ARE YOU A BORE? (Nov, 1965)
ARE YOU A BORE?
by HELEN M. PETERSON and JEAN SULLIVAN
Have you ever felt that people find you less than fascinating? Do you sometimes feel that they are giving you only half an ear when you are talking to them? Do their eyes glaze or shift past you while you are still in the middle of a sentence? If so, you may have habits that label you a conversational bore and will banish you to the “uninvited” list for life.
According to Webster’s Dictionary, a bore is, “A tiresome person, or thing.” The unvarnished truth is that a bore is one whose voice is seldom silent and whose words are dull. It might be well for you to remember that more friendly relationships founder because of too much talk rather than too little.
A man can grow a beard—or shave one off; a woman can add pounds—or slim down like a greyhound; but nothing can conceal the naked truth if you are a bore. Nothing that is, except a good, close look at your conversational patter, plus a sincere desire to improve it.
Imagine yourself in the following situations to see how you rate on being
1. You are making your first appearance with an important group in a new town. You want to make a good impression, so you: a. Talk loudly while dropping names.
b. Smile and say nothing.
c. Launch into a lengthy description of your prize-winning roses.
d. Offer to help the hostess if it seems needed.
2. A person is introduced to you and says the customary, “How do you do?” You say: a. “I have a splitting headache. And that’s not all—”
b. “It’s so nice to meet you.”
c. “Howdy to you, too.”
d. “Likewise, I’m sure.”
3. You are at a party where someone suggests a sing-along. Do you?
a. Say you know every song ever written and have done operatic work and prove it?
b. Offer to accompany them on your guitar if they’d like you to?
c. Join in loudly and off-key?
d. Helpfully add a phrase whenever the others get stuck?
4. Suppose the Club’s best golfer has just won another trophy. At a party in his honor do you: a. Give him a sincere build-up by saying, “we’re so proud of you?”
b. Tell him about the time you won a peanut rolling contest when you were fifteen—in great detail?
c. Ask him if winning trophies helps his business aspirations in any way? d. Offer to Indian wrestle anybody present?
5. At lunch with new friends, do you: a. Find out their likes and dislikes?
b. Talk about your gay and active social life?
c. Complain loud and long about your inlaws?
d. Hold their interest by telling them all of your hobbies?
6. When the subject of finances is being discussed, you impress the group by: a. Saying, “My income isn’t really adequate. But whose is?”
b. Telling them what a financial wizard you are.
c. Ask for suggestions on building a savings account.
d. Brag about how much you’ve managed to save by bumming coffee and cigarettes.
7. A close friend is having trouble with her husband. She asks your advice. Do you: a. Tell her she’s crazy even to stay with him?
b. Give her a lengthy example from your own love life so she can see what she’s doing wrong?
c. Tell her it will blow over and that you have to run along?
d. Listen quietly, then suggest she come over later for coffee and a long talk?
8. An acquaintance has been awarded a prize for outstanding community work. You: a. Congratulate him and tell him you always knew he’d make a name for himself.
b. Say, “So what else can you do?”
c. Say, “I sort of thought old Jim would get it this time.”
d. Tell him you’re interested—would he like some help on projects?
9. You are on a diet. At a dinner party you: a. Look martyred and pick at your food.
b. Give the lowdown on every diet you’ve been on from the time you were weaned right through the grapefruit-boiled egg kick? Even if they show signs of butting in, follow through.
c. Say nothing and enjoy your salad and vegetables.
d. Say, “I’ve never believed in serving such rich food.”
10. A new family has moved into your neighborhood. Do you: a. Ask them over for coffee?
b. Clue them in on everyone’s bad points?
c. Run in every hour on the hour so they’ll feel welcome?
d. Ignore them completely?
11. You are the first in your group to see a much advertised movie. So you: a. Corner everyone so you can tell all the plot.
b. Rave about it until no one would see it if it were free.
c. Say, “It is good. But you should see it to appreciate it.”
d. Quote endlessly from all the reviews, analyzing each one.
12. You have been asked to watch a neighbor’s toddler. When she comes to pick up the child you: a. Tell her, “Your child is an angel. Ask me again.”
b. Take off on a tirade because Junior locked you in the bathroom while he tore your mail to bits.
c. Ask if her child has been “tested.” Tell her you know of a psychiatrist who did wonders for the Smiths’ child.
d. Keep her at the door while you reveal the cute things the child told you about “Mommy and Daddy.”
13. You’re the best bridge player in your crowd. Do you: a. Pointedly insist on the next best player for your partner?
b. Only help when someone asks your advice?
c. Volunteer to help everyone improve whether they are interested or not?
d. Ask if anyone has heard about the new class for bridge players at the Y.W.C.A.?
14. You are invited to dinner at the boss’s house. Do you: a. Call to ask if you may bring your three children along?
b. Feel it your sacred duty to fill any silences with a lot of chatter?
c. Enjoy the food while contributing some flavor of your own?
d. Gulp a tranquilizer at the beginning of the meal?
15. A famous man is a former schoolmate. Do you: a. Bring his name into every conversation?
b. Say, when asked, “He was always remarkable.”
c. Tell some of the stupid stunts he pulled as a kid?
d. Assume his success as though you’d pushed him into it?
16. You’ve been asked by a friend to help select a dress. You: a. Study all labels for big names only.
b. Keep telling her that of course a figure like hers is hard to fit.
c. Help her choose the three best to take home on “approval.”
d. Hint that the clerks must be holding back the better ones.
17. The subject of “to dye” or “not to dye” is the topic of the day. You add a little color by: a. Asking a friend who did, if she’s sorry.
b. Reminding them that only one person will know for sure.
c. Saying, “To each his own!”
d. Insisting that a tint job will lead to all kinds of trouble—from baldness to promiscuity.
18. Your best-liked enemy appears at a tea in the feather hat you’ve been longing for. Do you say: a. “Nobody told me about the sale at ‘The Bon’.”
b. “How much did that set your hubby back?”
c. “That is a beautiful hat.” And smile if it kills you.
d. “Think of all those poor, naked birds!” Elaborate.
19. You have just returned from a vacation where you were housed with strangers. Do you: a. Send a pleasant note and small gift?
b. Write to ask if they’ve found your toothbrush and will they send it back?
c. Use the peculiarities of the strangers to entertain members of your financial forum?
d. Plan another visit—they’re just halfway between you and Uncle Bob’s beach house?
20. A friend has helped you get a job. You show your appreciation by: a. Calling weekly to describe your work.
b. Asking a mutual friend to convey your thanks.
c. Inviting him to lunch and a sincere thank-you.
d. Saying, “The job lacks future. Let me know when you hear of something better.”
TEST SCORING: 1. 5 points for d, 1 for b; 2. 5 points for b; 3. 5 points for b, 3 for d; 4. 5 points for a; 5. 5 points for a; 6. 5 points for a, three for c; 7. 5 points for d; 8. 5 points for a, 3 for d; 9. 5 points for c; 10. 5 points for a; 11. 5 points for c; 12. 5 points for a; 13. 5 points for b, 3 for d; 14. 5 points for c; 15. 5 points for b; 16. 5 points for c; 17. 5 points for c, 3 for b; 18. 5 points for c; 19. 5 points for a; 20. 5 points for c, 1 for b.
IF YOU SCORED: 85 to 100 You are no bore. You are the life of every gathering. The one voted most likely to succeed and first on every party list.
70 to 84 You may not know all the answers but you have shown that you have ingenuity of your own. You get an “E” for effort.
49 to 69 Your slips are showing.
Try listening for a while.
28 to 48 You are being boorish! It has been said, “A boor is an over-active bore!” Please don’t forget those twins, “Boorish and Borish.”
27 to 0 You need help! Forget about “I” and concentrate on “you.” Find another bore to practice on. With just a little study you’ll be able to climb much higher on the popularity scale.