Forget about delusions of grandeur — turns out many of us could be suffering from delusions of being interesting.
A new paper, “Boring People: Stereotype Characteristics, Interpersonal Attributions, and Social Reactions,” set about identifying what makes a person boring, and the results are pretty harsh.
Led by the University of Essex’s Wijnand Van Tilburg, researchers asked more than 500 people to rank the most boring characteristics, hobbies and jobs in other people. Here are some of the top results of those surveys. (Prepare to be offended.)
Boring personality traits:
No sense of humor
Actively disliking things
Banking and finance
What’s so bad about being boring?
While no one wants to see people stifling yawns whenever they start to speak, the study suggests that being boring can have a bigger negative impact on our lives than we think. Study subjects admitted to regarding boring people as a burden that they would rather avoid than suffer through in social and business settings. “Our research shows that people who possess stereotypically boring features are perceived as both less interpersonally warm and less competent, and they elicit social avoidance by others,” write the researchers.
How to not be boring
Does this mean you are doomed if you are an accountant who isn’t good at small talk and likes to knit on the weekends? Of course not. Psychology Today suggests these methods to keep yourself off the dull list:
1. Don’t complain to other people.
Friends are interested to know if something serious is happening in your life, but no one wants to hear you go on and on about a delayed flight.
2. Don’t talk about yourself — ask people questions about their lives.
And don’t just ask one question, follow up to get deeper. This isn’t being nosey, it is being interested.
3. Don’t be afraid to change the topic of conversation, even if it seems random.
People tend to perceive this as rude, but it is a surefire way to keep a conversation crackling.
4. Be present when someone is talking (i.e. don’t grunt while checking your phone).
Body language is just as important as what you say to show that you are engaged.
5. Told a story that got a good laugh? Remember and retell it at your next gathering.
Like a standup comedian, have a couple of reliable stories to fall back on. (Note: only do this if you’re not hanging out with the same people!)
Now, go forth and be the riveting friend and colleague you’re almost certain you are.
By Dan Bova for Entrepreneur.com©
Source: Scientists Have Determined What Makes You Boring to Other People (chron.com)
Also, check out tutoringyou.org “Conversation Starters” for easy small-talk ideas.