It is rare for someone to go through life without running into someone who is dull – but to figure out if you are the boring one!

Nothing is worse than being stuck in a meeting, at a dinner, or in a car with someone who is dull and boring. They can’t help it, but they can make the best topics tiresome and miserable.  But what if you discovered you are the boring one?  At some point, lack of energy, mind somewhere else, and other things can make one temporarily dull. But it is being dull in the long term which is painful for you and others.  Here is how to figure out if you are boring.

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The University of Essex in the UK published a paper on traits of dull people. Published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, it covered personal traits and the dullest hobbies (top ones – watching TV, bird watching and smoking). Most people (53%) have 1-4 close friends, (38%) say they have five or more. Some 8% say they have no close friends. You can help not only friendships but family and partner relationships but following this advice.

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Listening Skills

Boring people are poor conversationalists, and poor conversationalists tend to be the worst listeners. Communication is as much about talking as it is about being silent and listening to what the other person is saying. An engaging conversation isn’t one filled with the funniest jokes and the most interesting stories, it’s one where there is an exchange of ideas and conversations. Discover a curious streak and you will learn and time will become more interesting.  Ask relevant questions and let those in the know express themselves.

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Practice patience

Conversations are not competitions, rather it is a way to learn and engage with others. Basic “your turn, my turn” conversation etiquette is taught from a young age. It is no surprise some people have no self-control and allow themselves to take over conversations without giving the others a chance to speak. Work on controlling impulses and push yourself to listen to others.

On the flip side, if your problem is too shy and have a hard time opening up, try to practice and to find ways of making yourself more accessible and of speaking your mind.  Practice with family or friends making conversation, read information and explore things which of interest.

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Pay attention

Keep an eye out for people’s body languages whenever you’re talking. If they look distracted, are avoiding eye contact and keep on trying to change the subject then you are probably acting very annoying and boring. Train yourself to pick up on these hints and social cues and try to avoid overstaying your conversational welcome. It is ok to move on, sometimes it is you, sometimes it is them…but being aware can shorten a tough situation.

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Build boundaries

Balance is one of the most important parts of conversations but it’s also pretty hard to define. Vulnerability is needed for a meaningful exchange, but too much of it and it’s kind of disastrous. Think about what you are talking about on consistent basis.

Complaining about how awful your life is and how unfair your job will not gain you any friends, even if this is a common behavior. Always aim for sincerity and get to know your audience; don’t tell a stranger your deepest and darkest secrets.

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