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Why am I boring?
April 10, 2008 3:07 PM   Subscribe

Why am i boring?

Sometimes it's just because of the self-confidence/esteem that I don't feel like putting energy into replies and conversation. Other times, I just don't know what it is. Is it me?

You'd think after all the self-help books, all the antidepressants, something would be clicking by now.

Here's just an example. There's MANY I can draw from. 10 mins ago, my mom just told me that one of my sister's friends just got engaged to a guy she knew for 2 months. I've met the girl numerous times, but she's only 17. I had like 2 sentences to reply to what she said, clearly wanting to make a little conversation with me. I basically just paraphrased what she said, that's it. Like my reply was alright, but it was like a robot was saying it. Extrapolate this example to dates, my friends, etc and you get the picture. I hate it.

I mean, when I look in the mirror I like what I see physically. Yet, it seems inside I'm still just half-awake these days. I've been trying (not to a great success you might argue) to beat through it... going to school... doing some hw... trying to stay positive, but the routine is boring. It gets pretty damn frustrating, I know I seem to whine a lot on this board. Probably because it'd drive my friends nuts, lol. It's just so hard to be happy/believe in yourself when inside it's like "why bother talking? why bother doing this activity"?

I conclude I am useless.

-Travis
posted by isoman2kx to Society & Culture (36 answers total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
 
If self help books and anti-depressants aren't working, I recommend you exercise daily for half an hour, and start a long term project that you care about.

Who cares if you're boring? Some people like an audience, and quiet people who are good listeners are great for this. Don't believe the literary/film ideals about people who are supposedly like you. Just live your life so you get the most out of it, and forget about how you're percieved, seriously.

But, yeah, exercise and start something really big. Learn to animate, play guitar, run a marathon. Don't wait for someone or something to bring your life to you. Don't concentrate on how you feel so much. Do something!
posted by b33j at 3:11 PM on April 10, 2008 [5 favorites]


Ill second the exercise thing... And the point about just living.

Who cares what others think, they are not living your life for you. You are. You only get one shot at this (afaik), so do whatever makes you happy.
posted by subaruwrx at 3:13 PM on April 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


You're depressed, I reckon. There are all kinds of ways to treat depression described in previous answers to questions. The question you wrote sounds depressed and, yes, boring. And vague. You can't be bothered. That's depression.
posted by cincinnatus c at 3:16 PM on April 10, 2008


What are you excited about? Try talking about that instead of forcing yourself to talk about things you're not interested in. Even if it's something most people aren't familiar with, they won't find your enthusiastic talk about it boring.

Sounding like you're not boring when you are forced to talk about something you don't care about is a lot harder, but start with just talking about stuff you like.
posted by ignignokt at 3:20 PM on April 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Think about all the things the bore you. Are these things, in and of themselves, boring? No, you merely find them boring.

Now apply that to yourself. Are you, in and of yourself, boring? Probably not. It's the experiencer of boredom who lacks the interest, not the thing itself which lacks interesting characteristics.

I propose that you are, in fact, interesting. I've met a hundred and four gojillion people and only two of them were boring. (You're not from Wisconsin, are you?)

Here's what to do:

1) Find people who find you interesting.

This usually takes a while. But you've found us. We're interested enough to try to answer your question. So that's a start.
posted by stubby phillips at 3:34 PM on April 10, 2008 [3 favorites]


It's amazing how little other people pay attention to our perceived lameness. They may not think you are boring at all - but it sounds like you are definitely bored. Many people that you genuinely like are going to bore the living daylights out of you often. It's hard to find common ground with everyone. I've just learned to sound interested, but relatively non-commital, and just hope for the subject to die. If the other person is truly interested, they will keep the conversation going, and you need only to stand there and "mmmhmm" a few times and they are happy.

You need to find something you are interested in. I agree with the answers above - find something YOU like to do and you will not only not be bored, but you run less of a chance of being boring.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 3:39 PM on April 10, 2008


I second what everyone said here.

Therapy!

Exercise!

More protein!

Find new friends!

Find new projects!

And you are interesting! Just depressed.

And you are definitely NOT useless. The fact that you care says a lot. It says that you want to be productive and happy and useful. Go grab a good therapist, take a run, eat foods low in sodium, high in anti-oxidents and protein, go to a music performance or an art show and teach yourself photography or cartwheels.
posted by cachondeo45 at 3:41 PM on April 10, 2008


Oh and check out your antidepressant dosage with your doctor. It doesn't seem to be working.
posted by b33j at 3:43 PM on April 10, 2008


I know I seem to whine a lot on this board.

What does this mean? This is the first thing you've posted here, as far as I can tell.

The short answer is, this feeling (bored, boring, empty) comes and goes. I think everyone has times like this; I certainly have. It will go away when you find yourself in a new situation, or with new people, or in love, etc. You can take steps to make it go away faster -- therapy to figure out if it's capital-d Depression or if it's just the usualy blues/ennui; exercise; trying new things or making an effort to meet different people than you're hanging around with now; try to find a way you can help other people (volunteering somewhere, maybe) to get out of your own head a bit; go out to music shows, get into a sport, start making digital movies or taking pictures, etc. Really, the only way is to take charge of your own interests, and take steps like this to find things that interest you.
posted by LobsterMitten at 3:53 PM on April 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Do you ever talk about yourself or do you assume you don't have anything interesting to say? If you're just paraphrasing what other people say in conversations it might be because you don't believe that your experiences or opinions are important enough to share.

In my experience self help books are fine if you have a vague dissatisfaction with life but not so helpful as your only means of support if you feel more seriously depressed. Lots of replies have mentioned therapy and if that's possible for you I think it would be something worth considering. It seems to me that you are not a boring person but for some reason you are holding back in coversations, possibly stemming from low self esteem. A good therapist will be able to help you explore why you feel that way and help you look for solutions to it.
posted by Laura_J at 4:03 PM on April 10, 2008


I'm going through a lot of similar junk right now -- and that's just what it is. Junk. Please remember that you, just as you are, have value and are interesting.
posted by runningwithscissors at 4:04 PM on April 10, 2008


If you want to bore other people less, then work on taking a genuine interest in things they are interested in.

If you want to bore yourself less, then do something new.

Everybody is useless. We'll all be dead soon. Get over it.
posted by 1 at 4:09 PM on April 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


Usually when people say things like *I'm boring* - it means that their inner landscape is bleak, not unlike a desert terrain. In these cases, it will take a very wise *therapist* indeed to suggest to you to enrich your inner life and fill your spiritual reservoirs with giving of yourself to another , less fortunate being than yourself from an altruistic stance. I.e. you start volunteering, helping, being of service to someone in need.

The trick here is leave yourself alone and stop indulging the inner nag, critic, voice that is harping on what's wrong and for you to get back the power and make some big decisions and steer the wheel towards the Bigger Picture that does not reside within. When you do this it will be like a magical transformation where for every good deed you do - a new flower is planted in the desert landscape, a well, trees, birds, mountains - and soon your desert starts looking and feeling like the most exciting place on earth. And that will make you irresistible to others, and you will never, ever have to look outside of yourself for approval of others for esteem because you will have enough for you and to share - like a beautiful charismatic light that attracts and appeals. You will then embody the polar opposite of *boring*. You will be a leader, a hero and one who is beloved to all. The more you fixate on yourself and your woes the more you separate yourself from that hero you.
posted by watercarrier at 4:14 PM on April 10, 2008 [7 favorites]


You dont need anything. Youre an introvert. Maybe youre looking for more interesting pursuits than just making small-talk. Small-talk is just a skill you develop to make social interactions less awkward and as a way to get to know someone.

Do you feel like you just have a lack of energy? Have some tea or coffee.

If you think youre not an introvert then you should decide whether you are depressed and what you can do about that.
posted by damn dirty ape at 4:26 PM on April 10, 2008


"The only people I find boring are those who are themselves bored." Don't remember who said it.

Be. Curious.

What you need (and most of us need more of) is to get outside of yourself. Allowing your curiosity to blossom will help that a great deal.
posted by trinity8-director at 4:28 PM on April 10, 2008


Small-talk is just a skill you develop to make social interactions less awkward and as a way to get to know someone.

Yes...I am reminded (at least with respect to the issue of small talk) of a quote from pride and prejudice:

``I certainly have not the talent which some people possess,'' said Darcy, ``of conversing easily with those I have never seen before. I cannot catch their tone of conversation, or appear interested in their concerns, as I often see done.''

``My fingers,'' said Elizabeth, ``do not move over this instrument in the masterly manner which I see so many women's do. They have not the same force or rapidity, and do not produce the same expression. But then I have always supposed it to be my own fault -- because I would not take the trouble of practising. It is not that I do not believe my fingers as capable as any other woman's of superior execution.''


(of course, Darcy has his own riposte to this.)
posted by advil at 4:44 PM on April 10, 2008


Q: Why am I boring?
A: Because you are bored.
posted by DarlingBri at 4:58 PM on April 10, 2008


I many times feel the same way. And what trinity said.

It's my haughtiness.
posted by wafaa at 4:59 PM on April 10, 2008


Wow. This is my first time posting here. Thanks for all the replies everyone. To those who have replied so far.

It's one thing to think your way out of something like this, what do you do when physically you feel tired or down? You can only think your way out of so much right?
posted by isoman2kx at 5:03 PM on April 10, 2008


Baby steps. You might not feel like going for that walk, but commit to half-a-block, and you'll find yourself wanting to go for more.
posted by wafaa at 5:17 PM on April 10, 2008


In my experience with this kind of thing--and I have some--a walk, or a bike ride, or whatever, can paradoxically give me energy. I have come to rely on it.
posted by everichon at 5:37 PM on April 10, 2008


Everybody is useless. We'll all be dead soon. Get over it.

1, you sound depressed. Get over it!

nthing the physical exercise, but how about starting to mentally exercise yourself out of the rut?

Get those boring and unhelpful thoughts out of your head by starting a journal. Don't think about what you are going to write, just write whatever comes into your head. Force yourself to keep writing until you've done three pages. Don't bother reading over what you've written. Do this every day, preferably first thing in the morning . Eventually you'll get bored of being bored and move on to something new. It's a goofy exercise but I've found it helpful, it stops your head going round in circles. Or try meditation.

Apparently I've turned into a new age hippy, but good luck anyway.
posted by mooza at 5:43 PM on April 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


You're definitely depressed. It's not the end. I'm on antidepressants and that shit still happens occassionally.

Depression is just a symptom. The problem is self-worth. I'm not going to tell you get over it or think good thoughts or not to care what anyone thinks about you. That's bullshit advice. You know it is. If you're not a moron, you can't just convince yourself that you're worth something. You have to prove it to yourself.

That's why you take on a project. It doesn't matter what it is. Exercise is great. Try it. But work on another project along with the exercise. That other project can't be too easy. You have to struggle a little with the project -- but not too much struggling. Overcoming is what makes you feel worthy. That's a human thing.

And if you find yourself not making any progress, it's time for some meds. We're not all equal. Some of us absolutely need the extra pharma help.
posted by muzzlecough at 6:21 PM on April 10, 2008


Seconding trinity8. The way I've heard it was:

"Be interested, and you will become interesting."
posted by ceribus peribus at 6:49 PM on April 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


I don't think I am boring, but then, I don't fucking care if I am, because I have too many things to do. And because I have so much to do, I am never bored. (Unless I am at work and unable to do the things I want to do.) If you have lots to do you won't be bored, and you won't care what anyone else thinks. Which is the way it ought to be.

What do you do?
I don't know, but I do it every day.
Why do you do it?
I don't know, but I know I do it anyway.
I do what I do, indeed I do.
I do what I do every day (indeed I do).
I do what I do; I am what I am; We are what we are; we do what we can.


--Bonzo Dog Band
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 7:10 PM on April 10, 2008 [2 favorites]


Could the antidepressants be making you feel tired and such? I know on college I was on some that made me feel kind of slow and dumb...maybe switch the prescription?
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 7:21 PM on April 10, 2008


If you want to learn to make interesting conversation, a good first step is to listen to conversational/comedy talk radio. Find someone who is charismatic/funny and who you like. You might try Adam Carolla, Opie and Anthony, Keith and the Girl, and so on. These people have a job because they're interesting. After listening for a while, you'll intuitively pick up on how they manage to make good conversation, ask interesting questions, say witty things, and so on.
posted by lunchbox at 7:44 PM on April 10, 2008


Do you ever feel: happy, sad, excited, anxious, nervous, thrilled, giddy, exhausted, amused, embarrassed, suprised, shocked---in other words anything? Do you desire anything? Seems to me like you brought up that little conversation with your mom for a reason, like part of your brain was saying "I'm supposed to *feel* something here...but I don't...why?" And probably it will take some determination on your part to get this straightened out. Boringitis can probably be a caused by lot of different things, but you should considering talk to a both a doctor and a therapist about it.

Oh, and you might want to listen to this NPR this american life show about someone who lost their testosterone and became very blah about everything. Of course not saying that's the problem, but maybe you can relate and it's nicely done. Start at about 4:45, and the relevant part at 8:50. It's really interesting, if nothing else.
posted by Eringatang at 8:41 PM on April 10, 2008


You might not be depressed. You just might find it annoying that so many conversations are really pointless. Quite often I will hear someone make a comment and think to myself, why on earth would they give life to such an inane thought by announcing it out loud? I let those go... sometimes I do talk about the weather though. To tell the truth I can be an annoying gossipy prick at times I'm sure.

As for feeling physically depressed, yeah, diet, exercise and sleep works for me. Sounds like you need to find something to do though.... play the banjo, dig for fossils in China, i don't know, that's your business.

Don't be jealous and don't try and be like other people just to fit in. Go find yourself. /pedagogy
posted by Tixylix at 11:32 PM on April 10, 2008


Sounds to me like you're an introvert, as mentioned above, and there's nothing wrong with that.

Personality aside, however, you need to find something that you love, and then do it. Doesn't matter what it is - working with the homeless, base jumping, copious hours in the library - it can be almost anything.

I'm convinced that most of us are capable of this and yet decide not to. Once you do it, though, you'll never turn back.
posted by allkindsoftime at 1:27 AM on April 11, 2008


A few thoughts:

People seem overly willing and indeed eager to tell other people that they're 'depressed'. Some people are indeed depressed, but don't just jump on this and run with it. Like 'closure', it's become a buzzword that people toss around without really thinking about it.

We're all indoctrinated from birth to believe that life should always be exciting, and that we should always be excited. Try this: watch a couple of nature shows on TV. How much happens in an hour? Now go out and sit in the woods for a day. How much happens? We're all artificially hyped up as a means of maximizing our consumption and activity, and thus perceive the world as it naturally is as 'boring'.

If doing something, getting out, or interacting with other people makes you feel better, then by all means do it. But also ask yourself, not only 'why am I boring?' but also 'why am I bored?', 'what is boredom?', and most importantly, 'what's wrong with it?'

"Boredom is important in meditation practice; it increases the psychological sophistication of the practitioners. They begin to appreciate boredom and they develop their sophistication until the boredom begins to become cool boredom, like a mountain river. It flows and flows and flows, methodically and repetitiously, but it is very cooling, very refreshing. Mountains never get tired of being mountains and waterfalls never get tired of being waterfalls. Because of their patience we begin to appreciate them."

- Chogyam Trungpa, From "Boredom" in THE MYTH OF FREEDOM AND THE WAY OF MEDITATION, pages 70 to 71.
posted by arcadia at 2:37 AM on April 11, 2008


"...like a robot..." "...just half-awake..." Meditation can be a huge help with this kind of experience. As arcadia's quote suggests, it's boring sometimes, but it changes the way you relate to the boredom, and frees you from it. Also, if you develop a steady meditation routine, there are practices which will directly encourage greater "presence" in your daily life. If there are any Buddhist centers near you, you might talk to one of the teachers there about what's happening.
posted by Coventry at 7:32 AM on April 11, 2008


Be your genuine self. Your "trying-so-hard" persona isn't working. More than trying to be interesting, be interested in other people - they like that. I'm always drawn to people who have a passion for something, so develop your interests. i'll bet you aren't boring, just trying too hard.
posted by theora55 at 7:40 AM on April 11, 2008


Life, friends, is boring. We must not say so.
After all, the sky flashes, the great sea yearns,
we ourselves flash and yearn,
and moreover my mother told me as a boy
(repeatingly) "Ever to confess you're bored
means you have no

Inner Resources." I conclude now I have no
inner resources, because I am heavy bored.


--John Berryman, from Dream Song 14

That's what I think of when I get heavy bored - the existential-crisis, nothing-is-cool, capital-B Boredom that just makes you want to stare at the wall for hours on end, which sounds like what you have, and I do think you feel boring because you are bored. The thing is, though, we do have Inner Resources. Berryman had them after all, otherwise he wouldn't have written the above. You've got them, otherwise you wouldn't be looking to become un-bored and un-boring.

I agree that this is most likely a symptom of depression, and whatever you are on doesn't seem to be working. The tiredness you mention is definitely a symptom. (I know I'm depressed when I'm walking down the sidewalk and I just want to curl in a ball amidst the debris and pigeon poop and not move.)

A lot of the advice above is spot on, and if you search previous AskMes for "depression" you will find a lot of other wonderful advice. Therapy and medication and eating better can take a while to take root, so in the meantime: go do something interesting RIGHT NOW. Turn off your computer and take a walk, or listen to a CD you haven't heard in several months, or get a book from the library. These might not sound particularly thrilling, but in my experience if you put something new in your system for you to think about, or something you haven't thought about in a long time, no matter how small, tends to have an immediate effect.
posted by Metroid Baby at 9:24 AM on April 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


If you give me $2,500 I will hire a skywriting jet in Los Angeles in the summer on a sunday to write "I'm Bored" in the sky. I will make a video of it and send you a DVD.
posted by xod at 12:11 PM on April 11, 2008


more pragmatically than the good advice offered above:

if you find you dont have anything to say when someone tells you something, instead ask a followup question. "that's awesome, tell me more!" is also a good one.
posted by softlord at 4:48 PM on April 11, 2008 [1 favorite]


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