Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

How can I be more interesting?

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  • #1109443 Reply

    Friendships and romantic relationships are challenging for me because, well, I’m boring. Although I am a polite and caring person, I am not funny or particularly interesting. I’m a fairly quiet person. I do better with one-on-one and small group conversations than big, loud groups or parties. I have a big heart, am a good listener, and show interest in others’ lives.

    I do volunteer work partly to be around more people in hopes of forming more relationships. I participate in a couple local outdoor activity groups.

    I have a few good friends and we text every week and meet a few times a year, but most days, I don’t talk to anyone.

    I do well at starting conversations, but I can’t seem to keep people’s interest for long. The friendships don’t grow. I try to make plans with people for activites that I think will be of mutual interest, but people often cancel or decline. A few ghosted me. I’m feeling discouraged.

    It’s a catch-22: I am not doing many interesting things to talk about with others because I don’t have others to do interesting things with.

    Suggestions for developing meaningful friendships? (Please do not tell me to adopt a pet for companionship. It’s not the same.)

    #1109453 Reply

    It’s really hard to make new friends as an adult, especially as you get older. How old are you?

    I don’t think you have to be doing interesting things with other people in order to be interesting. Do you have hobbies? Read? Stay up to date on current events and politics? Do you have opinions about things? If you’re a good listener I’m surprised you’re struggling to keep a conversation going. I find most people love to talk about themselves.

    All that said, this is an interesting time. I’m not sure where you are but I think a lot of people are struggling with suddenly being thrust back into a more normal socially active time. A lot of people I know are exhausted and overbooked and constantly canceling. It’s hard but try to take the rejections or cancellations less personally and keep at it. It’s hard. If you feel burnt out from trying, take a break. I’m sorry you are struggling to make friends. Good luck.

    #1109457 Reply

    Well, what does it mean to you to be an interesting person in the first place? I ask cause I do think it’s all relative.

    I moved to my current city by myself in my late 20s. I didn’t know anyone and spent a lot of time alone initially. The experience made me that much more comfortable doing things alone. Maybe you can challenge yourself to do some of the interesting things you want to do alone. Start small — I started with things like taking myself to museums or out to lunch.

    Social skills are just that — skills that can be practiced and improved! When you’re around people, do you ask questions about themselves? I can be quieter, too, but I do pretty well with new people because I have a lot of practice and ask a lot of practice. I’m currently in my 30s and glad for these skills since many friends are having babies atm and I’ve found myself back in friend-making mode as I look for women in a more similar stage of life.

    Have you tried any groups that might lead to better conversation than volunteering or outdoor groups? I like reading and made a couple good friends through a book club. I found it easier to get to know people in that environment than, for instance, the small group fitness gym I joined.

    It sounds like you’re doing a lot right so keep at it. You don’t mention where you live but before I moved here I lived in a suburban area of a different state where lots of young people left and the ones still around had the same friends since childhood. I found making new friends there way harder than in the big city I’m in now, where there are lots of transplants. Either way, developing new, meaningful friendships takes time so don’t get discouraged if its not happening fast. It took me literal years to have the network I have in my current city.

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 3 weeks ago by Copa.
    #1109684 Reply

    Thank you, Copa and Anonymousse. I genuinely appreciate your taking the time to share your insights, and your suggestions were just what I needed.

    Most of my typical activities were put on hold for the last two years due to the pandemic and like everyone else, I am finding some of my relationships survived and some didn’t. During the pandemic, almost everyone re-evaluated their lifestyles and goals, and most people decided to downsize and re-prioritize nearly everything in their lives. Many people trimmed their circle of acquaintances so they could have more family time. Some of my former friends now hold different and somewhat extreme/concerning political views, so our paths have parted for that reason, generally because they want to invest their time in people who share their views.

    You have motivated me to try some new, fun things. I am going to use your suggestions. In addition, I am trying a free app, Boo, to help connect with new friends. It’s also for dating, but I am filtering for people who want friendships because that’s what I’m seeking. The app uses a short personality assessment to help match people with complimentary personalities. I will continue to check the local Meetup groups for events as well. For safety reasons, outdoor activities have been my go-to during the pandemic, but I am now feeling more comfortable with additional activities.

    #1109689 Reply

    First, I want to echo what others have said that it’s difficult to make/maintain friendships as an adult and that a lot of people have reduced their socializing during COVID. I had a really robust social life before the pandemic and now I find it really hard to initiate social gatherings or even work up the energy to attend them. Your friends pulling back may have nothing to do with you.

    I also doubt that you are boring, or that it’s causing people not to hang around with you. (doing volunteer work and being part of an outdoor group sounds pretty interesting!) When I think about what makes me want to be around my friends, it has nothing to do with how interesting their lives are and all about how they treat me. Do they genuinely listen to me and show interest in my life? Are they there for me in a pinch when I need them? Is spending time with them relaxing and stress-free? Those are the things I look for.

    If you struggle to keep conversations going that’s probably more about social skills than being boring. I struggle with socializing sometimes, too, so what I find helpful is having a handful of open-ended questions on hand before going out with someone. For instance, if they just went on vacation, I will ask questions about that. If they have a loved one who has been sick or injured, I will inquire about their well-being. If they have kids or pets, I will ask about them. Most people actually love to talk about themselves but need a nudge to get them going.

    #1109691 Reply

    To Daisy’s point: the way you ask questions can generate a more depthy discussion. For example instead of asking “How was the ballet?” ask “What did you enjoy most about your evening at the ballet?” That could lead to broader topics such as ” I really enjoyed getting dress up again”. Questions that help you learn more about who people “are”.

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