How to Avoid Being Boring

If you’re not somebody, you’re nobody. We’ve talked about first impressions and how important they are, but you’re not off the hook after that. You can’t make a great strong first impression and then completely ruin it by being a tool bag the next time you see them, or even worse, by being boring.

A few years back, I noticed a trend that my friends would be reliving stories or moments we all had and they would say to me “were you there?” or even just start telling me the story as if I didn’t remember it. Once it happened more than a few times I figured I needed to vamp up my personality. I wasn’t making a strong enough impression to be memorable. I don’t consider myself a boring person, but I did have trouble standing out in a small group settings. I could stand and speak in front of thousands of people, no problem! But I couldn’t bring myself to lead a conversation in a group of five or six people. Since then, I have worked on cracking my own shell and stepping outside of the box. Here are some ways to not be boring:

  • Enter the conversation. The excuse of “well you guys didn’t include me in the conversation,” is complete crap. Engage yourself in some way. It is not the responsibility of your friends to always make sure you feel “included,” and especially don’t expect them to participate in your pity party afterwards.
  • Don’t stay on your phone the entire time. It’s a natural instinct for us (trust me, I know) to constantly check our phones for email, texts, Facebook updates, etc. The middle of a social gathering is not the time nor the place to be writing on your BFFs Facebook wall. You may think of it as a way to break the awkwardness of being in an unfamiliar group, but they will see it as rude.
  • Bring up an interesting topic. Keep in mind that different things are interesting to different people. Don’t talk about politics to a hippie that has been living in a treehouse for the past five years of their life, they probably don’t care. On another note, they don’t care about your life story either. When you talk about yourself, usually you are the only one who thinks it’s as great as it is. There is a fine line between self-promotion and bragging. The latter is really annoying so don’t do it, you won’t only bore people but you’ll make them hate you.
  • Be charismatic. Don’t let shyness be your downfall. Think of this social setting as the last time you will ever meet these people. What is the last impression of yourself that you would want them to take away from the meeting? You don’t have to act like a crazy person, but be a little outgoing. Crack a joke to ease the tension, or do something that is worth remembering.

These are just some of the things you can do to stand out of a crowd. It’s not that anyone hates a boring person, but they don’t think much of them at all. Don’t hide in the shadows of your personality, because there is bright, energetic, person in there wanting to make itself known.

“Beauty without expression is boring.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

14 thoughts on “How to Avoid Being Boring

  1. “Bring up an interesting topic.”

    I’d love to, but how do I figure out what is interesting to someone I know only slightly or not at all? Generally speaking, politics, religion and personal finances are socially taboo as topics. My husband says many conversations among his friends and acquaintances have to do with work (theirs; no one asks about his), kids (mostly bragging; about their own and not his), tv shows and sports. In my experience, women often talk about husbands (mostly complaints), work, kids and other people (gossip). None of these topics is very interesting to me, unless someone has a truly fascinating job, which is rare. How does one prepare for conversations on these subjects, other than watching the tv shows and sports? Most people don’t watch the same shows/movies or read the same types of books, nor do they want to hear about the latest neuroscience development from one’s issue of Scientific American. When I ask about their hobbies, I get blank looks, and I’m generally not asked about mine. So it would be great if you could expand on this “bring up an interesting topic” recommendation a bit. ;-)

  2. Very solid and succinct advice, Kati. Two points you make that are especially important are: 1) it’s your responsibililty as an individual to enter the conversation, and 2) refrain from using your smart phone while talking with a group of people. I see the latter a lot; it’s a real act of disrespect to those around you. It’s like saying, “You losers are boring, so I’ll multitask by posting on FB.”

    • Thanks Jim. It’s hard in todays society when we are surrounded by all of this social media so we are constantly checking it. But we need to remain focused when we are having in-person interactions.

  3. Sometimes I feel boring too because I enjoy listening to people more than I enjoy talking. I am trying to change this step by step and your post will help me. I liked the picture too.

  4. Well said and true.
    Putting on an earphone and probably listening to music or atleast creating that impression makes it worse. In a social gathering, give all your attention to every conversation and smile. That way, you wouldn’t miss any opportunity to express yourself. Speak out when the chance comes. Paying attention automatically arouses interest.
    Good tips!

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