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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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          Last Updated on January 6, 2019

          Why a Life Without Pain Is the Guarantee to True Suffering

          Why a Life Without Pain Is the Guarantee to True Suffering

          No one wants to suffer. As a general rule, people like to avoid hurt and pain as much as possible. As a species, humans want a painless existence so much that scientists make a living trying to create it.

          People can now choose “pain-free” labor for babies, and remedies to cure back pain, headaches, body-pains and even mental pains are a dime a dozen. Beyond medicine, we also work hard to experience little pain even when it comes to loss; often times we believe a breakup won’t hurt as much if we are the ones to call it off.

          But would a world without pain truly be painless? It’s unlikely. In fact, it would probably be painful exactly for that reason.

          If people never experienced hurt, they wouldn’t know what it was. On the surface level, that seems like a blessing, but think for a moment: if we didn’t know pain, how would we know peace? If you don’t know you’ve hurt or been hurt, how would you know that you need to heal? Imagine someone only knowing they have an incurable cancer at the final stage because no obvious symptoms have appeared at early stages.

          Without the feeling of pain, people won’t be aware of dangerous situations—what should or shouldn’t do for survival.

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          Pain Is Our Guardian

          Pain serves to protect human beings from harmful actions. It’s the same reason parents teach babies that fire equals hot, and that hot equals hurt. Should the baby still place its hand in a fire or on a stove, the intense pain remains so memorable, that the child is certain never to repeat that action.

          In the same way, pain within human bodies can serve as a warning that something is not right. Because you know what it is to feel “well,” you know what it is to feel poorly.[1]

          Along with serving as a teacher of what not to do, pain also teaches you what you are made of in terms of what you can handle as an individual.

          While the cliche, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is a tired term, it’s used excessively for a reason: it’s true. Pain helps you learn to cope with life’s inevitable difficulties and sadnesses— to develop the grit it takes to push past hardships and carry on.

          Whether it’s a shattering pain, like the loss of a loved one or a debilitating accident, pain affects everyone differently. But it still affects everyone. Take a breakup as an example, anyone who has experienced it knows it can hurt to the point of feeling physical. Especially the first breakup. At a young age, it feels like the loss of the only love you’ll ever know. As you grow and learn, you realize you’re more resilient with every ended relationship.

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          No Pain, No Happiness

          You only know happiness when you have known pain. While the idea of constant happiness sounds nice, there is little chance it would be. Without the comparison to happiness, there’s no reason to be grateful for it. That is to say, without ever knowing sadness or pain, you would have no reason to be grateful for happiness.

          In reality, there is always something missing, or something unpleasant, but it is only through those realizations that you know to be grateful when you feel you have it all. Read more about why happiness and pain have to exist together: Chasing Happiness Won’t Make You Happy

          In a somewhat counter-intuitive finding, researchers found one of the things that brings about the most happiness is challenge. When people are tested, they experience a greater sense of accomplishment and happiness when they are successful. It is largely for this reason that low-income individuals can often feel happier than those who have a sense of wealth.[2]

          This is a great thing to remember the next time you feel you would be happier if you just had a little more cash.

          Avoiding Pain Leads to More Suffering

          Pain is inevitable, embrace it positively. Anyone who strives to have a painless life is striving for perfectionism; and perfectionism guarantees sadness because nothing will ever be perfect.

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          This isn’t a bleak outlook, but rather a truthful one. The messy moments in life tend to create the best memories and gratitude. Pain often serves as a reminder of lessons learned, much like physical scars on the body.

          Pain will always be painful, but it’s the hurt feelings that help wiser decisions be made.

          Allow Room for the Inevitable

          Learning how to tolerate pain, especially the emotional kind, is a valuable lesson.

          Accepting and feeling pain makes you human. There is no weakness in that. Weakness only comes when you try to blame your own pain on someone else, expecting the blame to alleviate your hurting. There’s a saying,

          “Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting your enemy to die.”

          Think back to the last time you were really angry with someone. Maybe you were hurt because you got laid off from a job. You felt angry and that anger caused so much pain that you could feel it in a physical way. Being angry and blaming your ex boss for that pain didn’t affect him or her in any way; you’re the only one who lost sleep over it.

          The healthier thing to do in a situation like that is acknowledge your pain and the anger along with it. Accept it and explore it in an introspective way. How can you learn and grow? What is at the root of that pain? Are you truly hurting and angry about being laid off, or is the pain more a correlation to you feeling like you failed?

          While uncomfortable, exploring your pain is a way to raise your self-awareness. By understanding more about yourself, you know how to deal with similar situations in the future. You can never expect to be numb to difficult situations, but you will learn to better prepare financially for the loss of a job and be grateful for an income since you now know nothing is promised (no matter how much you work or how deserving you may feel).

          Pain Hurts, but Numbness Would Be Worse

          Pain does not feel good, but the bad feeling of it will help you learn and grow. It makes the sweet moments in life even sweeter and the gratitude more sincere.

          To have a happier and more successful life, you don’t learn from success or accomplishment, but through pain and failures. For it is in those moments that you learn how to do better in the future or at least cope a little more easily.

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          You are the strong person you are today because of the hardships this life has presented to you. While you may have felt out of control when those hard times came, the one thing you will always have control over is how you choose to react to things. The next time you hurt or you’re angry or sad, acknowledge it and allow yourself to ruminate in it. Then take a deep breath and start learning from that pain. You’ve got this!

          Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

          Reference

          [1] University of Calgary: Why is Pain Important?
          [2] Greater Good Magazine: The Importance of Pain

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