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  1. #1
    Honor Thy Inferior Such Irony's Avatar
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    Default Hiding your boredom and disinterest

    I have difficulties where I'm in a group of others where they will be talking about stuff that I have no knowledge of and no interest in. I try to hide my disinterest to the best of my ability and I must do a pretty good job of it because rarely do they say "you must be bored" and they just keep talking about the same thing. But I feel really awkward in these types of conversations. It's hard when the topic of conversation gives you nothing you can contribute and its hard to ask questions without looking completely ignorant. I often feel this way because when I'm in a group of people, so many of the conversations focus on pop culture things like movies and TV, which I rarely pay attention to. I couldn't even tell you most of the movies that are playing in the theatre right now.

    At work most of the people are older than me and are in a different stage of life. They will talk about their families and such and issues they have in raising their children. I have no kids and am unmarried and feel like I'm on a completely different plane from them.

    The things that interest me just wouldn't interest most people so I don't bring them up.

    When I'm in conversation though, I don't want to hurt the others' feelings by looking like I'm bored with what they have to say. But I don't want to spend the whole time listening to something that I don't relate to and can't contribute to.

    Anyone relate and how do you get better at handling these sorts of conversations? Do you know of any ways to maybe redirect the conversation to something of more interest without making it look too obvious that you were bored with the original topic?
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Stevo's Avatar
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    I usually, when in a group situation, just take a backseat in the conversation when I have nothing of interest to say and occupy myself with my own thoughts. If a subject I'm interested in is touched upon, I'll rejoin the conversation. Most people usually don't notice unless you're in a more personal context of interaction if you slip in and out of the conversation in an unobtrusive manner.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Accept's Avatar
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    I've made sure most of the people I'm likely to have a group conversation with are aware that any story about their children better be quick and to the point. They also know I don't care if their team won, who they're hoping will win (fill in prime time challenge show here), or any sad tales from their lives, unless they are sincere about finding alternatives to what caused the problem. They're more than welcome to discuss such things, but they also know I will disconnect and that they shouldn't take offense when I pick up something to read or leave the room - definitely leave when they want to discuss details of medical procedures, each trying to be more graphic than the person who started the conversation. In a work setting I simply go back to whatever it is I was doing before the conversation started.
    The most difficult bit was convincing them ahead of time that any appearance of rudeness is not intended to offend, but simply a lack of interest in such things.
    An exception, where I'm more than willing to be rude, involves the woe is me type stories about their boyfriend/girlfriend, or anyone who claims every man/woman they meet is a loser. Most of those types have learned not to approach me since my response is usually to suggest they look at the common link to their problem by looking in the mirror.
    I also answer 'no' when asked if I want to know a secret, or if asked if I can keep a secret, the answer is also 'no.' Usually the person who wants to share has already told others, or is about to do so and eventually they find someone to blame for leaking the information.

    Sometimes I think they only reason they tolerate me is that they also know I will do whatever I can to help them if they really want help, and if I find the conversation boring, I still like the people talking.
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  4. #4
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    I do my best to relate my knowledge to whatever others are speaking about if I can, but if I can't I just wait, as patiently possible to perhaps naturally change the subject, or hopefully I can reciprocate in the conversation. I don't like one-sided conversations, but I do like one-sided objects! Mobious structures I think they're called, I watched a video in a different thread, sounds awesome! Something like that usually works .

  5. #5
    Senor Membrane
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    I think in these situations I can appear really absent minded. I don't usually try to be rude, but I might for example leave without saying anything, or start doing something trivial, like playing with any object I can find. I do try to divert the discussion into a direction that I could also enjoy... I think I usually manage to do that pretty well...

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    Senior Member Trentham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SuchIrony View Post
    At work most of the people are older than me and are in a different stage of life. They will talk about their families and such and issues they have in raising their children. I have no kids and am unmarried and feel like I'm on a completely different plane from them.
    Depending on what type of people you work with, this may never change, even when you enter a different stage of life.
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  7. #7
    nee andante bechimo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trentham View Post
    Depending on what type of people you work with, this may never change, even when you enter a different stage of life.
    I agree with this.

    One way to offset boredom in other peoples' lives is to pay attention so you build an internal database of who they are which includes interests and potentially perceive them as real people, rather than information sources. The more you put into friendships, the more others will put into getting to know your interests and being actively interested in you as a person.

    But of course, there will be individuals who no matter what you do, bore the living crap out of you. No one can get along with everyone.

    Whoah, this site is so good for eureka moments for me. Thanks for this thread suchirony!

  8. #8
    not to be trusted miss fortune's Avatar
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    I get around this by finding almost EVERYTHING interesting... and if the conversation turns to basketball or american football I simply steer it in another direction
    “Oh, we're always alright. You remember that. We happen to other people.” -Terry Pratchett

  9. #9
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    Anyone relate and how do you get better at handling these sorts of conversations? Do you know of any ways to maybe redirect the conversation to something of more interest without making it look too obvious that you were bored with the original topic?
    Most group situations I enter are those that have a predisposed theme. If whoever decides to stray, I usually try to lasso the conversation back into the realm of constructivism by shifting body into a dominant position while raising my voice a shade, just enough to grab everyone's attention, maybe bring up a quick point with a recent observation (If you call recall, we're here to discuss blah. Such and such recently happened which has led me to think that blah blah may be true. Whacha think?). I understand this probably isn't relevant to your predicament, but giving you partial advice is a good excuse to get other thoughts out.

    I don't have any plans that'll help when you're in any that are undesired other than offending them, tuning out, or relocating.

    Have you tried buying a walkman?

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  10. #10
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Lots of smiling and nodding. In a non-creepy way seriously, that tends to work quite well and people think you're lovely and a fantastic conversationalist.

    If it's a situation I'm stuck in for hours on end, I probably will end up looking bored and tired eventually, but I'll probably just apologise and say "sorry, I'm pretty tired" and people are generally ok with that. Sometimes I can redirect conversations into areas I find more interesting, but if it's a really long conversation and there's been very little I can relate to and I really feel like the odd one out, that's probably not going to work too well. If there are one or two people I realise I can talk to in a more fulfilling way, and depending on the situation, we might split off a bit and have a side conversation.
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