We all dread talking to boring people but we have all probably had to do it at some time or another and that`s why knowing how to talk to boring people is necessary. We may have got stuck with the bore at a party; we may be playing hostess to a visiting business person with whom we feel no connection. The fact remains, we sometimes have to talk to boring people.
Here’s how you can talk to boring people and get through it… maybe even enjoy it.
1. What is it about them that bores you?
If you can step outside of the situation a moment and work out what it is that bores you about them, that will help, because it gives you the key to working out a way forward.
2. Listen actively
Often, we are bored with people who just talk on and on without letting us interact. The key here is to listen actively and find moments when you can ask questions or make supporting comments. Once you are an active participant in the conversation, you should feel less bored.
3. Find common ground
Finding things you have in common will help you both be equal participants in the conversation, but you need to listen actively for that. Having found some things you have in common, you are better able to common and stop them when you feel they are going on and on and boring you.
4. Ask simple questions
It’s a good idea to have a few conversation openers in your armory. These are useful in any case, but when talking to boring people, they give you a chance to steer the conversation in a direction in which you can comment.
These conversation openers should be about very easy topics, so that people don’t feel they are being judged on their answer and also so that they are bound to have an opinion on them. Some examples would be:
- What is the best movie you have seen this year?
- What is the best book you ever read?
- Where are you going on holiday this year?
You will often find that your common ground can come out of these conversation starters. After that, you will have something to talk about and you may get some interesting information from them, so you are no longer bored.
5. Provoke a reaction
This is a risky technique but it sometimes works, particularly in a low-key social situation like a party. In these situations, it doesn’t matter what people think of you so much, and you may be talking with people you won’t meet again.
That is not to say that you should be rude. The idea is not to get over talking to boring people by having them walk away from you, offended! But often, people are boring not because they don’t have anything to talk about but because they don’t know how to make it sound interesting. Your job is to tease out interesting information from them.
For example, if they tell you they went to France on holiday, don’t just make some bland comment of approval. Ask them how they found the cuisine, whether they tried out local delicacies or if they had a go at speaking French, etc. That gives them a chance to shine and become interesting.
6. Turn conversations on their head
It’s boring to always thing of things in the same way. You can elevate a boring conversation very quickly with this technique.
For instance, if you are given a rather negative comment such as ‘hasn’t it been cold lately?’ you can turn that around to something unexpected and even a little funny, by a reply such as ‘yes, but it’s a great excuse to wear all those sweaters that Grandma knitted for me over the Christmases’.
Often, that will also be an ice breaker, and will make people laugh. Sometimes people are boring because they are nervous. Well, they will feel more comfortable after you have made them laugh!
So if you want to know how to talk to boring people, the key is in helping them not be boring. Allow them to relax with you, stay actively engaged with the conversation, and provide them with an opportunity to think and respond more imaginatively and then neither of you should be either bored or boring!