10 Ways to Determine If You Are Boring
There are ways to ensure that you remain interesting.
Posted May 15, 2019
We all want to be seen and described in many ways. Perhaps some of us want to be described as interesting. Others want to be described as fun. Many care deeply about being seen as compassionate and caring. Not a single one of us, however, wants to be characterized as boring. We don't enjoy being around people who are dull and uninteresting, so it certainly makes sense that we don't want to be members of that club. Most of you would rather be described as anything but boring. Even irritating and annoying seem to be more desirable than boring. So, why is it that we find boring so undesirable?
Think of it this way: It is very painful to be in the presence of people who are dull and lack energy and enthusiasm. So we, in turn, don't want others to avoid us and leave us out, because we are painful to be around. Boring people are, in fact, quite painful to be with. They contribute very little to the conversation. Or, if they do contribute to the conversation, they are either talking endlessly about themselves or complaining endlessly. They appear to be disengaged verbally and emotionally. They seem to have little ability to laugh at themselves or engage in a witty and humorous manner. They seem to lack passion, interests, and excitement about life.
So, it would probably be beneficial for each and every one of us to take a good hard look at ourselves and ask ourselves if we are boring those around us. We are often guilty of labeling others without thinking about what we may be contributing to the situation. There are a number of questions that we should each reflect on. Answer the following questions, and then we will talk.
1. Do you actively listen when others are speaking to you rather than thinking about how you can make the conversation about yourself?
2. Do you ask questions about a topic that your partner in conversation seems excited about, or do you get distracted easily and perhaps look at your phone or indicate in other ways that you are thinking about something completely unrelated?
3. Do you express excitement about a mutual interest without stealing the conversation?
4. Do you take turns talking about a topic that is interesting to you and to the people who you are talking to?
5. Do you act curious? Are you curious? Do you follow up on threads and ask about stories that the two or three or four of you have spoken about in the past?
6. Do you know your friend's/child's/mother's sweet spot—that is, topics that make them happy, and that they love talking about? Do you go there in conversation?
7. Do you pay attention to social cues so you can figure out if it is time to let the other person talk? Can you tell when you are going on too long with too many details?
8. Do you have a set of stories that you can draw upon to liven up the conversation? Over time, you learn which stories generate interest and enthusiasm.
9. Do you sometimes take risks and share something private about yourself, like what makes you feel anxious, scared, or vulnerable?
10. Do your kids, friends, and co-workers seem to want to be around you?
If you answered yes to most of these questions, then good news: You are probably not boring. If you found yourself struggling with these questions, then perhaps you need to attend to your conversational style. Good luck. It is always important and helpful to do a bit of self-inventory. There is always time and space for course correction.