I Don’t Understand Being Bored

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I’ve previously written about this as a major pet peeve of mine, and it still is, although I like to think I’ve mellowed out about it compared to even seven years ago. The “pet peeve” is that I don’t understand being bored. Being bored is an odd thing to me. I have friends and family members who tell me they get bored for one reason or another, and I have a hard time relating to the concept. Seriously, I don’t even have anything witty to say in this post other than, how? How do you get bored?

Sure, I can be indecisive at times, where I float between different activities, like watching a television show or writing or reading or cleaning or running errands, or whatever the task is, with the point being that I find it hard to settle on any one thing. Depression generally drives that, as I have a hard time focusing on anything because of interest issues and locking in, but I’m never “bored.” Even in those darkest, spiraling moments, it’s never boredom in the sense of how I understand boredom. Plus, it’s hard to be bored when you’re actively spiraling. It’s too all-consuming to be “boring.”

Sure, I have days where I don’t feel productive, like today, where I spent all day winding up to write for National Novel Writing Month in 2020, was able to put in an hour of writing flurry and to be fair, accomplish the word count goal of 1,700 words, and then went back to being unproductive. Unproductive being watching endless YouTube clips of Penn & Teller Fool Us on the CW. I’m obsessed at the moment. Side note, isn’t it odd how hungry you get when you’re doing nothing? But doing “nothing” isn’t boring to me, either. Being unproductive, while a source of negative self-shame, isn’t boring.

Sure, I’ve experienced external things happening to me that could be seen as boring. For example, I’m sure through my dozen and a half years of schooling, there were lectures that weren’t exactly grabbing my interest, but even in those moments where you might think you’ve finally captured a situation in which I would be considered bored, I’m still not in a traditional sense. That is, my mind is likely wandering at that point to fun images in my head or stories I want to write or other things I want to be doing that are more interesting than that lecture, but it’s not boring per se.

“…I also believe that introversion is my greatest strength. I have such a strong inner life that I’m never bored and only occasionally lonely. No matter what mayhem is happening around me, I know I can always turn inward.”
― Susan Cain

So, being bored? I don’t know if it’s a function of my introverted hermit-like personality, but I am extremely comfortable by myself. If you tell me that I will spend Saturday and Sunday, generally speaking, my off days from work, doing nothing but entertaining myself, whether with movies, wrestling, TV, books, writing, whatever I conjure up, bring it on. I’m fine. I know plenty of people who would shudder at that, though. And I get it.

But boredom is a weird concept to me: What a dang world we live in, folks. I have an unimaginable assortment of the world at my fingertips through the internet and various streaming services, and myriad books on myriad subjects and so many other things to do that … how do you run out of items and get bored? Okay, maybe you’re not a reader, and maybe you’re not a political junkie scrolling Twitter all the time like I am, and maybe you’re not as enamored by YouTube videos, and maybe you’re sick of streaming things … I get all of that. But that’s still only a small portion of what you could be doing! Or again, doing nothing and being comfortable doing nothing.

Honestly, I like to think of myself as a charitable person with an open mind who can empathize with people, but I have a hard time understanding or, for lack of a better word, feeling sorry, for someone who is bored. How?! How are you bored? There’s so much to do, and even doing nothing isn’t boring. At least to me. When someone tells me they’re bored, it almost is borderline offensive to me. HOW?! When I was younger, and at my most uncharitable, I used to think someone who gets bored must be a boring person or perhaps not someone comfortable with just themselves. That doesn’t seem fair, though. Some people truly need that external stimuli and to be around other people. Personality differences and such, I get it.

What do you think? Do you get bored?

6 thoughts

  1. I was thinking along the same lines myself the other day. Introverts and extroverts are incapable of ever truly understanding one another, each can only see from their own perspective. How can the light understand the darkness. I wonder if boring is simply an extrovert’s word for anxiety?

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    1. Jill, thank you for reading and commenting! That’s a fascinating way to frame it, and I think you may be on to something with boredom really being anxiety for extroverts.

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  2. I don’t think you’re giving depression, especially major depression, enough credit. It touches everything. That lack of focus leads to boredom for me. Every show or movie? Yawn. Writing or reading? No thanks. I don’t mind being alone really, but having another person around helps. Like when I’m running Darlene and her friends I don’t get too bored. But when I’m in that dark hole everything is boring. Or maybe bored is different than feeling unfocused and dead. Idk. Interesting post though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading, man. Right, I feel like there’s a line between the depression onslaught and being bored. With the former, I don’t see it as active boredom, but the absence of feeling, which is different. Thanks for commenting!

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  3. I couldn’t agree more, as I often have so much I want to do and so many hobbies. Sometimes I even worry that I like doing too many things and as the saying goes “A jack of all trades is a master of none,” but I’ve learned to not worry about this so much and just enjoy all the different things there are to do. I think introversion does play a big part in not getting bored. An introvert might even find that the time spent with others is being wasted when other things can be getting done during that time. Thanks for sharing! And that quote from Susan Cain is great!

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    1. Oh gosh, I relate to that point about introversion a lot! That when I’m with others, I can warm up and enjoy it, buuuut I’m also thinking about all the alone things I could be doing instead. 😅 thank you for reading and commenting!

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