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Last Updated on August 1, 2017

What Makes a Person Boring

What Makes a Person Boring

I have interviewed over 100 people for a number of positions. It’s always exciting to talk with driven candidates, but sometimes I will admit that I have to fight the urge to yawn during an interview.

The last thing that you want to do at an interview or at a social event is lull your audience to sleep. Regardless of context, when I’m getting to know someone, I want to hear stories about different aspects of the person’s life. I want to know what is happening with them so that I can understand how they face adversity and measure their own success.

Sometimes I walk away from a conversation feeling completely bowled over by a person’s personality and accomplishments. Other times, the interaction has little impact, and I have trouble remembering the individual later. Nobody wants to be the forgettable person at the party or the lackluster job candidate.

You don’t have to go on wild adventures all the time to be interesting

After interviewing so many people, I have a good sense of how monotony manifests itself. If a person is sitting in my office, I already know that he or she is qualified. I need to know more about the human being that did all the things on that CV.

What holds true for the most interesting job candidates also holds true in life. When you meet a new person, are you drawn to someone who lists off accomplishments with no back-story, or are you moved by their unique perspective? You don’t have to go on wild adventures all the time to be interesting, but your attitude about taking on challenges and meeting new people can influence how others perceive you.

People who are willing to work hard to overcome obstacles almost always stand out when compared to people who are always trying to play it safe.

The five yawn-inducing people you don’t want to be

If you want to be a memorable person there are a few things that you should avoid at all costs. Based on my life experience and time as an interviewer, if a person demonstrates any one of these attributes, I am not likely to see out additional interactions with them.

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1. The individual who can’t take social cues.

Unless you have a disorder that affects your ability to interact with others socially, you should have a basic grasp of social cues. People who can’t read a crowd are boring, and they don’t even notice it. They see their audience yawning, shifting in their seats, and glancing at their watches, and it doesn’t register that those people want to leave.

Even the most interesting people slip into a tedious tale once in a while, but if they’re paying attention to others’ reactions, they’ll adjust what they are saying, shorten their story, or rekindle interest.

I knew an individual in college who was terrible at reading her fellow students’ cues. People avoided being around her because she told lengthy stories while disregarding others’ class schedules. She’d continue talking even as her audience inched toward the exit. She was the sweetest person, but because she didn’t pay attention to her peers’ cues that they needed to leave, many people considered her to be boring.

A boring person will drone on until they’ve run out of things to say, which is usually well beyond the point when their audience has tuned out.

    Photo credit: Source

    2. Someone too worried about what other people think.

    It’s natural to want to project a positive image that showcases your confidence and competence, but someone who cares too much about how other people view him or her is bound to be a people-pleaser. People-pleasers come off as boring because their fear of offending others prevents them from expressing themselves.

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    Having no strong opinion about anything is downright dull, and in a work setting, it can lead teams into disastrous situations.[1] If you ask for an opinion and the answer you always get is, “I think that’s great,” “Whatever you think,” or, “That seems okay,” then you can’t grow your idea. The people-pleaser’s input is useless.

    The most interesting people are willing to put forth their opinions–even if their ideas are different from the people around them. Being your authentic self requires vulnerability.[2] You can easily spot the person who wants to avoid making waves because they’ll always defer to your opinion or refuse to state their own.

    When we have meaningful conversations, we can take projects and conversations in exciting new directions. It is possible to be kind and professional while disagreeing with someone. Sharing leads to growth, but pandering leads to stagnation.

      Photo credit: Source

      3. The person with the persistently negative attitude

      This may be my pet peeve. While it is acceptable to complain when something isn’t going well, grumbling should not be a person’s default setting. Constant complaining without working to find a solution is tiresome.[3] Individuals who do this are more invested in expressing their feelings than they are in fixing the problem.

      Whining about problems is easy, but taking action requires effort and change. People who aren’t willing to work to improve their situation are scared to move forward. Complaining allows them to vent, but it keeps them well within their comfort zone. There’s nothing less interesting than watching someone remain trapped by their own negativity.

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      I had an acquaintance who fell into this negativity trap. I tried to help her problem-solve, but she would always reply with, “Oh that will never work,” or “I can’t do that.” It seemed like no matter how many ways I tried to help this person with her growing list of issues, she refused to help herself. Eventually I became frustrated with her unwillingness to work toward a solution, and I stopped interacting with her.

        Photo credit: Source

        4. Everyone is boring other than himself 

        This is a subtle form of narcissism that I’ve seen a number of times during interviews. A whopping 55% of hiring managers agree that seeming disinterested during an interview is grounds for rejection.[4] People who can’t take an interest in others often don’t like new experiences, and they aren’t willing to make connections.

        You may have met this person before. This is the person at the party who doesn’t mind holding court and telling their own stories, but their eyes glaze over whenever anyone else starts to talk. They get bored quickly if the conversation isn’t aimed toward something they like.

        Memorable people work to connect with others, and connecting involves being willing to speak and listen.

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          Photo credit: Source

          5. Someone who put stability as their first priority

          Some people are happy to stay in their bubble and stagnate. They don’t desire change, and they fear new things.

          You’ll catch these people avoid meeting new people or breaking from their routine. They tend to make excuses and say things like, “This is too much for me,” “I don’t think I will like it,” and “I’m good at what I’m doing.” Knowing when to say no is an important part of living a balanced life, but people who refuse every opportunity may be more interested in avoiding fear than leading an exciting existence.

          People who won’t try anything new have created a prison for themselves. Their unwillingness to be exposed to novel situations leads them to a comfortable but mediocre existence. They talk about a few topics all the time, or repeat a handful of stories because there simply isn’t much going on with them.

          Break out of your comfort zone and bamboozle us with your greatness.

          You don’t have to be a social butterfly or a daredevil to be an interesting person, but you do need to be open to what the world has to offer. If you show no interest in anything, and everyone seems boring to you, it might be time to look in the mirror and decide if the world is boring or if you need to make a change.

          There’s no growth in the comfort zone, and no comfort in the growth zone. -Unknown

          Reference

          More by this author

          Brian Lee

          Chief of Product Management at Lifehack

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          Published on July 13, 2018

          Striving Towards Secure Attachment: How to Restructure Your Thoughts

          Striving Towards Secure Attachment: How to Restructure Your Thoughts

          What if you could discover some tools and methods that could improve your relationships? What if by gaining a little knowledge you could understand your relationship dynamics better and give them a boost up?

          By learning what secure attachment is and how to restructure your thoughts, you can become more self-aware of your relationship dynamics. After becoming more aware, you can then take a few steps to make them better than ever. That’s something that many of us could benefit from.

          When we hear the term secure attachment, our mind typically goes to a relationship. And that’s exactly what it’s about.

          In this article I’ll discuss the concept of secure attachments in more detail and how restructuring your thoughts can help you strive towards achieving better relationships.

          Relationships are a hugely important part of our lives and whatever we can do to improve them is a good thing for everyone involved.

          What is attachment theory?

          Let’s do a quick overview of what attachment theory is. This will provide a good foundation for the rest of this article.

          The esteemed psychologist John Bowlby first coined the term attachment theory in the late 60’s. Bowlby studied early childhood conditioning extensively and what he found was very interesting.

          His research showed that when a very young child has a strong attachment to a caregiver, it provides the child with a sense of security and foundation. On the other hand when there isn’t a secure attachment, the child will expend a lot more developmental energy looking for security and stability.

          The child without the secure attachment tends to become more fearful, timid and slow to explore new situations or their environment.

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          When a strong attachment is developed in a child, he or she will be inclined to be more adventurous and seek out new experiences because they feel more secure. They know that whoever is watching out for them will be there if needed.

          Bowlby’s colleague, Mary Ainsworth, took the theory further. She did extensive studies around infant-parent separations and provided a more formal framework for the differing attachment styles.

          How attachment develops

          Simply put, attachment is an emotional bond with another person. Attachment doesn’t have to go both ways, it can be one person feeling attached to another without it being reciprocated. Most of the time, it works between two people to one degree or another.

          Attachment begins at a very young age. Over the history of time, when children were able to maintain a closer proximity to a caregiver that provided for them, a strong attachment was formed.

          The initial thought was that the ability to provide food or nourishment to a child was the primary driver of a strong attachment.

          It was then discovered that the primary drivers of attachment proved to be the parent/caregivers responsiveness to the child as well as the ability to nurture that child in a variety of ways. Things such as support, care, sustenance, and protection are all components of nurturing a child.

          In essence a child forms a strong attachment when they feel that their caregiver is accessible and attentive and there if they need them; that the parent/caregiver will be there for them. If the child does not feel that the caregiver is there to help them when needed, they experience anxiety.

          Different types of attachments

          In children, 4 types of attachment styles have been identified. They are as follows:

          • Secure attachment – This is primarily marked by discomfort or distress when separated from caregivers and joy and security when the caregiver is back around the child. Even though the child initially feels agitated when the caregiver is no longer around, they feel confident they will return. The return of the parent or caregiver is met with positive emotions, the child prefers parents to strangers.
          • Ambivalent attachment – These children become very distressed when the parent or caregiver leaves. They feel they can’t rely on their caregiver for support when the need arises. Even though a child with ambivalent attachment may be agitated or confused when reunited with a parent or caregiver, they will cling to them.
          • Avoidant attachment – These kids typically avoid parents or caregivers. When they have a choice of being with the parent or not, they don’t seem to care one way or the other. Research has shown that this may be the result of neglectful caregivers.
          • Disorganized attachment – These children display a mix of disoriented behavior towards their caregiver. They may want them sometimes and other times they don’t. This is sometimes thought to be linked to inconsistent behavior from the parent or caregiver.

          What attachments mean to adults

          So the big question is how does this affect us in adulthood? Intuitively it makes sense that as a child, if we have someone who will be there when we need them, we feel secure. And on the other end of the spectrum, if we aren’t sure someone’s going to provide what we need when we need it, we may become more anxious and fearful.

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          As an adult, we tend to wind up in one of three primary attachment types based on our childhood experiences. These are secure, avoidant, and anxious. Technically, there is a fourth one, anxious-avoidant, but it is quite a bit less common. They are described as follows:

          • Secure – When you have a secure attachment, you are comfortable displaying interest and affection towards another person but you’re also fine being alone and independent. Secure types are less apt to obsess over a relationship gone sour and handle being rejected easier. Secure types also tend to be better than other types with not starting relationships with people that might not be the best partners. They cut off the relationship quicker when they see things in a potential partner they don’t like. Secure attachment people make up the majority of the attachment types.
          • Anxious – Folks who have an anxious attachment style typically need a lot of reassurance from their partners. They have a much harder time being on their own and single than the other styles and fall into bad relationships more often. The anxious style represent about 20% of the population. It’s been shown that if anxious attachment styles learn how to communicate their needs better and learn to date secure partners, they can move towards the secure attachment style.
          • Avoidant – Avoidant attachment style represents approximately 25% of the population as adults. Avoidants many times have the hardest time in a relationship because they have a difficult time finding satisfaction. In general, they are uncomfortable with close relationships and intimacy and are quite independent. They are the lone wolf type person.
          • Anxious-avoidant – The anxious-avoidant style is relatively rare. It is composed of conflicting styles – they want to be close but at the same time push people away. They do things that push the people they are closest to away. Many times there can be a higher risk of depression or other mental health issues.

          Here’s where it gets really interesting:

          Move towards secure attachment

          The good news is that it is possible to move from one style to another. Specifically, it is possible to move towards a more secure attachment style.

          Now as you might imagine, this is not an easy or a quick process. Like any type of big change where you are attempting to alter such a deeply ingrained mindset, it takes a strong will to accomplish.

          The first step is developing an awareness of your attachment style. The next step is to have the desire and drive to move your attachment style towards the more secure style.

          If someone with an anxious or avoidant style has a long term relationship with a secure type, the anxious or avoidant person can slowly get brought up more towards a secure style.

          The opposite is also true, they could bring the secure person more towards their attachment style. Therefore, you have to be conscious of your type and if you want to move more towards secure, it takes persistence.

          Therapy is an option as well. Anxious types many times need to work on their self-esteem, avoidants on their connection specifically and compassion.

          How to restructure your thoughts

          Ready for the way to do it? Here we go:

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          For the Avoidant Style

          As with any type of change on such a deep level, the first step is awareness. Realize you have an avoidant style and be aware of it as you have interactions with your partner(s).

          Try to work towards a place of mutual support and giving/taking. Try to lessen your need for complete self-reliance. Allow your partner to do some things that make you a little uncomfortable that you would normally do yourself.

          Don’t always focus on the imperfections of your partner. We all have them, remind yourself of that.

          Make yourself a list of the qualities that your partner has that you are thankful for.

          Look for a secure style partner if at all possible, they would be good for you to be with.

          If you have a tendency to end relationships before they go too far, be aware of that and let it develop further.

          Get into the habit of accepting and even instigating physical touch. Tell yourself that it’s good for you to have some intimacy. Intimacy can help you feel safe and secure.

          And over time you can realize that it’s okay to rely on other people.

          For the Anxious Style

          For the anxious style, the #1 thing to work on is learning to communicate needs better. This is a huge issue for the anxious style.

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          First and foremost if you communicate your needs more clearly, you will have less anxiety, that’s already a big win. This will also allow you to better assess if a potential partner is good for you.

          Try to bring your feelings more to the surface and most importantly, share them with your partner. Remember that secure attachments typically communicate pretty well, this is what you are working towards.

          For the Anxious-Avoidant Style

          The anxious-avoidant is a very small percentage of the attachment styles. Since this type tends to be anxious in the relationship AND more or less a loner, the key here is working hard to be very self-aware of your actions.

          Use the parts of striving towards secure attachment from the anxious tips and the avoidant restructuring of your thoughts to consciously work towards being more secure.

          When you find yourself pushing someone away, ask why. If you feel worried that your partner is going to leave you, again, ask yourself where this is coming from. Have they shown you any reason to believe this? Many times there is no real evidence. In that case, allow yourself to calm down and try not to obsess over it.

          For the Secure Style

          Since the goal is to move towards a more secure attachment style, there isn’t much needed here as you might imagine.

          Something to be aware of is being in a relationship just because it’s “okay”. Don’t stay if it’s not a good place for you and your partner. If your partner is of an anxious or avoidant attachment style, stay mindful to not start developing characteristics of those styles.

          Strive towards Secure Attachment

          As we wrap things up, you’ve probably developed a good idea of the benefits of secure attachment. If you don’t currently have a secure attachment style, here are some benefits of restructuring your thoughts more towards this style:

          • Positive self esteem and self image
          • Close and well adjusted relationships
          • Sense of security in self and the world
          • Ability to be independent as well as in relationships
          • Optimistic outlook on life and yourself
          • Strong coping skills and strategies for relationships and life
          • Trust in self and others
          • Close, intimate relationships
          • Strong determination and problem solving skills

          If you are an anxious or avoidant style or the combination of anxious-avoidant, it is possible to move towards a secure attachment style.

          It takes self-awareness, patience and a strong desire to get close to being secure but it can be done. You will find that putting the effort into it will provide you with more open, honest and satisfying relationships.

          Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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