Are you boring?

Heck no! You know you’re interesting—you’ve got cool hobbies, adventurous friends, and an awesome job. Then again, that’s exactly what a boring person would say.

The best way to tell if you’re boring is to look closely at your habits. Oh, and try to keep an open mind; nobody likes to admit that they’re dull, but admitting it is the first step.

You might be boring if:

1. Most of your conversations consist of small talk.

Occasionally talking about the weather or the local sports team won’t offend anyone; that’s the purpose of small talk, after all. However, refrain from engaging in small talk when you’re out with friends or family. There’s nothing particularly interesting about the weather, in most instances, and by bringing it up, you’re simply showing that you’ve got nothing interesting to say.

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2. You’re not really passionate about anything.

Anything can be interesting, provided that someone’s interested in it. Whether you’re excited about sports, books, movies, or something as wildly specific as airplane adhesives, be passionate about something.

Of course, you’ll want to avoid diving into complex subjects during casual conversation. Practice explaining your hobbies to other people in a basic way; show them why you’re interested in the subject, rather than droning on about minute details.

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3. You love to talk about yourself—but you don’t like to listen.

Nobody likes to hear someone drone on and on about themselves. You could meet the most interesting woman in the world, but if all she did was talk about herself, you’d likely come away from the discussion disappointed.

You should feel confident enough to let the other person control the conversation for a while. After all, listening is half the battle.

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4. You frequently stick to one or two-word answers.

If you’re anxious, you might stick to “yes” or “no” responses in conversation. That puts the other person on the hook since they’ll feel like they need to fill in the silence.

By all means, be a good listener, but be willing to contribute to the discussion when it’s your turn to speak.

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5. You’re not a big fan of variety.

If you do the same things every day, what are you going to talk about when someone asks you what you’ve been up to?

That doesn’t mean that you need to take salsa dancing lessons on Wednesday, go rock climbing on Thursday, and attend the opera on Friday night. There’s nothing wrong with spending the night at home, but make sure that you’re making an effort to experience new things.

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6. You don’t have strong opinions.

Granted, you don’t always have to express those opinions—nobody wants to hear about your political theories when you’re at lunch with co-workers—but if you’re never interested in having a thoughtful discussion about an argumentative subject, you might not be such an interesting conversationalist.

Of course, you don’t want to go too far in the other direction; don’t argue every point, and be sure to listen to the other side of the argument.

But don’t be afraid to occasionally jump into the fray, either. After all, a little bit of conflict can make life much more interesting—and less boring.

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