Boring or Shy?

Once upon a time I went out with a nice guy. Slightly boring, but truly nice. On our last date he was just starting to get interesting. Opening up, I suppose, as we became more comfortable with each other. Seeing that he had the potential to be both nice and intriguing, I decided to go out again. He did not.

A few weeks later a friend of a friend was at a Shabbos meal with him where he mentioned that he’d recently gone out with a whole string of truly boring women, and where were the interesting ones hiding?

Well thank you, Mr. Fascinating. happen to not think I’m boring. I enjoy my company very much, e’en, yea, constantly day and night.

I suspect most people feel this way about themselves. Even the guy who assured me that he was the least exciting, adventurous, and well-rounded individual I would ever meet seemed to think his company was still charming. (It wasn’t bad, to be honest. If you don’t get bored of someone being flippant to mocking about anything exciting, adventurous, and non-academic.) And yet, within two dates we think we can come to the conclusion that someone else is boring. Or at least, more boring than ourselves.

I wonder which is the more realistic issue. Do we have an inflated sense of our own interestingness? Or are we too quick to judge the slow-to-warm as boring? Do we have skewed criteria for interestingness?

Before anyone jumps in and says “What’s so important about being interesting anyway, you’re looking for a spouse not an entertainer,” obviously, you need to want to spend time with said future spouse. If they bore you, you’re never going to hang around for the proposal. Interesting need not mean he’s raising funds to build schoolhouses in Mozambique. He could just have a quirky sense of humor or be really into shuffleboard. (Which, let’s face it, is fascinating. I mean, who on earth can be really into shuffleboard? I want to know more about such a person!)

Shy people, like me and my date with the boring dates, are at an especial disadvantage in shidduch dating, where a 4th date can have the deeper meaning of meaning you want to get deeper. You have three shots at being interesting enough for a Fourth Date. And if you don’t cut it, you’ll hear through the grapevine how boring you were.

The crazy part is that two shy people don’t necessarily a mismatch make. Take, as an example, this true story about two young women who moved into an apartment in the Heights together. Neither had ever met before, but had mutual friends who vouched for the sanity of the other. Although both were lots of fun when cozily ensconced in their social circles, they were both introverts, a little insecure, and were not great at breaking ice.

“We literally did not talk to each other for like, two months,” one of them said. “Well, we said stuff like ‘Is this yours?’ and ‘Maybe we should move the couch here?’ but that was it.”

It took several meals with mutual friends before the two started chatting, and even longer before they began intertwining their social calendars. Then they discovered that they liked the same music, had complementary preferences in housework, and both wanted to take a flower-arranging course. Before a year was out they were finishing each other’s sentences. And now they’re so tight they’ve been known to impersonate a married couple ironically.

So, shy people: even if the person opposite you isn’t obviously shy, consider that maybe they just might be slow to warm. And then: shy people of the world unite! (Okay, couldn’t resist that one.)

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6 thoughts on “Boring or Shy?

  1. I love this; I have a tendency to be….overbearing, perhaps, in dating situations. I don’t do it intentionally, but I have a very forward personality. Ironically, I refuse to make the first move.
    So I tend to find a lot of “shy” guys. I really appreciate this take though!

  2. There is a difference between shyness and introversion, as TIME magazine clarified. Introverts do not shun or fear social interaction, just they find the company of many as opposed to a few to be unnervingly overstimulating. Shy individuals are more timid, and spook easily, whereas introverts have no such issues.

  3. So, does this mean one might have to *gasp* take more than two whole months to get to know the person they’ll spend the rest of their lives with? Heavens, I must be a lunatic for suggesting such foolishness.

  4. One of the things that attracted me to my husband was that he is of equal or greater intelligence than me. IOW, he is not boring, and can teach me stuff.

    HOWEVER – after a few months or a year, the interesting things became boring. And I was just left with the nice guy that I’d married, minus the interesting part that brought us together. (Do I mind? No. I only mind when he tells me something “interesting” that he’s told me at least a hundred times already.)

    My friends, however, are still talking about what a smart, interesting guy I married. And I keep telling the single ones that no, he’s not that interesting anymore, and looking for someone interesting is nice, but even if you find one, after a while it’ll get boring. They don’t get it; they keep insisting that at least he should be interesting at first.

    Sigh.

    I don’t expect anyone to get it anymore.

    Let the world stay single if they keep insisting on “chemistry” and “interesting”!

    Shall I was my hands of shidduchim and let my friends just find their own men?

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