Boring? You? No way. I am talking about the other person. We all know who that is. But just in case it IS you, you may not know it. This is much like being a dead zombie vampire. You may not know it until you look at your gross yet unreflecting self in the mirror. This list is just such a mirror. And it reflects if you really want to see.
Either completely up or down, like an unbalanced see-saw
You are likely talking non-stop like a boss at an office meeting. Or you are quietly listening to the other person without a peep, dying to whip out your phone for a dose of likes. Interesting and interested people pause to either listen or question. There are only two times you listen quietly with full attention. One is when you have paid money to hear a speech, drama or stand-up comedy. The other is when the wife is furious.
Listening and speaking is a fine balance, like standing on the middle of the see-saw at the school playground. Difficult, but not impossible.
That one time at band camp
Boring people often talk of one thing and one thing only, every time. Remember that time when you asked the boss for a raise and GOT IT? Everybody has heard it. Talk about something else. Of course, if two people are talking about the same thing excitedly, they are just mutually interested nerds. This is just like when my friends and I meet and discuss cars. We are cool, interesting and suave. But we are a collective boring group to everyone else. Which is okay because there is power in numbers.
Like, really? Hmm
Your super interesting 17-minute story on your cat's gout surgery will meet a few 'hmms' and 'uhmms'. But if you have nothing to say even when people discuss porn, there is trouble somewhere. You are a bored bore if your responses are limited to two syllables at best.
Interruption could mean one of two things while you are giving your speech on the role of sliced cheese in maintaining social harmony. It is a good interruption if the person wants to know whether the cheese is individually wrapped or not. That shows engagement. He or she is participating in your discussion and you are not the bore. And the answer should be individually wrapped cheese slices because otherwise, they clump together.
It is a terrible interruption if they interrupt to ask about your children. Or worse, bring up a completely different topic like, 'Did you hear that the new boss, known as The Big Cheese, thought my presentation on 'Correlation of Stapler Sizes to Productivity' was insightful?'
Bad news, you are so boring people have to run away from your conversation. Good news, that other person is a bore also. And rude too.
Sitting upright versus lying dead on the floor
Research and personal experience state the more interesting you are, more your listeners sit up straight. Contrarily, if the person you are talking to is slouching, slipping to the floor or has died, you are boring. I remember my university classes where we had an extremely engaging and interesting teacher. She was young, attractive and super smart most likely. Every boy in class was extra attentive, sitting up front, sitting upright as if their spines were fused to a metal beam. We were full of questions for her even when she was not taking a class and trying to have lunch quietly in the lounge. On the other hand, our sociology class, taken by a perpetually tired man who kept sucking a lozenge and wiping his drool, contained students catching up on sleep lost in the other class.
We are all going to die
Well, maybe. Pollution is up, traffic is bad, salaries are low, the Kardashians are pointlessly popular and partial cockroaches have been found in our food. A person talking about a string of negativity pulls in other victims like a magnet. But only for a while. Almost everyone wants to AVOID listening to negativity. They like talking about it but not hearing it.
Try deflecting. 'Sure, the Kardashians are whiny people always losing their clothes. But have you seen the cartoon Regular Show? Totally made with references connecting to children of the 90's. And the characters never lose their clothes for Instagram.' Bring on positivity and hope. We all know most things suck. You on the other hand should not have to.
There is no scoring here, just self-reflection and realisation. Being a bore is not a terminal disease although most sufferers should be put down. It is much like being a mosquito. They never know how annoying their buzz may be till they go splat.
Ehsanur Raza Ronny is a confused dad, all-round car guy, model car builder, and cartoonist. He is also Editor of Shift (automobiles), Bytes (technology), and Next Step(career) of The Daily Star.