It is like a friend with benefits.
The idea of boring creates internal turmoil. Today, I want to share the flip side — what I have learned through the years.
The merits of being boring in a social interaction.
1. You are fully present
This benefit alone is worth the weight in gold. So underrated and yet, most valuable. Most people who consider themselves boring –almost, always consider others interesting. In that viewpoint, they bring to the table something rare in this world — respect for the audience.
Many of us can relate to my friend Dawn’s experience, “being with someone at a conference and watching their eyes dart around the room. It was pretty obvious they were scouting for someone more important to approach.”
Just imagine being the contrarian — being fully present when you listen to people. The rewards for this mindset are endless.
2. You can recap in ways very few can
A few years back, I was enamored by the language abilities of my boss. He had a way with words and that fascinated me. Side note: you can call me boring — I just like to observe people.
I would be in meetings, watching him speak and look for recurring themes. His most repeated words — “If I hear you correctly” or “If I understand what you are conveying.” He was so disciplined about it that I found it remarkable.
In communication, we all speak through our own prism of experiences. The listener filters it through their own prism. His brilliance was in summarizing others thoughts in his words, lest something got lost in the translation.
And in the process, he made his audience feel good about themselves.
The good news — in private conversations — he considered himself boring.
3. You can initiate a two-way conversation when you need to — when it organically originates inside. The effect is phenomenal.
Passion can be contagious when it is authentic. Even more so when a person with very little history speaks up. There is a saying in my mother tongue, Tamil. Loosely translated, it means — “when a tame, boring person is needled, the forest cannot withstand.”
The point — when a person who flies under the radar finally chooses to speak on something that lights up their eyes — their audience listens. Many of us remember where we were when we heard those pearls of wisdom.
4. You are a puzzle to others — and that can be a good thing
“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt.” — Abraham Lincoln
I have a take on this — Anticipation is more interesting than the act itself. Being a puzzle adds to the aura.
5. You are perceived as thoughtful. It is relaxing.
When words leave you, they are gems. Some say, you sleep over it. My new boss said it best — speak not until you have a shower in between.
6. Your odds of speaking ill of others are the lowest in the world
Language has its quirks. In English language, like any other, there are more negative emotional words than positive words.
The old adage — you have nothing good to say, keep to yourself rings true.
7. You send a message to the world — it is ok to just be. Quiet confidence is a statement like no other.
My heart sank. “Write something light. Your geeky content may be interesting to a chosen few, but it is unlikely to be exciting,” were the words of a sincere, well-wisher. It was an honest assessment with hurtful impact — at least at the moment of delivery. I got one thoughtful comment from Alfredo Bollati for the very same blog [“The heart of blockchain is trust” ] that made my day.
Seeing my response, Gail Boenning went out of her way to read my blog and give me a thoughtful comment on the same blog. What a beautiful community.
The point in all this — society places a lot of importance on communication. What we forget is that acknowledging is a wonderful form of communication — so much in short supply. When our kids are quiet during social interactions, they are bracketed as shy. And we work with them as if they have a big hurdle to overcome. Being themselves, acknowledging their top stimuli [observing others, being themselves] is underrated.
Somewhere along the way, the world needs to see the half cup full side of being boring. Based on my experience, I see it more than half cup full.
It is a wholesome experience to be boring. Moving at a pace that makes me comfortable in a social interaction is key. In the long run, society will embrace a thoughtful, boring person compared to a quick-witted. The tongue is mightier than the sword.
More than anything, it is best said in Poolski’s words, “At the core of this, I think, is the process of coming to terms with yourself and working out what you will and will not compromise on.”
What I leave you with — there is no statement more powerful than the quiet confidence of boring me.