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5 Signs of a Boring Person

How to spot a bore in two minutes.

Mix Tape/Shutterstock
Source: Mix Tape/Shutterstock

We’ve all known people who are charismatic: They seem to light up the room when they walk in. And, when you interact with them, you come away feeling good and energized. On the flip side are people who are bores: They suck the life out of the room, their conversation is tedious, and you can’t wait to get away from them.

Here are 5 signs of a boring person.

  1. Negativity. Nothing is more boring than a person who always sees the negative side of things—a person who complains constantly. Every time you try to bring up something positive (“Don’t you just love amusement parks?”), the bore complains about it (“too crowded, expensive, dirty…”).
  2. Superficial. The bore doesn’t engage in deep conversation. Instead, the boring person talks too much about unimportant things (e.g., the weather), or repeats the same things over and over. It’s impossible to make any sort of real “connection” with someone like that.
  3. Impassive. Unexpressive, speaks in a monotone, doesn’t make eye contact, seems completely disengaged—this is a sure sign of a bore.
  4. Self-centered. Boring persons talk too much about themselves and show little interest in others. The self-centered bore holds the floor too long, is long-winded, and when telling a story takes forever to make a point.
  5. Predictable. Boring people are predictable. They use too many tired cliches. They agree too readily and too often, and they rarely express any strong opinions of their own. Bores can sometimes be overly-solicitous—they appear too nice, always complimenting others over and over again.

So, is a bore hopelessly sentenced to a life of exclusion and loneliness? Of course not. Any bore can turn it around by developing better conversational skills—becoming a better listener, learning how to take turns effectively and not dominate a conversation, preparing stimulating topics or stories beforehand. In short, becoming a bit more charismatic.

My friend and former colleague, the late Bernie Carducci, wrote a book called: The Pocket Guide to Making Successful Small Talk: How to Talk to Anyone Anytime Anywhere About Anything. He suggests that anyone can develop the ability to be a more interesting conversationalist—to develop, as Bernie says, "the gift of gab." To read one of his papers on the art of making small talk, click here.

See more on active listening and the dynamics and “how-to” of charisma.

Facebook image: Mix Tape/Shutterstock

References

Riggio, R.E. (1987). The charisma quotient. New York: Dodd, Mead. (available via download at my researchgate.net site).

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