuel for better conversations,” says Rappaport. Just don’t fall into the trap of soliloquizing about what you’re reading. You’re not out to impress other people with your literary skills but rather, to have a back-and-forth, meaningful conversation with them. No need to break the bank, buying books. Here are seven ways to read books for free online.
You’re stuck in your comfort zone
“Boring people are complacent people, eager to accept rote over risk. Being a bore is a manifestation of living only within one’s comfort zone. For many, it is a byproduct of fear, and self-imposed boundaries,” says transitional life strategist, Randi Levin. Levin suggests getting out of that rut by changing your habits. “Ask yourself, what would you do if there were no obstacles involved? Make a list of all the things you would do, if fear or excuses, were not a part of the equation. Circle and rank the top three things on that list. Now commit to doing some small part of all of them today. If you would like to take a trip, commit to researching locations. If you always wanted to learn to do something, sign up for a class. Keep leaning into the small aspects of the three things you are committing to,” she recommends.
You’ve lost your sense of wonder
It’s easy to become cynical, or jaded, over time. Life can be disappointing, or ho-hum, and you may have forgotten what it feels like to approach things with a new, and open perspective. This can make you incredibly bored, as well as incredibly boring. To combat this all-too-common problem, Levin recommends developing a beginner’s mindset. “Loving to learn is a lifelong gift. Begin today to challenge yourself to learn something new, (such as a hobby—here’s how to find the right one for you), each and every day. Go online, volunteer, interact with as many people as possible. The more curious you are about the world around you, the more interesting you naturally become,” she says.
You’re too focused on your problems
Everyone benefits from having a confidant, or shoulder to cry on. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that everyone in your life can supply that shoulder. “Don’t talk with other people endlessly about your problems. If you know this might be a weakness you have, try to make a rule for yourself of limiting these types of conversations to ten minutes, max, or by not talking with the same person about that topic more than once,” suggests Rappaport. If you do find yourself talking about the stuff life has thrown at you more than you should, at least balance it out by asking the person you’re talking to, about their lives, and troubles. Misery loves company a lot more than boring does. (Here are some other annoying speaking habits you might have.)
You never put your phone down
It’s not cool, and impresses no one—and you aren’t going to miss anything by keeping that boring conversation-killer in your purse or pocket. If you never get off your phone, even to focus on the person you’re with, you are going to bore them silly. (Here’s how you can tell if you’re downright addicted to your cell phone.) Pay attention to who you are with, and what you are doing, in real time. The text parade and Facebook kitten videos can wait until you’re in the cab going home.