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Is it possible to encourage a boring person to change their lifestyle?


mbee

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I have a friend who is very boring. So boring to the point where I am losing desire to hang out with him. He is fun to talk to. We make great conversation BUT only at his place and watching TV is the ONLY thing he likes to do. He wont go to movies, events, dinner, nothing. He's like this with other friends too, not just me. For instance his old buddies came to visit and I asked what they were doing the whole 2 days they visited him. His response was they were just hanging out at his place, watching TV and drinking beer. I've done some fun things with him like museums, ONE movie, and a couple of other outings but it took a tremendous effort on my part. He kept forgetting the time, and pretty much kept flaking until the minute before. Going with him wasn't even fun since he complained about walking for an hour, some guy loudly munching on his popcorn or the amount the excursion cost.

 

I have a very interesting life. I travel often, have different hobbies, quite a few friends and love going out and doing things. I enjoy watching movies at home but like I said, he enjoys watching TV (the news and reality TV). I convinced him to watch a movie with me at his place and he fell asleep 20 minutes in. I'm not sure what to do about this friendship. We are polar opposites with our lifestyles. I really enjoy talking to him, joking with him and how we interact but our interactions our limited to him inviting me over to watch TV, and honestly I just can't do this anymore. I sent him a some texts yesterday saying I was concerned for him over his lack of enthusiasm in life.

 

This morning he texted me saying he thought about what I said and wanted to go out with me and some friends for drinks and a movie today. Yet, he bailed again, last minute with some excuse and just stayed home watching TV. We are supposed to go to a festival tomorrow night that I'm looking forward to going to but it's just me and him. Yet the excuses have already begun (i.e., it will be cold, I preferred going Friday night (even though it doesn't fit with my schedule and all he's doing is watching TV), how long are we walking/standing around). I'm actually considering canceling with him and going with someone else later in the week because it feels like a headache. I don't know what to do. Again we interact great together, but friendships involve far more than just conversations and I'm starting to get ridiculously bored around him. He loves hanging out with me but seems unable to offer any other alternative other than watching TV. Is there anything I can do to help encourage him to be more outgoing? Is it appropriate to have a conversation with him on the topic? If I do, how do I go about it?

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He could be your hang-out-and-joke-and-converse-at-his-place friend, and you can develop other friends for movies, events, dancing, etc. As your friend he doesn't have to be a perfect match for everything you enjoy. But if you think of him as a boring person, and you are resenting him, then maybe you should let this friendship go or you'll both be unhappy. You don't have to change him, and you don't have to give up what you enjoy, either.

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I have a friend like this and I wouldn't try to encourage him to change. He is the way he is and he probably likes it that way. I don't think friendships have to involve more than conversations. My friend who is like yours is someone I mainly spend time talking to. He is a great listener and I feel like I can tell him things and I won't be judged. At first it annoyed me that he wouldn't hang out and would flake out and then I realized there is no point in being someone's friend only on my terms. In order to be his friend I need to appreciate him the way he is. I take the friendship because it has many positives (mainly talking to someone I have certain things in common) and I accept the negatives as part of the package. You would be much more content if you did the same, with all your friends.

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Has he offered any real explanation about why he doesn't like to do anything else? Is he uncomfortable going to new places? How does he react if you invite him to your place?

 

His reactions make me wonder if he has some sort of anxiety going on about going out and being away from his "space" for too long. Is there any games or anything he might be interested in doing at his place?

 

You might have to be content with having him as a conversation partner/sounding board, and rely on other friends for outside entertainment.

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Has he offered any real explanation about why he doesn't like to do anything else? Is he uncomfortable going to new places? How does he react if you invite him to your place?

 

His reactions make me wonder if he has some sort of anxiety going on about going out and being away from his "space" for too long. Is there any games or anything he might be interested in doing at his place?

 

You might have to be content with having him as a conversation partner/sounding board, and rely on other friends for outside entertainment.

 

He may have anxiety about being away from his space. I'm not sure honestly. I've suggested board games since I love board games but he doesn't like playing any games. He only likes playing games on his phone and it seems weird to be on my phone playing a game with someone in person. Like I said, I suggested a movie since I love watching movies but he fell asleep 20 minutes in. I love lengthy TV shows like Breaking Bad or Dexter but he refuses to watch those shows, saying he gets bored with long TV series.

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I like what you say but my main issue is the friendship feels very one-sided and selfish. I have a friend similar to him, kind of keeps to herself, doesn't like going out, but we have a great friendship. The reason we have a great friendship is she does make sacrifices for me. I don't invite her out a ton, but she does happily join a couple of activities over a several month period to make me happy just cause she knows that's what friendship takes. I feel like she cares about my happiness and puts on a cheerful smile, even when I know it's not her cup of tea. We both do that for each other.

 

This guy however does not adjust for me at all. All he can offer is a conversation while watching TV. Like I said, I tried to meet in the middle and watch a movie at his place but he fell asleep 20 minutes in which made me feel like he didn't even care about my personal needs. I thought today when he invited himself out to be with my friends that he was finally making an effort and that made me happy, since it showed he cared about my needs to some degree, but he canceled yet again. I don't know, it's just hard for me to believe that friendships should be this one-sided. Also our conversations are like that too.

 

I'll ask him about his day non-stop but he wont ask me about work, all the cool things I'm doing, nothing. For example, here;s a text snipped from yesterday.

 

Him: What are you up to?

Me: Just came back from a holiday party. Am back home now. What are you up to?

Him: Nothing.

 

That's it. Didn't even ask about my party or anything.

 

We have good conversations but for some odd reason he wont even ask me about the fun things I'm doing or talk to them about me... For the record, another reason I brought this up is because he once told me he knows he's living in a bubble, how he's not happy with his life, and feels like he isn't doing anything. He expresses envy at other people's lives and happiness. He tells me about his dreams that involve DOING things... he wants to see the world, go to different places, experience new things, yet when I encourage him to do these things, he comes up with an excuse left and right. The whole thing just confuses me.

 

My friend who doesn't like going out, she's happy like that. That's her lifestyle and she's just a homebody so I get her and respect it. He however wants more than this, or at least that's what he says to me.

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The first thing that popped in my head was that maybe he is depressed. Depression can look like that sometimes.

 

If you invite him over to your place for something low key, would he come? Or something like a coffee shop? Anything low key like that but outside of his house?

 

I had a friend who was depressed (for a period of time, she got treatment and is better now). And at that time, she would tell me how even meeting at the coffee shop was a big deal to her. It was difficult. She had expressed interest in getting fitter; so I was inviting her to the gym with me. She would bail regularly.

 

You don't have to invest more than you want. Just send a shout now and again. Leave the door open for them. Or don't.

 

But I can tell you this. If your friend is depressed, the last thing he is going to want to hear about is your "very interesting life". The opposite effect from what you are thinking is going to happen - it'll shut them down more, and make them feel threatened and further from being able to relate to you.

 

And there is nothing saying you can't keep it honest and real. If you are bored, you can say "I am feeling a little bored. What about you? ". If he isn't, you can leave and just say "loved spending time with you, thanks for the great chat, I just need to get moving a little bit or else I start to get anxious". I do this some times. I have a very difficult time sitting and watching tv or movies for long, or board games for that matter, or sitting around just drinking beer in a bar or whatever. It's not about the company being interesting or not; it's just how I am.

 

I wouldn't try to change him, nor force feed "inspiration" on him either. And keep in mind, he might find some things about your boring too, or irritating. You could always have a heart to heart...if you are open to that.

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he IS not boring, you THINK he is boring...I am not an outgoing person either and I would resent a friend who thought I was boring and that wanted to change me and have conversations with me about changing my lifestyle and said they were concerned about my lack of whatever whereas I am very happy the way I am, doing the things I love to do....

not everyone loves to go out, travel, go to festivals and all that, doesn't mean they are boring....

but if you start to resent him and cannot be his friend for who he is, then just cut him loose, or accept him as he is...

edit, just read the part where he wants to do stuff and change his life, maybe he has some severe anxieties that prevent him from taking action? or he just says he wants that because he feels judged and doesn't really want that kind of lifestyle..

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I'm in a similar situation with my friend she's very much a homebody and rarely goes out with us. She might join us if it's something she really want to do. She even got herself a boyfriend who lives in a different country so she'd have an excuse not to leave the house very often. She's depressed and I do think that contributes.

 

I'm going on holiday with her next year. I'm hoping she isn't going to be as selfish as last year where she would only do things she wanted to do.

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As with any relationships, you need to accept the person for what they ARE, not what you want them to be. I have a friend who has an extreme reaction to chemicals - the sort you get in toiletries, fragrances etc - and doesn't leave the house unless it's to go somewhere outdoorsy. This means no movies, cafés, bars, theatres or anywhere else where there are people wearing perfume. So when I go to see her, we will either go out for a walk or stay in.

 

With your friend, if you accept that he won't do anything other than watch TV etc, then visit when that's what you feel like doing. He sounds like the last person on earth to plan to go to a festival with; indeed, find someone else who's into it and have a great time. But this guy is really not that person!

 

Your friend is probably quite content as he is, or may have some kind of social phobia, but he clearly isn't going to budge on this. Stop trying to make him, accept that he's the guy you laugh and joke with in front of the TV, and find someone else for the other activities.

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He would come to my place, maybe, although he hasn't yet. I invited him out for coffee and pie, just me and him, and he couldn't do it. The most he could do was a drive thru. I think you are right about him being depressed. I appreciate all the responses but like I said, the reason I'm concerned is he has told expressed to me that he's not happy with his life, wants to do more with his life, wants to go out and do things. Actually the very first day I met him, he said he wasn't doing things because he didn't have any friends to things with and gave me a whole list of things he wanted to do with a friend that include the zoo, aquarium, festivals and so on. After we clicked as friends, I invited him to these things and he just came up with excuse after excuse. Again, we did do some of these things but he seemed uncomfortable leading up to it and during it he seemed unable to enjoy it without making some excuse or being antsy.

 

For the record, about 2 months ago I told him in a friendly way that I wouldn't invite him to things so he doesn't have to feel pressured to go. He got visibly concerned and said that he did want to be invited and to not stop inviting him.

 

Again, I appreciate everyone's advice but I do have a couple of boring friends like I said before. However, I have 0 problems with these friends because they have NO DESIRE to do things, NONE AT ALL and have explained to me they just like staying home. I can also talk to these same friends about every aspect of my life and they do go to dinner with me once in a blue moon just because they are my friend and know I like to leave the house at times.

 

My concern with the friend I'm talking about here.... is he has expressed he WANTS more out of life, WANTS to do things and isn't happy. And every time we do things it feels strange. It's still fun, but I can tell he's uncomfortable about something. Anyway, I do like your advice about keeping the door open. He keeps texting me about the festival tonight and saying he's looking forward to it, so maybe he will actually go and maybe we'll have a good time.

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I considered that he might be saying this because he doesn't want to feel judged. However, I went to go pick up some groceries with his mom (she visited when I was around and needed to grab something and I offered to take her) a couple of weeks ago and she expressed concern for him. She kept saying she has no idea when he'll get his life together and just DO something. She also said that it's clear he's envious of his brother's lifestyle (his brother is a semi-famous TV actor) since he gets to travel a lot and meet new people, and how she thinks he could have that but for some reason he just wont do it. He's very close to his Mom and they talk about everything so I'm sure her concerns were legitimate.

 

I thought he might have severe anxieties, but he works in sales. He interacts with people everyday and is really great at his job. He just got promoted to office manager last month. He met me very randomly, one on one and we interacted great but he did tell me that's highly unusual for him and I have many quiet and shy friends, so I'm used to being conversational with new friends. Is it possible for anxieties to not reflect in work but on a personal level (i.e., friendships, relationships, meeting new people?)? I'm not too familiar with the subject.

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oh yeah anxieties can certainly not reflect in the work environment but do show up on the personal level, people learn to put on a work face, whereas at home they can be themselves..

I know someone who you would never guess he has issues like that when you see him at work, but once I got to know him in person, completely different story....

and he may be close to his mom and she may have her concerns, but that doesn't mean it is what he really feels, he may also feel the need to say stuff like wanting to go out, just by social pressure..

even when meeting you at first, he may have said that to give off the " right" impression, make a good impression, but not mean it, I have done the same in the past, I no longer do that, people either accept me as I am or they don't, but in the past I felt I needed to make the right impression and said stuff like wanting to travel, go to concerts, because those are supposed normal activities, I no longer do that, I love being at home and I am not ashamed to say so anymore

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Can I just suggest one other thing? Perhaps dropping describing your friends as boring, though?! It's somewhat offensive IMO.

 

For something different. As an example of how relative 'boring' is. Very recently a friend of mine was sooo excited to attend Olympic Trials for Curling that were being held in my city. She, and a small group she went with, were seriously SO enthused and this was a huge deal to her. I met them all for lunch one day in between games. Of course, there was talk of curling. And who they saw, how people were playing, who was advancing, etc.

 

Curling actually bores me to tears. At one point, I had expressed surprise that there were as many attendees to the event as there were. Enough to fill a stadium. My friend was so shocked and said "It's the OLYMPICS TRIALS!". ....haha. See, it totally depends what you find boring or not.

 

If your friend was bored enough with doing what he is doing, he would find something else to do. He's doing it cause he wants to. I understand what you are saying about him saying he isn't happy and wanting to do other things...but his actions contradict his mouth. His actions say he is ok with what he is doing for now.

 

It's not your responsibility to inject 'excitement' into his life. When he wants something different, he'll go looking for it. He'll do it.

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Sure, I wont describe a friend as boring in this forum in the future. I did this mainly because it's a forum and a bit easier to say that than try to be technically correct about it haha. To people I know in person, I'd never say he was boring person... just something along the lines of being bored with the situation. Anyway thanks for your explanation! I appreciate it. I do understand the differences between boring. I have many friends who are different from me and like different things. I have a good friend who hates traveling but loves sports (I find playing and watching sports boring). I just want to clarify that since maybe I came off like I only enjoy having friends who like the same things as me or who are similar to me. That's not the case at all. The difference with this situation, is it's a friend who says he's unhappy with his lifestyle AND I've never had a friend who just likes to stay home and only watch reality TV and the news. I have friends who are homebodies but they enjoy reading, writing, watching TV, movies and we have more things in common to talk about or to share in. With this friend, I am realizing that we ultimately have nothing in common. I don't like watching the news with him (we have different political views) and reality TV bores me to death.

 

Anyway, you may be right about the social pressure. He doesn't have many friends and enjoys my company, so may be saying these things to try and get me to hang around and to make a good impression on me. I'm realizing from this discussion with you that my disappointment is because I believed what he was telling me about how he WANTS to do things like that. For instance a few years ago I always stayed home, never went out and had a boring and uninteresting lifestyle. I was content with this but not happy. The reason I was like this is because I didn't have any friends at all and some things like going to the zoo, seemed depressing without someone to share the experience with. Anyway, when he told me he wanted to do these things and didn't have any friends to do them with, I assumed he was experiencing what I felt a few years ago, which is why I've been feeling confused and frustrated when he keeps flaking.

 

Anyway, after this discussion I'll re-ask him if he wants to go to the festival tonight and say it's no big deal if he doesn't. Plus, I'll just lay off on asking him things but make him aware of what I'm doing. I'm fine continuing to be his friend but may need to lay off on hanging out with him for awhile just because the situation has been very frustrating for me and if you guys are correct about him just saying that to make a good impression, then I'll need to reassess some things about the friendship. Thanks everyone!

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I don't think you should try to change him. It sounds like he might be depressed (although, I'm not sure, quiet activities might just be his idea of fun), but if you say anything to him about that you may offend him. He may just think you're trying to get him to go out and do more things that you want. Anyway, I think you should just hang out with him a bit less, only when you feel like sitting around, and invite other friends to do stuff like festivals. I don't think he'd care that much since it doesn't sound like he's too into those events anyhow.

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Kind of arrogant of you to think there is something wrong with him that needs fixing just because he doesn't like to go out and do the same things you do. If he is too boring for you, then quit being his friend. You are not really being a friend right now anyway. Instead you are treating him like some fixer upper, I'm going to change him, project. Yuck. Either find friends who are more suitable to your tastes and interests or appreciate and respect who he is and how he is.

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I'm actually considering canceling with him and going with someone else later in the week because it feels like a headache.

 

That's probably wise. You already know he flakes last minute, so it's not a good idea to set him up to disappoint you.

 

You don't need to 'tell' him you're going to quit inviting him places, just stop. Otherwise you're doing a common sales manipulation called 'the takeaway'. Well, that would be fine if your goal was to get him to agree to sign a dotted line on the spot for a car or something ... but I think you're learning that it does no good to get a person who's not capable of delivering on a promise to promise anything.

 

He may be depressed with a combo plate of social anxiety--and that's too deep to 'fix' for someone else. If you really care about this guy, your best bet is to befriend him on his own level--when you're willing to visit for a TV show or movie or an indoor picnic of takeout food.

 

I appreciate your willingness to try to hang in there for him. I also think you get that it will eventually harm his willingness to continue friendship with you if he keeps failing to perform what, to him, feels like a climb of Mt. Everest.

 

When he voices his concerns and his desire to 'be better,' your best bet is to ask him what he'd like to do about it, and offer to go with him if he wants to see a therapist. Might help to have a list of reputable therapists who specialize in social anxiety handy. He needs to make the appointment, but he'd probably welcome your comforting offer to go with him first visit and read in the waiting room.

 

He's lucky to have in you a friend who appreciates his good qualities.

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