A post at Slate.com discusses eight ways to tell whether you’re being boring. While the article wasn’t written for online dating specifically, I think the article is very applicable. Some of the tips might even be a little surprising to some, such as why interruption is actually a sign of healthy conversation
I think the article provides very good tips on recognizing if you’re being boring. And the truth is, many times we can’t see that we’re not being very interesting. We’re excited about our topic so make the assumption the other person must be also, never picking up on how bored they are.
Turning Around A Boring Conversation
If you keep the tips from the Slate article in mind on your future dates and realize you are boring your date…that’s great! I don’t mean it’s great that you’ve bored someone but it is great that you’re picking up on it. This recognition will provide you with the opportunity to turn things around when you may have otherwise never even realized there was a problem. Here are some tips that I would use if I felt I were boring my date:
1. First, who has been doing most of the talking? If it’s been you the first step I would take it to simply allow your date to chime in. Sometimes the other person may become bored not because of the topic but because they realize they’re not being given a chance to speak. The conversation has become a monologue or, even worse, you might be preaching. Take a breath! See if they have anything to say.
2. If the problem doesn’t seem to stem from talking too much…you should try to think of a topic they are interested in and see if you can get them talking about it (the more excited they are about it, the better). Assuming you’ve met through an online dating service and they filled in their profile well, you should have some idea of what they are interested in. If you are using a service like eHarmony where the profile contains less information, when you reach the stage in the service where you ask each other open-ended questions, you may want ask: “What are you most passionate about in life?”. This way if you do end up meeting, you’ll be prepared for the worst case scenario.
3. If it’s your first date, it could be possible to confuse boredom with nervousness. If you suspect your date might be nervous I would recommend telling a funny story about yourself, even if it is mildly embarrassing. The goal here it to help them loosen up, to let them know that you’re not taking yourself too seriously (which will hopefully encourage them to do the same). If you’ve been dating online for a while, you probably have some funny stories to share. In my experience, these were the best stories to share as most of the women I dated also had funny stories to share as well. Even if they were actually bored and not nervous, this approach isn’t a bad idea.
4. Finally, even before you meet you should be prepared to keep the conversation moving. Some tips for this can be found in my previous article, first date questions and conversation starters, and I also discuss first date conversations in great detail in my online dating guide.
Knowing When to Walk Away
Sometimes your date may be bore due to no fault of your own. He or she may have decided early on that they aren’t interested in you. Some people lack class in this situation and will simply “lock up”. These people are not worth your time. I discuss this type of situation is great detail in my article discussing when dates go bad, but it basically comes down to the fact that you should just end the date as quickly and as gracefully as you can. If you’ve put an effort in to be cordial, kind and interested in them but they refuse to contribute to the date, it’s time to end it.