How can you tell if you’re boring someone to tears in a conversation?
- Maybe you notice them looking everywhere but at you
- Maybe their tone of voice screams “I’d rather be anywhere else right now”
- Maybe they fall asleep on the front of a ship while you’re discussing the cosmos
But are you really boring people in your conversations or just imagining it? How can you tell? And how can you be more engaging and interesting instead?
Here are 7 unexpected boredom-inducing warning signs to look out for in YOUR conversations. If you’re doing one or more of these, it’s very likely people are leaving chats with you wishing they could have those minutes of their life back.
1. Your Life Isn’t Interesting
One reason you may bore others is you aren’t excited about YOUR life.
Are you actively pursuing hobbies, goals and dreams that interest you and give you passion? Or do you go home every day after school or work to play video games, watch TV or surf the web?
Don’t get me wrong, you don’t have to always say interesting things or impress others. But sharing new experiences and passions with people spices up the relationship. Plus, the more you experience in life, the more you’ll be able to relate with others.
So figure out what you’re interested in. Figure out your passions. Then start living them.
2. You Over Think What to Say Next
Do you often try to say the “right thing?” Maybe you worry about offending people or saying something embarrassing?
Look, we all have this hang up to a certain degree, but it’s easy to take too far.
It’s easy to develop a subconscious filter that keeps telling you, “don’t say that, it’s not good enough.” So guess what, you don’t say it. OR you think up 20 different ways to say something before the phrase leaves your mouth.
The result is you end up being quiet, stuffy and boring.
The truth is, you need to lower the bar of what comes out of your mouth. Try more to say what comes to mind first in conversations. This leads to more energetic and spontaneous chats.
3. You’re Cynical and Negative Much of the Time
I’m not going to tell you to be bubbly and positive all the time. Everyone has their worries and frustrations. People who act like they’re always in a good mood make me want to vomit.
On the other hand, if you’re reliably negative and cynical, who the hell wants to be around that? That gets old just as fast.
So if you pride yourself on your “realistic” don’t-get-your-hopes-up view on life, don’t. It’s nothing to be proud of.
Instead, find something to laugh about every day. Do something nice for someone from time to time. Begin to break up that dark cloud.
4. You’re Always Polite, Nice and Proper
Nice guys (and gals) finish last.
At least in the social sense, this is often the case. Because well, it’s boring.
If you’re ALWAYS following “proper social etiquette” and doing what’s expected, you seem less interesting.
Spice it up a bit:
- Be challenging and tease people in a fun joking way
- Curse sometimes if you’re comfortable with it and it’s not totally inappropriate
- Reveal something slightly embarrassing about yourself
I’m not suggesting you be a jerk. But often, shy and socially insecure people try to be “perfect” socially so no one has a reason to criticize them. Yet by acting so bland and predictable, they also achieve the opposite. They don’t give people a reason to notice them.
5. You Talk Too Much or Too Little About Yourself
You’ve probably been assaulted before by the motor mouth who won’t shut up. You know that gets boring so if you’re doing that, stop. Try to listen more.
But the opposite is just as bad for turning people off.
If you don’t reveal anything about yourself, others don’t get to know you. If they don’t get to know you, they won’t form a true connection with you. They might think you’re nice and all, but a deeper friendship just won’t seem interesting.
Bottom line: Let people know who you are. If you don’t, they’ll soon get bored with the relationship and with you.
6. You Lack Good Eye Contact
Eye contact is a huge social stimulant. It emotionally engages the other person on a primal level.
So if you lack eye contact, your interactions are less stimulating (i.e. boring). Which means others discount the interaction and they discount you. In the end, this leads to you getting ignored a lot more.
Not only that, if you lack good eye contact people assume you aren’t really interested in the interaction. So to save their pride, they won’t invest in the interaction either.
7. The Other Person Actually Tells You You’re Boring
For the next month or so, assume the ONLY reliable sign you’re boring is if someone tells you so to your face.
It’s often dangerous to read too much into the actions of others, especially for shy or socially insecure people.
They often assume every “bad” outcome in an interaction is their fault.
- Bob excuses himself from a chat with you so you think you’re boring
- Rachel’s eyes dart around the room as you talk so you think she can’t wait to leave
- A group pays more attention to Evan than to you so you think you just can’t compare
These could be signs that one or more of the above warning signs are holding you back. But often they’re not.
- Maybe Bob just saw a friend he hasn’t met in years and excuses himself to go talk
- Maybe Rachel is expecting her roommate to arrive soon so she’s keeping an eye out
- Maybe Evan just has a greater rapport with the group than you for now
So often, our negative (unrealistic) beliefs about ourselves cause us to create meanings that just aren’t true. In other words, you believe you are boring so your mind finds “evidence” of this even when it doesn’t exist.
Instead, try assuming you are interesting. Then push through the negative signs you think you’re getting from others. Unless they tell you, “this is boring” and walk away, stick in there longer than you normally would.
Many times, you’ll find the other person IS happy to be talking with you. It was just your imagination making things seem worse than they are.
We all want to be interesting so people respect and like us.
But being interesting isn’t always about being wild, zany or “on-cue” funny.
Being interesting is often about being REAL. In my experience, following the tips above is a great start to becoming authentically interesting.
So that not only will people pay more attention to you…they’ll want to stick around for the long haul too.
(image courtesy of Mike Haw via Flickr)