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.)