Since Borg the caveman took mammoth meat to the warming fire and discovered he was next to Boring Bill, people have encountered problems. How do you deal with really boring people?
On a plane, at conjoining work desks, at conferences and weddings the stress is high and the moans are long and low. There’s got to be a strategy, a plan to make the situation work? Bored to death is a common expression for a good reason and it’s a very common problem.
Yes, it really is. It’s your attitude, it stinks. That boring person is somebody’s darling son, daughter, husband or wife. Somebody on this planet has found them interesting and it’s your quest to find the pearls between the poop.
Everyone Has a Story
Sit back, relax and learn something you didn’t know before. This person has knowledge in something, special interests, talents, views. Instead of rolling your eyes and wishing the flight is over, sit back and relax and think of this person sprouting forth monologue as a kind of podcast or documentary. Nobody said you had to agree with their views, just listen and learn. Pick their brain on a topic, learn a few words of another language. Use the time well.
When it’s Time to Zip It
Give them a chance to shine first but when your headache grows from a niggle to a migraine then you have A Situation. And an excuse. Let them in on your problem so they understand why you’ll prefer silence from now on. If it’s a work colleague that headache excuse might get old pretty fast. If you’re happy for them to think of you as a hypochondriac let the litany of illnesses flow, or explain that you’re the ‘quiet-working type’.
Now you’re chance to practice your spy tactics, slipping away, engaging the facilitator in chat or taking up smoking, it’s never too late to find out what smokers see in those dirty little gaspers. The talk is always interesting crowded around that sandy bucket of butts, collectively ostracised for your personal choices you can find your tribe.
That old adage…
Treat others how you’d like to be treated goes an awfully long way and who said we were so interesting anyway? A little kindness creates a ripple around the universe. And there’s always earphones.