Many years ago, a relative of mine dated an Ivy-League-educated man, who was friendly and without a whiff of arrogance about his pedigreed credentials.
You might think, with his pleasant demeanor, he’d be easy to engage in conversation.
Yes, if you agreed to hear his long, drawn-out, exhausting stories. Most people scattered, but I remained, listening, listening, and listening as he spoke slow and steady for several minutes.
Why did I stay? Well, I’m a listener for one, and because of my background and training, I developed a stronger-than-most tolerance for differences.
Fast forward several years, my mother and I visited cousins in another part of the country. One cousin married someone who talked fast and with intensity, and always grabbed my attention to share everything about him, him, and him. It didn’t matter if I was a stranger, statue, or corpse, as long as I listened or pretended. This fellow was animated compared to the aforementioned man, but his stories were boring and unmemorable. Later, my impressions were validated by relatives, who rolled their eyes when his name came up, sharing their dislike for this self-absorbed individual.
What’s the result when someone focuses on themselves without self-reflection or an attempt to engage in a more audience-focused manner?
A boring, boring person.
Think about past teachers.
I’ve mentioned one in another article who did nothing to improve his presentation, making a boring subject, physical science, more boring.
How about a boring psychology professor?
How can one make Psychology boring? My first year, a tenured college professor perfected it.
Thank goodness, I’ve experienced lessons about uneasy subjects from dazzling teachers and professors.
They mastered the art of engaging and interacting, often making you feel like they were speaking to you, not at you.
I don’t mean to single out teachers. Many presenters also don’t fine-tune their skills. Years ago, I took part in a speaking event where a participant talked about a past engagement. He related the pivotal occurrence that forced him to reexamine his skills.
It was a hot day, and a man sitting in front, fell asleep. The gentleman sharing this tale, admitted the man began snoring because he was boring. He received a chuckle from us, and I approached him several months later, thanking him for the entertaining moment and for reminding others to pull it together.
Not everyone is able or expected to perform with an A plus when sharing with others, but please, when conversing, consider the issue and recipient.
Do you ever ask, enough about me, what about you?
No matter how boring you might be, that simple but generous act can quell the droning about you.
What else creates yawns? How about the topic?
You might consider me boring. My ability to engage? Maybe, if you don’t like my subject.
Years ago, while our husbands were involved in another activity, I sat with an acquaintance who never initiated conversation. Our spartan exchange led my asking her thoughts about an afterlife. She informed me she didn’t care. When I probed further, asking if she ever wondered. This acquaintance emphasized her lack of interest regarding this specific topic. I dropped it.
Unlike many these days, I love history, all kinds. Right now, I’m watching a series about the rise and fall of the Roman Republic, not the empire. Interested? Many people would roll their eyes, bored by my perceived boring topic.
I like to learn. Yes! As I type, I’m learning more about a certain endeavor that’s taken me by storm. Lifelong learning is one of my hobbies. Some might say, OMG, how boring? What can I say?
If I pique anyone’s curiosity about my lessons, I promise I’d share in a lively manner. I’ve never been accused of being a boring presenter.
No matter how boring I may sound or others who think like me, ask us the last time we were bored.
For me, it was about eighteen years ago when I arrived home early from my practice, uncertain about what to do.
Like my like-minded, lifelong-learning peers, our desire to satiate our perpetual inquisitiveness might bore others, but I’ll speak for us. We’ll never be bored, and I couldn’t be more thankful.
Boring? Maybe. Bored? Never!
Your thoughts? I invite you to share.