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You are boring. So, so boring.
February 27, 2013 7:10 PM   Subscribe

Scott Simpson, of the podcast You Look Nice Today (Previously) and inventor of Pillowdrome, offers advice on how to be less boring on the Internet: Don’t take it too hard. We’re all boring. At best, we’re recovering bores. Each day offers a hundred ways for us to bore the crap out of the folks with whom we live, work, and drink. And on the internet, you’re able to bore thousands of people at once.
posted by Cash4Lead (67 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
Pastebin version for those who find that font hard-to-read.
posted by dunkadunc at 7:13 PM on February 27, 2013


Before I even read this, let me just say: STOP POSTING CAT VIDEOS. Or any animal videos.

You are a Democrat, an outspoken atheist, and a foodie. You like to say “Science!” in a weird, self-congratulatory way. You wear jeans during the day, and fancy jeans at night. You listen to music featuring wispy lady vocals and electronic bloop-bloops.


I know these people, they're technically my tribe, and I hate them so much. Especially the 'Science!' bit and the music.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 7:17 PM on February 27, 2013 [7 favorites]


Keep this guy away from my Cheerios!
posted by cjorgensen at 7:19 PM on February 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm not boring. In fact I remember the exact day I realised I wasn't boring. It was back in 1989. I'd just finished incorrectly transforming the Autobot named Prowl - he was made to look like a Porsche police car - and had broken both of his legs. I remember a dog barked, somewhere far away. Once, the dog barked. Twice, the dog barked. But I'll spare you the details. Suffice to say the dog barked three times in total. I was at home, crippled with tubular cystitis, caused by accidentally drinking one of those small tubs of Ninja Turtles "Ooze". But my crisis now was a more mental one. I knew I couldn't run to mother to tell her I had immediately broken the toy she had just bought me, so I sought to make the best of things by pretending Prowl had been wounded in action and, since I didn't have a Ratchet or a Wheeljack toy to fix him, he would remain that way forever. It gave me some good insight into the world of people less fortunate than I. But for some reason I couldn't locate Prowl's clip-on gun. Even if his sole duty was to guard the Autobot base, blasting Decepticons as they came through the front door, and not move around, well, even this could not be achieved. To cut a long story short, I began to panic quite mildly, as a broken Transformer with no gun is essentially hammer fodder, but I couldn't let mother see me in the backyard, crippled with tubular cystitis, hammering to pieces the already-broken, weaponless Prowl toy she had just bought me, while the dog continued to bark in the distance. Once, the dog would have barked, perhaps in time with the first of my hammer blows. Twice, the dog would have barked, as the hammer came down upon Prowl's breasts a second time. But you get the picture. Three times in total the dog would have barked, each bark punctuated by the blow of father's hammer against the die-cast body of the toy my mother had just purchased for me and which I had already broken, crippled as I was by tubular cystitis. So to cut to the chase, I began to crawl sobbing about the house, searching everywhere for Prowl's missing gun, chewing on a piece of plastic in my mouth to keep the wailing at bay. Perhaps you can see where this is going. For, yes, it turned out that immediately upon unboxing Prowl, I had shoved his firearm into my mouth for safekeeping, and as I set about breaking him by transforming him incorrectly and with excessive force, I chewed his gun into a crippled, twisted bastich of elongated, tooth-marked plastic. And even as I sat there shaking, crippled with tubular cystitis, broken Prowl in my hands, his masticated weapon dangling from my lips (stuck there with dread), I realised, hey, this will make a really interesting anecdote for when I am old enough to get drunk at lunchtime. And now here we all are.
posted by turgid dahlia 2 at 7:23 PM on February 27, 2013 [29 favorites]


I'm a little bored with people worrying about whether or not they are boring. "Listen, Then Ask a Question" is good advice but, other than that, Scott Simpson, I don't really care whether or not you find me interesting.
posted by 256 at 7:23 PM on February 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


The solution to boring people is to downvote them, but not every site has this functionality. Or to master the art of saying 'yes, no, yes, no yes' while thinking of other things.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 7:25 PM on February 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


This essay is not about me.
posted by jessamyn at 7:27 PM on February 27, 2013 [7 favorites]


The solution to boring people is to downvote them, but not every site has this functionality.

There are lots of other sites.
posted by pompomtom at 7:29 PM on February 27, 2013


"This essay is all about me-ow!" - the poster for the movie Garfield, if it had read this essay while also having a healthy sense of self-awareness
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:30 PM on February 27, 2013 [5 favorites]



The solution to boring people is to downvote them, but not every site has this functionality.


That's a good theory, but posts that are effectively just people saying "Science!" still seem to be Reddit's bread & butter.
posted by Going To Maine at 7:32 PM on February 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


This essay is a curiously tedious koan I must now go wrestle with. At some point this evening, having gone to sleep, I will have resolved it.
posted by mph at 7:36 PM on February 27, 2013


Guess where we made the most friends? In Budapest, where we were jammed into a big room with a bunch of folks, we were forced into situations we never would have sought out. I wouldn’t have met Goran, the Marilyn Manson superfan who was fleeing the NATO bombing of Belgrade on a fake Portuguese visa. Or Kurt, the Dutch hippie who let us crash on his floor in Amsterdam.

That's a classic boring I-travelled story.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 7:38 PM on February 27, 2013 [17 favorites]


The solution to boring people is a ten page researched document on how and why they are boring followed by a fill QA session later ( dony worry it'll get filmed for the add on) and then a few dry runs with university interns who " role play" types of people you may meet and try not bore. We collect all the data at the end and then they to work more hands on meetings to discusses the metric data available Andy how fully maximize the output flow your Unboring Unit.
posted by The Whelk at 7:39 PM on February 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


Good advice as it goes, but I must offer caution about that "ask a question" thing. This is a common piece of advice to people who want to improve their social skills. Ask questions! It makes people feel flattered! It makes them think you are interested in them! People love questions!

BUT. This is a thing that you can take too far. BELIEVE ME.

A few years ago I spent time with someone who had taken that shit to heart. Literally everything she said was a question for you. EVERY. THING.

This was I'm sure very well meant, as she had a lot of social anxiety issues. But it was also EXHAUSTING. It made spending time with her feel like an hours-long job interview.

It also essentially forced the other person to carry the entire burden of the conversation, which made it doubly exhausting.

So yes, most people should ask more questions. But not JUST questions, please.
posted by ErikaB at 7:41 PM on February 27, 2013 [10 favorites]


And on the internet, you’re able to bore thousands of people at once.


It's incredibly efficient, isn't it. Living in the future sure is swell.


t(>,<t)


*insert cat video here*
posted by louche mustachio at 7:42 PM on February 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


I do like his advice about not posting photos of your food...instead, post photos of your MENUS!
posted by xingcat at 7:42 PM on February 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Whelk, I assume that for the committee meetings you will be putting the data into an excruciatingly detailed Powerpoint presentation, yes?
posted by ErikaB at 7:43 PM on February 27, 2013


Also, can I put in a good word for alcohol here? I realize that it just makes you think you're not boring, but if the other person is drinking too then you can both do a good job of fooling each other. (This advice should not be taken to mad extremes.)
posted by Going To Maine at 7:44 PM on February 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Literally everything she said was a question for you. EVERY. THING.

How I would deal with such a person.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:45 PM on February 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


That's exactly what it was like, cjorgensen, but without the benefit of having been written by Tom Stoppard (and Shakespeare, to a lesser extent).
posted by ErikaB at 7:49 PM on February 27, 2013


Wait, bourbon is a thing people are doing to be hip now? Does this mean I can get a decent selection outside of the South now? If so, welcome, hipsters.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 7:52 PM on February 27, 2013


Wait, bourbon is a thing people are doing to be hip now? Does this mean I can get a decent selection outside of the South now? If so, welcome, hipsters.

Yes? I'm not sure where you are, but where I am there are hipster bourbon bars filled with bartenders with beards, bourbon, and beard-fetishists dressed in vaguely rockabilly clothes. I'm not kidding. One is literally underground and behind a record shop.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 7:54 PM on February 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


I have lived in an Amtrac smoking car on the way from NYC to Texas. You can't tell me anything. I have lived on Amtrac pizza slathered with tiny packets of onion sauce. I am not boring. And I'll tell you why.

I was in an Amtrac train with NO internet access. And so I went native.

At first it was fun. Eating shitty food in the bar car. And getting stupid drunk. But then I had to go back to my seat to sleep. And somewhere around Pennsylvania a family of Amish folk got on. And they say behind me. In my drunkenness I turned around and said HI! And thus began my suffering.

I couldn't figure out how to properly clean myself in the Amtrac car bathroom. I really tried.

Picture this: Several people trying to wash their privates in a filthy bathroom going 100 miles an hour with sharp turns.

After getting filthier than I was before I went in, I decided to go to sleep. I snore. Loudly when I'm drunk. So every five minutes or so, the Amish woman behind me would KICK MY SEAT to wake me up.

So there we have it. Two days into the trip, I haven't slept a wink. And since the Amtrac rout goes to Chicago first, I'm actually further from Texas than I have ever been.

So I realize I could either beat up an Amish family or go to the place where I would be accepted. The smokey, amazing bar car.

At first I thought that I'd sleep there. But no. There was a group of people playing cards there. And they were playing my game. Texas-Hold Em. No limit.

Bartender, I haven't slept in two days, I smell like shit. Gimme some liquor.

I had maybe $400 in my pocket. I put up $100 and started to win. The first day I was up maybe $50. Everyone else went to their seats. And I went back to my seat. I stank of cigarettes and cheap vodka and shit. The Amish family was asleep. So I couldn't tell them the rehearsed thing that I was thinking about FUCk YOU and LEAVE ME ALONE.

I finally was able to sit in my seat and the train came to a stop. People came on. I was about to go to sleep when a frail old Black lady sat next to me. I looked at her and said, "I know I smell bad, I am so sorry."

She said,"I know honey. These trains are cheap and you meet all types. Go to sleep."

And I did.

The next thing I know we're in the Chicago terminal. 2 hours for the next train. I went to a Subway and got a tuna hero. Then i went to a package store and got two pints of vodka. The lady didn't even blink. I must have looked like a homeless person about then.

Back on the train, moving. Back to the poker game. I go up $200 I lose a bit. I'm still doing good. I feel lucky. Announcement: This train will wait for something or other. We sit on the tracks. The AC stops. People start to think that I'm some kind of ripoff artist.

I break out MY two pints of vodka. Now we're all friends.

The train starts to move. "We have no more water on the train" until some stupid Texas kind of name. I go back to my seat. It's full. There is a person in MY seat. All seats are full.

Fuck it. I go back to the bar car, my seat is still open.

We play poker until we get to Texas. I end up $145 up. I get my single duffel bag from the overhead. My cousin is out there waiting for me.

"You smell like shit."

Yeah I do. Let's go somewhere. You got bars around here?
posted by Splunge at 7:57 PM on February 27, 2013 [21 favorites]


Life, friends, is boring. We must not say so.
posted by Cash4Lead at 7:57 PM on February 27, 2013 [8 favorites]


Guilty as charged.
posted by clvrmnky at 7:59 PM on February 27, 2013


Zzzzzzzzzzz...
posted by jonmc at 8:00 PM on February 27, 2013


My dog thinks I'm incredible. I'm content with that.
posted by cmyk at 8:01 PM on February 27, 2013


Oh, I'm in Austin, we have hipsters and bourbon bars and hipster bourbon bars I'm sure, but I didn't know that applied widely. If I can get a decent selection above the Mason-Dixon, I'll pretend to care about noise rock or whatever.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 8:01 PM on February 27, 2013


From the article:

Shitty pictures of your food are all over the internet. Sites like Instagram are loaded with photo after photo of lumpy goo. What you’re trying to share is the joy you feel when the waiter delivers that beautifully plated pork chop. But your photo doesn’t tell the story of that experience. Your photo rips away the delicious smell, the beautiful room, the anticipation of eating, and the presence of people you love.

This is the main problem with boring stories, too. It's amazing how much of successful communication seems to involve exaggerating things way beyond what seems reasonable on your end so that you can produce a semblance of the actual experience in whoever you're communicating with. Since no one shares the set of complicated associations that you have with your subject, you have to do a lot of extra legwork to reproduce those associations, and so just sticking to the nominal subject usually leaves people feeling cold.

Tangentially, as someone who loves a lot of electronic music, I honestly have no idea anymore what people are referring to when they talk about bleeps and bloops. Like, the Forbidden Planet soundtrack sounds like that, and so does Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works 85-92, and of course their respective influencees, but electronic music that isn't chiptunes or etc. hasn't sounded like that for a while now.
posted by invitapriore at 8:02 PM on February 27, 2013 [5 favorites]


Tangentially, as someone who loves a lot of electronic music, I honestly have no idea anymore what people are referring to when they talk about bleeps and bloops. Like, the Forbidden Planet soundtrack sounds like that, and so does Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works 85-92, and of course their respective influencees, but electronic music that isn't chiptunes or etc. hasn't sounded like that for a while now.

We say it for the same reason we call it 'disco': to piss you off.

But the music he's talking about in the article is very specific, and really popular now: your Florence and the Machine with Calvin Harris, your Sia, your Kimbra. It's all substanceless and vaguely pretty.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 8:06 PM on February 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


Grimes.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 8:08 PM on February 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


Ah, I guess I didn't pick up on the implicatino. Anyway, "disco" isn't an insult in my world! In fact, I'm gonna go listen to some Heat Wave right now.
posted by invitapriore at 8:09 PM on February 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


A few years ago I spent time with someone who had taken that shit to heart. Literally everything she said was a question for you. EVERY. THING.

This was I'm sure very well meant, as she had a lot of social anxiety issues. But it was also EXHAUSTING. It made spending time with her feel like an hours-long job interview.


I've been this person. It's no more fun from that end.

"Question?"

"Answer."

(Shit! Nothing in my life relates to that!) "Question?"

"Briefer answer."

(Motherfucker this woman is much more interesting than I am.) "Further question?"

"Curt answer signaling boredom."

(Well, I got nothin'. Time to sit on that couch over there.) "Pleasantry."

"Pleasantry."

finis
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 8:13 PM on February 27, 2013 [7 favorites]


Possibly they are talking about Ratatat records, in which case I will throw down.
posted by turgid dahlia 2 at 8:14 PM on February 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's easy to avoid being boring: post cheesecake.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:16 PM on February 27, 2013


I'm trying. Not all of us get to work at Apple and be friends with Merlin.
posted by Sokka shot first at 8:18 PM on February 27, 2013 [3 favorites]


It's easy to avoid being boring: post cheesecake.

Nah, neo-burlesque cheescake is also very overdone by the same people he's talking about.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 8:18 PM on February 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Tangentially, as someone who loves a lot of electronic music, I honestly have no idea anymore what people are referring to when they talk about bleeps and bloops.

It's called 'trolling'. Pay it no heed.
posted by pompomtom at 8:19 PM on February 27, 2013


I have lived in an Amtrac smoking car on the way from NYC to Texas.

I have done the same, only from Boston to Tampa to LA to Seattle to Boston. Back when they had those All Aboard America tickets that were cheap. I made my own Scrabble board and brought it with me and played with people (yes, in he smoking car) who felt it was a lucky turn if they could play CAT but they were interesting folks with a ton of weird stories and even though this must have been twenty years ago now, I can still remember what all of them looked like. The Chicago train station used to have showers in it, for Amtrak passengers, but if you were a young woman on the train, often conductors would let you use their cabins which had showers, to clean up. "NOT LIKE THAT" they'd all say, none of them were weird mashers, they were just friendly and bored.

There's a bit of a monoculture problem I think in parts of the world. And it's funny because there is so NOT a monoculture problem most other places, not like this anyhow. I'd love to have dinner with an atheist foodie who listened to indie music once in a while. I've always called it the ROAMSTAY problem. Some people have to leave and come back with stories. Some people have to stay and build a stable culture. You need both kinds of people but I think people confuse going on the internet for going actual places and that gets problematic.
posted by jessamyn at 8:24 PM on February 27, 2013 [24 favorites]


I already knew I was boring.
posted by smcameron at 8:30 PM on February 27, 2013


tb;dr
posted by aaronetc at 8:33 PM on February 27, 2013 [4 favorites]


I live in a state whose politics are pretty much the polar opposite of mine. I've spent nearly all of my life surrounded by my philosophical, ideological, and even psychological opposites. And it's excruciating. I long to work with other liberals, other introverts, other people who see nuance and metaphor and story in religion, other nerds.

I spend a good deal of time fulminating about it, really more than I should. It leaves me tired. Living in a place like this means I not-infrequently smile and nod just politely enough to make my point in situations where I would rather throw shit and scream *how dare you*. These are costs that I happily pay for the sake of family concerns.

But when I read this, as I did back when it was published in The Magazine (which you should be subscribing to), I'm even more grateful to be living here in this little technological also-ran city (oh my God, the COBOL shops) than I am when I hear about rent in San Francisco or air pollution in NYC.

Because when I read things like this, I imagine a world in which all of my friends are like me. And I, a man who has spent much of his life thinking "Hell is other people", shudder and realize what an utter goddamn gift my own situational frustration is. Because if I were surrounded by me all day long? Hoo boy, the pills I would need thirty years from now.
posted by middleclasstool at 8:39 PM on February 27, 2013 [12 favorites]


I made my own Scrabble board...

Is this due to fiscal circumstances or the desire to be craftful?
posted by turgid dahlia 2 at 9:33 PM on February 27, 2013


For some idiot reason I had the letters but not a board? So neither really just being a weird hobo about it.
posted by jessamyn at 9:54 PM on February 27, 2013


The best way to deal with somebody who asks questions endlessly is to learn how to answer all their questions with questions.
posted by Joey Michaels at 10:08 PM on February 27, 2013


There's an improv game that goes like that. It's harder than you'd think.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 10:14 PM on February 27, 2013 [2 favorites]


And on the internet, you’re able to bore thousands of people at once.

I wish. According to my blog's statistics, it's rarely more than a hundred people a day.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:26 PM on February 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: aspiring to bore thousands of people at once.
posted by Superplin at 11:42 PM on February 27, 2013 [1 favorite]


As it happens, Rustic, I am currently undefeated at that game three years running. Also, I am exceedingly boring.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:28 AM on February 28, 2013


People who think they're boring are typically much more interesting than people who think they're not boring.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 5:22 AM on February 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


I think this article was a bit trollish, but it had some good points. The problem I have in regards to the 'listen, then ask questions' is I honestly don't know what aspect of a story I'm supposed to be more interested in. If I've been saying "uh-huh" or "that'll do it." in response to everything for 5 minutes or more, what more could I possibly want to know? I'm in the midst of an infodump, and if I interrupt them, they'll NEVER finish their fucking story.

I know I'm boring, I'm largely introverted, and most times I'm most comfortable having a conversation, it plays out like the "Community" ep where Abed is too interested in discussing the minutae of television that he doesn't even realize the fellow he's talking to is hitting on him.

I fully admit that I feel a bit bad about this, my friends aren't boors and I do care about their day to day lives, but a majority of conversations end up feeling like one of those unskippable dialogue scenes in an RPG, where you are forced to hit "Next" at regular intervals. It's exhausting, but I know I blather about crap that only matters to me, so I do my best to be patient.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 5:51 AM on February 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


The thing with the Ask Questions strategy is that the person you're talking to is eventually supposed to then start asking you questions in return. What I find is either they don't do that, giving the impression they're not at all interested in anything about you and making you keep asking them stuff, or they just ask "So what do YOU do?" by which they usually mean "Where do you work and what do you do for work" and for some reason I hate that question and never want to answer it.

There's an improv game that goes like that.

You know why I suck at that game?
posted by bondcliff at 6:13 AM on February 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well, how should we know that?
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 6:21 AM on February 28, 2013


Are you mocking me?
posted by bondcliff at 6:32 AM on February 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


So as to avoid a yes-or-no question, what other question could you have asked?
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 6:35 AM on February 28, 2013


OK, FINE. WHY are you mocking me?

Christ, I suck at this game. I'M OUT. Can we play Party Quirks now?
posted by bondcliff at 6:39 AM on February 28, 2013


This guy just doesn't know how good he has it. He needs to come visit my neighborhood, where he can be bored by Republicans discussing the merits of their various SUVs and minivans, real estate prices, riding lawnmowers, private schools, and golf courses. As a Democrat and atheist, I'm only able to exist here by never mentioning either of those facts. Or he could go to my last neighborhood, where conversation mostly revolved around corn prices and the rain or lack thereof.
posted by Daily Alice at 6:41 AM on February 28, 2013


Sorry, bondcliff.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 6:43 AM on February 28, 2013


My first reaction to the article was 'Well said'. But then the thought kicked in 'And he's one of the boring people who write essays about how the internet is boring and what to do about it.'
Re asking questions instead of telling your own anecdote: I think it only works if you really are interested in what the other person is saying. I don't think fake interest is worth any more than the behavior he describes, plus it's fake.
posted by AnnElk at 6:55 AM on February 28, 2013


And on the internet, you’re able to bore thousands of people at once.

>I wish. According to my blog's statistics, it's rarely more than a hundred people a day.

What are we, chopped liver?
posted by ersatz at 7:53 AM on February 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh boy, a tedious antidote about one's travels! This person is just highlighting some things he is annoyed with and replacing it with some things he doesn't realize are equally tedious, when taken with a grate of reflective cynicism.

The discussion about conversing and listening is fine unto itself, but doesn't need the pretentious context he wraps it in.
And the quips about food photos and cat videos are so stale they are downright unnecessary.

I'm surprised the article is getting so much of a pass around here. But then again, I like me my nighttime fancy jeans.
posted by Theta States at 8:17 AM on February 28, 2013


Inadequate attention to fitness bores. Then you did a set to work your lats? Oh, I want to hear all about it.
posted by thelonius at 8:40 AM on February 28, 2013


And the quips about food photos and cat videos are so stale they are downright unnecessary.

It just occurred to me that "stale" is an anagram of "Slate."
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 8:42 AM on February 28, 2013


"Question?"

"Answer."

(Shit! Nothing in my life relates to that!) "Question?"

"Briefer answer."

(Motherfucker this woman is much more interesting than I am.) "Further question?"

"Curt answer signaling boredom."

(Well, I got nothin'. Time to sit on that couch over there.) "Pleasantry."

"Pleasantry."

finis


Not that I don't sympathise - goodness knows I've had my share of foundered conversations - but I don't think that's what's really meant when people say 'Ask questions to be interesting.' That's more 'Thing about my life / Thing about my life that is somewhat related to what you just said' breaking down at stage two.

I find that in situations like that, just saying straight out, 'Wow, I don't know anything about that! Can you tell me more, it sounds really interesting?' is generally the way to go. There's nothing wrong with not knowing things, and if you don't have anything to say on that subject except that you'd like to hear about it, no reason not to be honest. It works for me, anyway.

The trick is learning to be pleased when people know things you don't or are good at things you don't understand. If you can see someone being more interesting than you as good news, because it makes the world a cooler place and you live in the world, that generally comes across.

Which is one reason why kneejerk snarking is boring, actually: it's about admiring nothing but your own wit and locating your wit in your ability to act superior to stuff. That's stifling after a while. What's really interesting is the capacity to be pleased by things that aren't you or like you.
posted by Kit W at 9:07 AM on February 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


I feel like I need to clarify The Thing About The Woman Who Only Asked Questions. I'm not talking about cocktail party chit-chat, new coworker in the lunchroom, all those awkward introductory conversations. They are inevitably horrible, and the only thing you can do is get through them as quickly as you can.

I'm talking about, this is a woman that I have known for months by that point. We would be considered "friends" by any objective measurement. And still, all she does is ask questions. Which again is not just tiresome, it also forces the burden of conversation solely onto the other person.

And believe me, I tried asking questions back, but she wouldn't have it. She basically insisted that you make the conversation a monologue. It was maddening, and in hindsight I'm surprised I kept hanging out with her for so long.
posted by ErikaB at 12:13 PM on February 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


The trick is learning to be pleased when people know things you don't or are good at things you don't understand. If you can see someone being more interesting than you as good news, because it makes the world a cooler place and you live in the world, that generally comes across.

Point taken. I guess that dialogue is more about my own insecurity's sabotaging what could be good conversations. I hate to seem as ignorant as I am, which feeling is pure vanity.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 12:24 PM on February 28, 2013


I'm talking about, this is a woman that I have known for months by that point. We would be considered "friends" by any objective measurement. And still, all she does is ask questions. Which again is not just tiresome, it also forces the burden of conversation solely onto the other person.

That sounds exhausting. Someone you'd probably feel sorry for and so feel mean if you don't want to talk to her, but every time you do try to talk to her you end up wanting to run away. Guilt and stress together. I feel bad for her, but I don't think I'd want to talk to her either.


I hate to seem as ignorant as I am, which feeling is pure vanity.

For what it's worth, if I'm an expert on something and talk to a person who knows nothing, the people who say honestly that they don't know about it are the ones who impress me. They look like people cool enough that other people's knowledge doesn't threaten them and nice enough that they get happy for others. People who pretend to know when they don't end up ignorantly telling me my business, which is always annoying. People who say straight out, 'Hey, thing I don't know about, cool!' always strike me as confident and smart. Ignorance is nothing more than not-having-information, and that's always fixable if people have a good attitude about it.

Try being so vain that it takes more than total ignorance about a subject to stop you looking fabulous. ;-)
posted by Kit W at 12:49 AM on March 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


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