STOP!!! If you’re clinically depressed or have Asperger’s, this is not an article for you. You may continue reading or Not. The choice is yours.
Am I Boring? Overcoming the fear of boring other people!
If you’re like me, the last thing you want to do is bore the hell out of everyone around you and lead a life so uninteresting that even you find yourself annoyingly dull.
The problem is you have no idea how to be less boring. So what’s the answer?
Before we dive into the answer, I want to clarify that what you are about to read is based on my personal experience and fears and how I overcame and dealt with them. So, as you read, keep the following in mind.
- Boring is subjective!: What one person finds boring may not be boring to others.
- What makes a person interesting to me may not be interesting to you.
- I’m NOT AN EXPERT on being charismatic, and I’m NOT the life of the party, nor will I ever be.
- I’m constantly trying to reinvent myself, evolve, and emulate characteristics I admire most in others to become a better version of myself.
STORYTIME: Am I boring?- How I let my fear of being boring rob me of fulfilling experiences.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve worried about what others thought of me and struggled with the insecurity that I was dull, boring and uninteresting.
I’m convinced it’s one of the many reasons why I was painfully shy, especially around groups of people.
I know you’re not supposed to care what other people think. But let’s face it, that’s easier said than done, and some of us (myself included) do care.
Sure, everyone has felt shy at one point or another in their life, but I was shy and nervous to the point that It was debilitating.
These fears and insecurities weren’t rational. They had power over me, made me feel inadequate and stopped me from living my life to the fullest simply because I didn’t want to let the world see my boring self.
Are you an empath?
A friend recently suggested that I might be an “empath.” I’m not the kind of person who can read minds. That’s what I thought she meant at first, too.
An empath, according to Dr. Judith Orloff, a pioneer in the field, is someone who absorbs the world’s joys and stresses like “emotional sponges.”
After researching, I think my friend may be right because I’ve always had an unusually high sensitivity to outside stimuli, big personalities, and hectic environments. I also tend to feel things deeply, while others around me could care less.
I also tend to overthink interactions, conversations and behaviours, which leads to worrying about things others might not worry about, including if others find me boring.
Being an empath can have a significant impact on how you perceive and navigate concerns about being boring and worrying about what others think. Here’s how:
If this sounds like you, I highly recommend the book” ‘The Empaths Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People.
Anyways, these feelings controlled my emotions and how I behaved around others. It was exhausting and still is stressful.
- In the past, I often tried to make myself invisible, withdrew from activities and felt anxious in most social settings.
- I had an irrational fear of being observed and evaluated by others.
- In school, I used to dread lunch, and later, when I began working, I felt awkward eating lunch with co-workers.
- It became normal for me to shrink into the background.
- I agonized over what to say in conversations and ended up saying nothing.
- I felt awkward in social settings.
- I was envious of other people, with their fascinating personalities, laughing and having fun, while all I could feel was anxiety and fear.
These struggles and worries left their mark on my life and scarred part of my soul, but they also helped shape who I am today.
I changed the narrative by identifying and facing my fears.
It wasn’t until I was a teenager and moved to Montreal to live with my aunt to attend high school that I made the conscious effort to tackle these worries and insecurities.
I was in a new city, a new school, a new setting, and I didn’t know anyone except my aunt, uncle and cousins. A situation that was scary in and of itself, but at the same time, I saw it as an opportunity to reinvent myself.
I didn’t have a psychologist or self-help books, so I did the only thing I could.
I adopted a “fake it till you make it attitude.”
It’s like that famous quote, “Do one thing every day that scares you.”
My life started to change after that, and some of my fondest memories were during this period when I learned to feel better in my skin. That’s when I first realized and acknowledged that my irrational fears of being boring were controlling my life.
I still feel those fears, and that persistent question of “Why am I so boring?” never goes away; however, I’ve learned to manage them.
My friends today are surprised that I feel shy and insecure inside.
I’m a grown woman now, married with three children.
People who know me have a hard time believing I am shy, feel insecure or worry if others think I’m boring.
I owe it all to one simple thing:
By facing my fears and insecurities, I am facing my bully. Acknowledging its presence, I don’t let it have power over me. I had and still do many things outside of my comfort zone. By doing so, builds courage and helps me achieve personal growth.
I’m still not the life of the party, but that’s OK.
I would love to tell you that I completely overcame my insecurities, but the truth is, I still wonder if I am boring and feel remnants of those old childhood and young adult pangs of shyness. The fear that other people will think I’m a boring person sometimes creeps back into my head, even to this day.
I would love to tell you that I completely overcame my insecurities, but the truth is, I still wonder, ‘Am I boring?‘ I feel remnants of those old childhood and young adult pangs of shyness, and the fear that other people will think I’m a boring person sometimes creeps back into my head, even to this day.
The difference is it’s not debilitating anymore, and I don’t let those fears stop me from experiencing my life or compromise my goals.
You might be interested in reading.
- Dance Like No One Is Watching Instead Of Worrying What People Think
- Why I Was Bored Living in France! How I Beat Expat Boredom
10 Signs You’re A Boring Person And How To Be Less Boring!
Enough about me. I won’t bore you with any more personal details, no pun intended.
The first step in overcoming some of your fears about being a boring person is recognizing that these are irrational fears. You’re not a boring person!
Here are the top 10 things I feared the most and how I conquered these fears.
Maybe they’ll resonate with you too.
1-You Talk Non-Stop About Things That Only Interest You.
I’m not a natural-born chatterbox, and I don’t have the gift of the gab, but I noticed that some of the people I admired most talked a lot, so I tried it—bad Idea.
I ended up droning on and on, talking only for the sake of talking. It was both exhausting and unnatural. I probably bored the other person to death because nothing screams BORING more than being on the receiving end of a one-sided conversation, listening to someone talk non-stop about a subject you couldn’t care less about.
Sign: if you notice you’re doing all the talking and the other person has gone quiet, it might be a sign the other person is not interested or engaged.
Solution: It’s still a work in progress, but I’ve since learned there’s an art to having a mutually beneficial and interesting conversation. Try engaging with the person you’re talking to by asking them questions. Listen to them and genuinely be interested in what they have to say. Read books about being a magnificent storyteller.
Your ability to have interesting and meaningful conversations will not only help develop your people skills; it will improve your life.
Improve your conversations and say goodbye to boring small talk and questions about the weather.some of the topics in this book include: Ways to start a conversation, questions to ask to move a conversation forward and make it interesting,. Discover what's stopping you from saying what you want to say, Conversation starters and more.
2- You’re A Total Downer
If you’ve ever watched Saturday Night Live, you probably know the character “Debbie Downer.”
“Debbie Downer” was a killjoy, dampening the mood in social settings by excessively sharing unsolicited sad and depressing remarks in every situation.
We’ve all been there, and that’s OK, but it gets problematic if you’re a chronic downer. I’m not talking about people who suffer from depression, although it can feel that way sometimes.
I never considered myself a downer until I met someone who was and saw a little of myself in this other person. It was painful to listen to this person’s negative self-talk, and I didn’t always know how to respond because I was dealing with my own struggles.
I wasn’t a downer about life, but I often made overly self-deprecating remarks about my flaws in social situations, which I disguised as humour.
“Don’t look at my face; I look like a blowfish.”
I think making someone laugh was a self-defence mechanism to admit to a flaw and make light of it through laughter before someone else could notice or say something.
Sign: You always see the negative or have a ‘glass half full’ attitude. You may not even see yourself as a downer but call yourself a realist, but still wonder, ‘Am I boring?
Examples of depressing conversation killers
- “Oh, you earned your bachelor’s degree? I wish I finished my degree; I can’t get a job.”
- “I’m taking my driver’s test next week. I know I won’t pass the test.”
- “You bought a new house? Oh my, real estate is such a bad investment.”
- “Jack and Jill just got married. I give it 2 years before they get a divorce.”
Solution: Sometimes, life can get you down, but when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.
Make a conscious effort to see the silver lining in every situation, whether it’s a lesson to be learned or something that could positively impact the future.
3- You’re Really Uptight And Painfully Serious
Fun people like to laugh, tell jokes and let loose once in a while, the total opposite of an uptight person.
After my children were born, I started to become a rigid person who could never relax.
All I could see were problems everywhere. They consumed me and oozed into other parts of my life. It made me a not-so-fun person to be around.
Sign: An uptight person is RIGID, controlling and worried about PROTOCOL. They look around, and all they see are problems and trouble instead of relaxing and having fun.
Solution: Resist your urge to be overbearing and controlling or judgy. Pick and choose your battle and let loose once in a while. Laugh at yourself once in a while. You’ll know you’re having fun when you laugh and don’t care who sees you.
4-Your A Chronic Complainer
Complaining about everything is a little bit like being uptight. No one wants to be around someone who complains about everything.
I’ve been on both the giving and receiving end.
When I was on the receiving end, I realized that it’s hard to remain upbeat, motivated and positive amid a constant stream of complaints. All I wanted to do was get the hell out of there. There’s no joy in being around someone like this because you feel like you have to walk on eggshells around them.
Solution: Chronic complainers feel the world has given them the short end of the straw. They’re just responding” appropriately” to the world and aggravating circumstances.
If someone tells you that you complain and criticize too much, you may disagree with that person. Many chronic complainers don’t see themselves as negative, even though this is how everyone perceives them.
Listen, take a step back and examine your motives for complaining. There is usually another underlying reason or desire underneath all the criticizing and complaining. As you notice what you’re feeling, take action and do something about it.
- She’s so ugly.“Is it the validation you need?
- You never spend any time with me! Is it a shared connection or more shared time you’re seeking with that other person?
- “Stop walking on the grass; you’re crushing it.” Do you feel the need to control or feel things are out of your control?
- “Our manager is terrible at …”: Are you too afraid to directly deal with a problem about an ongoing issue, so you feel the need to vent?
5-You Rarely Try New Things or Travel To New Places
Fun people tend to get out there in life and do things.
Without life experiences, what do we talk about?
By putting yourself out there, you have the added benefit of having more experiences outside of work and your daily routine, which means you might have more to discuss.
“Life without adventure would be deadly dull.”
Sir Robert Baden-Powell, founder and first Chief Scout of the worldwide Boy Scout
Sign: Not everyone has the time, money or inclination to get out there and suck the marrow out of life.
When my boys were young, money was tight, and I barely had enough time to do the bare essentials: work, care for my children, cook and clean. When I did have the time, I didn’t have the money and couldn’t afford to pay for a sitter. To say that it was hard for me to get out there, try new things and have a life is an understatement.
Looking back, I should have tried harder or made more time to do things outside my routine. I always had an excuse.
Solution: Make time, even if only once in a blue moon, to do something out of the ordinary — anything, big or small.
- Tackle something on your bucket list (even if it’s as small as reading a book)
- Go to the museum or a local art gallery.
- Check out a new ethnic restaurant.
- Go to the gym, start knitting, and teach yourself to code.
- Travel to new places.
6- You Never Ever Smile
People used to constantly ask me, “Is everything OK, Annie? You look upset or angry!”
I had this permanent furrowed look as if I was concentrating on solving some impossible problem. In reality, it was probably my anxiety showing through, and then it just became my face in its natural state. I had to work hard on my facial expressions.
Sign: I picture scowling faces and furrowed eyebrows when I think of a dull and grumpy person. Which one are you? All Smiles or all frowny?
Solution: When I think about fun or happy people in my life, I picture them smiling, laughing, and just being jovial. The simple act of smiling can not only lift the spirits of another person but also your own. Smiling is also contagious. The next time you make eye contact with someone, smile at them and see what happens. I once had someone stop to “thank me” for smiling at them. Try it; it works.
Multi-Colored Quotes. Be The Reason Someone Smiles Today
7- You’re Super Predictable and Never Spontaneous
I love seeing life through my children’s eyes because, like most kids, they are naturally curious and seek new experiences.
It’s also fun to be around adults with these qualities.
Sign: Here are some examples of some ways you can be predictable.
- Everything you do has to be planned to the “T.” (I’m a big planner, but I have a spontaneous side now, too.)
- You always take the practical, safe route in life. (The key is balance. Take risks, wear a sexy dress, go to a rave, and try something outside your comfort zone.)
- You say NO more than you say YES.
Solution: If you’re stuck in a rut or dissatisfied with certain aspects of your life, try being more spontaneous. Mix things up a bit. Sometimes, I force myself to get out and do something new, even when I don’t feel like it. I’m always glad I did in the end. There’s something satisfying about getting out there and trying new things, even If they’re outside your comfort zone.
Start right now. Go and find something new to do and say “YES” more often to new opportunities. Stop planning everything. It’s hard, I know.
You might be interested in reading
8- You Work All The Time
I’m all for working hard, and I do work a lot, but if that’s all you do, your family and friends might disown you.
Sign: When you make work your life’s purpose, you’re almost guaranteed to become a boring person. I used to be so hung up on climbing the corporate ladder. It consumed me and my life. Who wants to hang out with someone who enjoys working more than they like laughing and having fun? I still work hard, but now I try to play just as hard.
Solution: Have a better work-life balance and spend more time outside work. I’m not talking about vegging out in front of the T.V. like some tired, overworked couch potato. I’m talking about living your life to the fullest and doing all those things you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t. Don’t let work define who you are. Unless, of course, you’re lucky enough to have a job that is also your passion. I imagine artists and athletes might be in this category.
9-You have No Hobbies Or Passions
I love reading, drawing in Photoshop and Illustrator, yoga, learning the Ukelele, crafts and DIY. I look forward to these things, which I think make me more interesting to others, especially those who share my interests. It gives us common things to talk about and bond over.
Sign: You don’t go out much. You have no drive to do anything beyond working, eating and sleeping.
Solution: Get a hobby, get out there and meet other people who enjoy that same hobby.
When you’re passionate about a subject, sport, hobby or pastime, it becomes part of who you are. It can give you purpose and make you feel more fulfilled. Certain hobbies also benefit from putting you in contact with other people who share the same passion as you- sailing, golfing, knitting club, mine-craft group, cooking and even board games.
10-You’re A loner or boring Hermit
There’s a certain stigma to being a loner.
Even so, I’ve always preferred solitude over social situations; it’s what feels comfortable.
I’m pretty comfortable with being a loner up to a certain point, mainly because spending time in my own company has helped me understand many things about myself.
Unfortunately, the long-lasting psychological effects of living like a loner are feeling lonely or isolated at times. There’s a reason why solitary confinement in prisons is a punishment. We are social beings.
In 2015, researchers from Brigham Young University looked at multiple studies on loneliness and isolation involving several hundred thousand people. They found that social isolation resulted in a 50 percent increase in premature death and increased stress and cortisol levels.
Health reasons aside, I found that when I feel lonely and isolated, it affects my mood and personality in social settings.
I never know what to talk about, and I often feel awkward and out of practice in social situations, which only adds to my anxiety and makes me question if I’m boring the other person. Am I boring?”
Being a loner is not bad; however, being a loner may not be by choice if it causes you to feel lonely and isolated, if it leads to self-doubt and the nagging question, “Why am I so boring.”
Ask yourself this:
- a) Are you a loner by choice, someone who happily prefers the comfort of their own company over social interactions?
- b) Or are you a forced loner: Someone who identifies as a loner but feels isolated and lonely?
If you’re a happy loner who never feels lonely or isolated, and it never affects your mood in social situations, good for you.
If you’re a loner who feels lonely and isolated, The solution for me, at least, is not so much forcing myself to get out into more social situations; it’s choosing the right activities and people that motivate me to do it.
More often than not, when I force myself to get out and socialize, I always feel glad after the fact. I don’t necessarily like every social situation, but throughout the years, I’ve found that there are certain social situations that I would do again, while others give me anxiety. But even those situations that give me anxiety become less stressful with more practice.
I still consider myself a loner and prefer the company of myself and my family, but I’ve struck a balance by choosing which social interactions bring me the most joy. I’ve found that I have more confidence and more to talk about when I don’t feel lonely and depressed.
Just take baby steps:
The next time you find yourself wondering, “Why am I so boring,” remember that everyone has something special to offer, and you are no exception, so don’t be afraid to express them.
Start small and try doing something new. If you need inspiration, check out my list of 101 inspiring adventure quotes.
Before you know it, people will call you “THE FUN ONE.”