“My friends are good people, but I find them really boring to be around. Our conversations are so dull, and I feel like we don’t have anything in common. Sometimes I find myself thinking, ‘I’ve got really lame friends.’ Is there any way I can learn to find them more interesting?”
If spending time with your friends has started to feel like a tedious obligation rather than a chance to have fun, this guide is for you. Friendships can become stale over time, but it’s possible to reconnect and enjoy hanging out again.
If you’ve been friends with someone for a long time, you may have fallen into a rut. For example, perhaps you always go out for drinks on a Friday night or watch movies on Sunday afternoons. Sharing a fresh activity together gives you something to talk about, which can inspire more interesting conversations. Even people with boring personality traits can be better company when they’re trying something new.
- Play a new board game or video game
- Go to a museum or art gallery
- Try a new sport, such as rock climbing
- Take a class or workshop
- Take a weekend trip to a new place
If you need some more inspiration, check out this list of social activities.
You could also ask your friend to teach you a new skill. For example, if you admire their drawing talent, ask them to give you a few sketching lessons. They might find it rewarding to pass on their knowledge, you’ll learn something new, and the activity will give you something to discuss.
When you and your friends talk about the same things all the time, one or both of you might start to get bored. Make a special effort to learn something new about your friends. Even if you’ve known them for years, there’s probably something new to discover. Here’s a list of deep questions to ask your friends. Their answers may help you see them in a new light.
Some people are quiet and don’t talk much about themselves, which can make them come across as boring. But if you are patient and show that you are willing to listen, they might open up. Read some practical tips on how to get people to open up to you.
Conversations are more interesting when you discuss a shared hobby, but your friendship isn’t necessarily doomed if you and your friend have nothing in common. With some effort and imagination, you can usually find some topic of conversation that you both enjoy.
For example, maybe they love old movies, but you find watching films boring and prefer to read novels. Although you probably can’t hold an in-depth conversation about film, you could both talk about how your favorite works of art have changed you.
If your friend likes to talk about a hobby that doesn’t interest you, it’s easy to zone out. But if you look for the “why” behind their interests, even dull subjects might seem more engaging.
Try asking a few open-ended questions that encourage your friend to talk about the story behind their hobbies. Open-ended questions usually start with “what,” “why,” or “how.”
- “What is it about that TV show that you enjoy?”
- “What made you decide to take up cross-country skiing?”
- “What do you love most about keeping snails?”
- “Why do you want to build a rock garden?”
- “How did you decide to train as a karate instructor?”
Friendships often ebb and flow. When a friend goes through a major life change, they might be focused on other people and projects. Their mind might be on one thing only, which can make them come across as boring or self-absorbed.
For example, newly-married friends and friends who have become parents for the first time may want to spend most of their free time with their family. When you do get together, they might not have anything else to talk about besides their spouse or children.
Keep in touch with your friends, but at the same time try to meet people who have space in their lives for new friendships. Your old friends may be eager to reconnect in the future when they aren’t so busy.
If you have friends who have never met, consider organizing a group outing or party and introducing them. When we interact with different people, it’s natural to let a new side of our personality come out. Mixing your friends can create an interesting new group dynamic. Add some structured activities like party games to break the ice.
If you have been friends with someone for a long time, you often become very familiar with their stories. Some people tend to tell the same anecdotes over and over again, and this can make your conversations boring.
When your friend starts telling you a story you know well, gently remind them that you’ve heard it before.
Friend: Something really weird happened to me on the subway once. I was coming home late at night, and there weren’t many people around. I was just sitting there in my seat, and I heard this strange whistling sound-
You [interrupting but keeping a friendly tone]: Ah yes, I remember, turns out there was a guy traveling with a parrot! And he started asking you for money! Right?
By smiling and keeping your tone light, you’re showing your friend that you don’t mind them bringing up the story, but you’ve already heard it before. You can then prompt them to talk about something else, perhaps by asking a question about what they’ve been up to recently.
If you expect your friends to act lively and entertaining no matter what you do together, you will probably be disappointed. When you invite them to hang out, pick activities you know bring out the best in them. Ask yourself, “Are my friends likely to enjoy themselves if I ask them to do this activity, or will they probably get bored?”
For example, you might have a couple of friends who are a lot of fun when you’re playing board games but aren’t good at holding interesting one-on-one conversations. Or you might have a friend who loves to chat about politics or philosophy over coffee but thinks games are dull. Tailor your invitations to suit their personalities and preferences.
The steps in this article won’t work if your friends don’t want anything to change. They might be perfectly happy with how your friendship is right now and be reluctant to try something new. You can change your behavior, but you can’t control how your friends respond.
If you’ve tried to break away from your old routines but the friendship still feels stale, or if you’re starting to dread hanging out with someone, it might be time to reevaluate your friendship. Try focusing on meeting like-minded people and building meaningful connections based on shared values and interests.