More often than not, dull or annoying people have no idea that they are rubbing others the wrong way. There is undoubtedly a difference between being boring and annoying. For example, someone chewing with their mouth open is annoying, but certainly not boring.
However, people’s general reaction to both are similar. They will either choose to flee or grudgingly put up with it. Either way, you do not want to be the one whom people run from or tolerate out of politeness. People who are annoying and/or boring tend to display similar personality traits, one of which is complete oblivion to how others are reacting towards them. Being aware of your surroundings and the people you are with play very important roles in how others perceive you.
There is no doubt that you have had to deal with people who irritate or bore the socks off you but have you ever stopped to wonder if you are doing the same to others?
How to be more fun to be around
Whether you came to the realization that you are annoying and boring on your own, or your friends staged an intervention to tell you off, here are 8 things that you can do to curb the problem.
#1 Be polite. It is hard to find fault with someone who has manners and is considerate to those around them. When you show others a sense of politesse and camaraderie, there is less of a chance that they will think of you as someone annoying or dull. Remember that there is a very fine line between being an extrovert and an irritating person, and you would do very well for yourself if you knew the difference between the two.
#2 Stop being a know-it-all. An acquaintance of mine has the very annoying habit of being a know-it-all. She does not even realize she is doing it, but it permeates every aspect of her life and every form of conversation she is involved in. From speaking to her in person, to text messaging, to group chats, to Facebook posts, everything that comes out of her mouth and mind at any given time unflatteringly shows what a know-it-all she is. The thing is, the information she churns out is not always accurate. Not just that, she seems to know everything about everyone, which is annoying, because it proves that the term “discretion” obviously flies right over her head. Those close to her have come to terms with this very annoying part of her, but people who meet her for the first time are usually very taken aback by her annoying tone and cocky aura. If you see yourself in her, stop it now before everyone starts to snidely call you “Wikipedia” behind your back.
#3 Let others speak. A surefire way to be called the most annoying person in the room is to hog the floor. You have to give others the chance to speak, no matter the time or place. Fun social situations do not develop out of one-man shows, so let others chime in and do not dominate the conversation. As smart, talented, knowledgeable and hyper as you are, no one wants to hear you go on and on about your awesomeness, unless of course, you are Stephen Hawking or someone of his caliber.
#4 Make conversation with others. Say, for example, you are at a single’s mixer or your company sent you on a business conference abroad. Just because you do not know a soul does not mean you cannot engage strangers in intelligent conversation. It is even worse if you know the people around you, but do not make an effort to speak to them. For example, if you are meeting your boyfriend’s friends for the first time, put in the effort to fit in. First impressions count more than you think. The last thing you want is to be pegged as, “Dan’s new, annoyingly dull girlfriend.” Whether you do not speak the language fluently or have a firm grasp of the topic at hand, all you have to do is try to make conversation with those around you. People will appreciate the effort that you put into trying to be a part of the group, and sooner rather than later, you will move on to topics that you are comfortable with.
#5 Stop staring at your phone. I conducted a basic survey amongst my social media friends and asked them what annoys them when they are out with a group of people. 100% of the participants listed “people playing with their phones” as one of their peeves. If you are the sort of person who has your phone glued to you, snap out of it, and please rejoin the real world. I know someone who stays silent as a tomb during social gatherings because she cannot seem to pull herself away from her phone. I also think she is as dull as they come and is unable to contribute to conversations anyway, but I digress. Either way, she does not realize how ridiculous checking social media updates and playing brain cell-blasting mobile games throughout cocktails is. The way I see it, go right ahead when you are alone, but when you are out, have some respect for those around you and pocket your phone. If you have to attend to business, excuse yourself and take care of it, but do not annoy the rest of the group by being a boring phone-nerd.
#6 Be aware of your body. This may be a rather difficult one to control, but it all comes down to being mindful of what your body is doing. People with nervous habits or minor obsessive compulsive disorders will tell you that these little quirks are possible to keep under control, so unless you have a serious medical problem, you have no excuse. For example, steer clear from cracking your knuckles, as not everyone is fond of that highly annoying sound. Keep body movements like fidgeting and squirming to a minimal, as it is an indication that you are uncomfortable or bored. Also remember to hold eye contact with the person you are speaking to, as it is a basic show of respect. The last thing you want is to aggravate and annoy your social circle because you are unaware of what you are doing.
#7 No need to be a loud mouth. People do not like loud mouths. So when you are in a social setting, try to control your volume. There is nothing wrong with being an outgoing person, but try to inject some class and awareness into your personality. Ladies, I understand how exciting it is to reunite with your long lost sorority sisters, but spare us the horror of listening to your shrill voices. Guys, even if you are at a bar getting smashed, there is no need to yell at one another unless you want the citizens of Timbuktu to hear you. Just be mindful of your surroundings and unless you are the only ones around, keep your conversations to yourself. Do not embarrass yourself or the people in your company, just because you have no sense of volume control.
#8 Curb the gossiping. As the saying goes, “Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.” You gossip a lot more than you realize, more so when you have been out of touch with your regular social circle. Whether you have been abroad or simply too busy to catch up with friends on a regular basis, it is inevitable that the next meet up will involve plenty of gossiping. It is totally normal to indulge in spiteful conversation about what she did or what he said, but when you make it a habit and constant topic of conversation, it is going to get onto people’s nerves. Gossiping will only reaffirm their belief that you are dull, with nothing substantial to say and nothing better to do. If life has taught you anything, it is that gossip brings up more hurt and hate than anything else. So if you know what’s good for you, curb the gossiping. I suppose at the end of the day, being boring or annoying is subjective. Some people may find your brashness charming whilst others may find your gossipy habit fun. For example, being loud at a bachelor’s party is fine, but not at a funeral. It all comes down to the people you are with, how well you know them and the social setting you are in. Just remember to keep these eight tips in mind, be aware of what is going on, and you will be fine.
It’s never too late to turn your social habits around. The next time you’re out with friends, follow these tips so that more people will genuinely enjoy being around you.