Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach

How To Stop Being Boring And Start Being Good Company

Friendship is one of the most rewarding experiences life has to offer. But it can also often be one of the most disappointing. 

One of the most common times we feel let down is at large gatherings. Such as a dinner party or barbeque, where we get stuck listening to someone’s minute-by-minute retelling of their lost luggage, or a detailed recount of someone’s switch to another electricity service provider. 

The event as a whole might have been touching, but we still end up going home feeling more drained than energised. And we’re left wondering if it wouldn’t have been more fun to just stay home with a good book or movie.  

Obviously, not all get-togethers fall victim to stale conversation. 

Some parties can feel just as rewarding as seeing a fox on our morning walk through the park, or taking a wrong turn during our commute home and discovering a new cafe with a wonderful terrace and view over the city. 

This element of serendipity ties directly into the issue of our boring meetups. The difference between having a good or dull time is left up to chance. We typically believe that if we get the activity and setting right, everything will fall into place. 

But that’s not the case. Even the best toasted slices of baguette topped with chopped tomatoes, basil, garlic, and olive oil can’t guarantee good conversation. 

And that’s what our pleasure is chiefly based around: a friendly and interesting chat. 

The reason we don’t put half as much trouble in our conversations as we do in our charcuterie boards and tortilla dip is because we believe we don’t need to. 

We see our knack for delightful banter as something we’re born with, rather than a combination of odd skills we acquire with practice.

Just as we believe we shouldn’t improvise our crab cakes and salmon tartare, we shouldn’t believe we can ad-lib interesting conversation.

So where do we start with being better dinner guests?

By developing the courage to express who we are. Not a single person is boring when looked at properly. We only seem boring when we suggest that we have nothing to say.

Many of us confuse being interesting by doing interesting things. But even the most exotic experience is of little help to the person who can only describe their exploration of the ancient temples of Angkor Wat as, “Beautiful.”

So what matters is not so much what we do or what wisdom we put inside our head. 

Being an interesting person is about being sensitive to the faint stirs of our hearts and minds and sharing our findings with others. 

Put simply, it’s our thoughts and feelings about things that largely make us interesting to others, not the things themselves. 

People want to get an idea of our reality. They want to hear about our opinions, disappointments, fears, passions, and hardships. That’s why young children are often much more fun to talk to than a well-traveled 50-year-old. 

Kids will tell us precisely how they feel about school, mummy, or how our breath smells like their brother’s stinky socks after soccer practice.

Why so many adults are boring, is because they try so hard to be normal. Instead of sharing what’s going on inside of them, they tend to hide their feelings out of fear of being seen as weird. 

But what most frightened people forget is that everyone is a little weird and unbalanced. 

And by voicing what life looks like to us, we’d not only interest and captivate an audience, but we’d also find out that we’re not alone in thinking and feeling all these zany and embarrassing things.

Sharing facts is boring. To be good company, we need to show more of ourselves, preferably our feelings. Because what our friends want more than anything is to hear that their private ideas and sufferings are shared by us too.

By Jeroen Elsing
Ex-lawyer turned relationship coach