Mind

Joanita Wibowo

How to tell if you have a boring personality

How to tell if you have a boring personality

Nobody wants to be trapped in a boring conversation. However, if you keep finding yourself having tedious interactions with the people around you, it might be time to look within.

Afraid that you might secretly be a bore? Psychologist Barbara Greenberg prepared a set of ten questions that can help you see how you come across to those around you. There are also hints and tips for you to reflect on – it’s never too late for course correction.

Here are some of the emerging themes from Greenberg’s questionnaire.

Curiosity

One of the most common mistakes in social interaction, Greenberg said, is to disengage from the other person. This could manifest in different ways – some people will remain quiet and add little to the conversation, while others will talk about themselves without giving those they are speaking to the opportunity to contribute to the discussion.

Being curious about your conversation partner will allow you to learn more about their stories, figure out mutual interests, and develop a stronger bond based on shared knowledge about each other. Follow-up with genuine questions such as “How was your latest trip?” or “So what was it like working on that project?” When you are invested and interested, it is more difficult to feel dulled out.

Consideration

Conversation is a two-way street. Understanding social cues is the key here – bring up topics that you both find interesting, and make sure you both get to contribute to the discussion. Share your stories and opinions, but don’t forget to let the other person talk and encourage them to take their turn.

Active listening is also an art to master. When you’re paying attention to another person speaking, try to avoid getting distracted or looking at other things, such as your phone or tablet. Listen well – and not just for the sake of finding ways to lead the conversation back to yourself.

Self-disclosure

How much do you reveal about yourself to other people? You might think that people would only be interested to spend time with you if their knowledge of you is limited to your “good” side, but a study found that this is not the case. The study at Stony Brook University paired up strangers and asked them to give each other a series of questions. Strangers who asked personal, emotional questions (the last time they cried in front of someone else, their relationship with their mother) developed deeper social bonds than those who asked factual, shallow questions (favourite holiday, what they did over the summer). Many of the participants in the first group went on to have lasting friendships, and a pair even got engaged.

Do not be afraid to draw up on your personal stories, even if they may not paint a perfect picture of you. Opening up may just be enough to get people to be at ease with you.

Find Greenberg’s questionnaire here.