I have a low tolerance for boredom. This is not to be confused with purposely doing nothing. The former takes work; the latter is bliss.
Talking to boring people, for example, is exhausting. As a gal who’s lucky to be surrounded by people who are amusing, inspiring and witty on a regular basis, I sometimes forget that not everyone is born with a personality. There are, in fact, a surprising number of people in the public pool of everyday interaction who are not.
In my eager, wide-eyed youth, I found it not just a challenge, but my social duty to find common ground with every single random person I was introduced to. I once spent 45 (sober) minutes talking with a drum-and-bass-loving, hardcore vegan from Florida. He wasn’t even that cute, and yet I felt compelled to find something to bond over. With music and cheese obviously off the list, I wracked my brain for something I knew about healthy choices. That’s how we ended up discussing how people fart in yoga class.
However, I’m now at the point in adulthood where extending my cordiality is no longer a necessity, especially if it makes me vulnerable to tedium.
I was recently at a small dinner party where I ran into old acquaintances I see every other random year. For this group, I pulled out the easy standards—What have you been up to? How is work going? How are your babies gestating? I tried to riff off their one- and two-sentence answers (“Six months along, eh? I knew a gal who once brought her baby to a club and the kid slept through the whole thing! Newborns are resilient!”), but then came the head nods, and I knew that they weren’t going to play along. It was up to me again to find a new topic to discuss. (The Kardashians! They must watch the Kardashians!) But then I imagined an earnest discussion where their contribution would be, at best, “Oh, yeah, her marriage didn’t last too long, huh,” and I wouldn’t be able to fake it any longer. So instead, I got out of my chair and walked over to someone I knew could discuss the finer points of Scott Disick becoming the most charming member of that entire family, or, you know, the physics of nuclear fission or radioactivity or something. I didn’t even bother giving the other ladies an “excuse me” or “I gotta grab another drink” blow-off, which totally would have been acceptable and deserved for having instigated the discussion on “Which is cuter: the in-facing or out-facing baby bjorn?”
I guess to clarify, I now have a low tolerance for averting boredom. I’d rather purposely do nothing alone.