Are You Boring People To Death At Parties?

Illustration for article titled Are You Boring People To Death At Parties?

Gretchen Rubin of Psychology Today is determined to help you avoid boring people to death by coming up with "Eight Tips to Know If You're Being Boring" as well as a list of 7 always-boring topics to avoid.


Rubin is careful to note that her list is "utterly unscientific" and based her own observations and behaviors, so there is an obvious slant in her article as far as what constitutes a boring conversation. She says that she thinks she's boring people when she notices that they shift their posture or quickly change the topic: "If you're talking to someone about, say, the life of Winston Churchill (I have a tendency to dwell at length on this particular subject), and all of a sudden the other person says, "So how are your kids?", it's a sign that he or she isn't very interested or perhaps not listening at all," she writes.

But Rubin's first two signs on her list, "Repeated, perfunctory responses" and "Simple questions" ironically strike me more as reactions from people who have read similar pieces on how not to appear boring at a party by presenting themselves as engaged listeners; asking questions, seeming extremely interested in what the other person has to say, etc. It's a bit funny to me that Rubin views these reactions as signs that she's boring her guests, when in reality, her guests might be reacting in such a way in order to not appear dull and boring to Rubin.

I guess the point is that nobody wants to be the awkward, dull person at a party. Nor does anyone want to be the blabbermouth who puts everyone to sleep with their self-involved stories. Rubin suggests avoiding topics such as dreams, "recent changes in your child's nap schedule," and movie plots, as those tend to be conversation killers, but I'm sure you guys could come up with a few more to add to the list. How do you know when you're boring people? And what topics should be banned from all party settings, for the sake of everyone involved? Feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments.

Eight Tips To Know If You're Being Boring [Psychology Today]
How To Tell If You Are Being Boring [BoingBoing]



Ultimately I just think we have to reconcile ourselves to the fact that conversations are boring to people not participating in them. I have overheard so many talks between people, where they are both really interested, and I just think how boring it is. Or when I am speaking with someone but not really participating because I have nothing to really say on the subject or they are monopolizing.

If all parties are into it you could be talking about the mating habits of fleas and it will not be boring. I have different people I talk about my animals in detail with, about improving eating habits and working out, about the specifics of what I cooked last night, about politics, etc. As long as the other person is contributing themselves I could care less if it is boring to someone else.