Social Question

iamthemob's avatar

What do you think you are saying when you say "I'm bored"?

Asked by iamthemob (17147points) September 2nd, 2010

I wonder if there’s a claim that this can have some real, objective meaning. Unfortunately, I feel like many people use the statement in order to offend. Of course this addresses situations where there is something has happened and it’s stated in reaction to that. The statement “I’m bored” as an intro to trying to start to do something when clearly nothing’s happening…that’s generally clear.

So what do people think?

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55 Answers

Ben_Dover's avatar

I don’t know this as I am very seldom (if ever) bored.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

When people say this I rarely think they mean to offend even when saying it to your face could take it to mean their talking to you is included in the boredom.

iamthemob's avatar

@Ben_Dover

Awesome. I feel the same…but I could be deluding and forgetting about times that I passed such judgment.

Trillian's avatar

The only time I would ever claim boredom was when I was arguing with my ex. When he would go on about how I should not spend my money on the occasional Starbucks Capo so that I could give it to him for drugs, or any of the of the other nonsense he actually believed the deeper into his addiction he went I would say was boring.
Questions here and elsewhere that smack of Junior High school does he like me? and “he said/she said” crap is/are boring so I generally ignore it/them.
In life I don’t generally get bored because there is always somehing to think or do.
Is that what you’re asking? I don’t say it so much to offend, but because it’s true.

Neutral's avatar

I think your question is boring because it’s irrelevant by nature. Nothing will change or be achieved other then your self-pleasure interests and the passing of time. :)

iamthemob's avatar

@Neizvestnaya

So what do you think is being said? Because it seems in so many ways like a non-starter to me…is there an objective value in putting it into the conversation?

Also, I wonder…if it’s being said in the context of talking about something to another…how could it not be taken as offensive?

saraaaaaa's avatar

It’s my way of saying that my brain is unsatisfied and craving occupation of he fun kind

iamthemob's avatar

@Trillian

So when you do say it, in part it’s to demonstrate your frustration to the other person, and in part to be offensive, right? (in all honesty…)

If I say it, or the “This is boring” or “You’re being boring” derivative, I pretty much mean “I am better than this.”

I think not getting involved is a mature response…sometimes, one can’t help themselves, true…we all have to allow ourselves a petty moment now and then as long as we can recognize that’s what it is. :-)

jerv's avatar

Personally, my thoughts tend to wander due to a lack of anything stimulating to focus on. So, if I say I am bored, then that means that I cannot even pay attention to the thoughts in my own head.

Seaofclouds's avatar

Majority of the time, when I say I’m bored, it means I don’t want to do any of the things I could be doing right now and instead want something else to do. I don’t say it very often, but every now and then, I’ll mention it to one of my friends if they happen to call when I’m trying to figure out something to do. I always manage to find something to do, so I don’t stay bored for long.

Once, in my younger years, I did say it in a way to offend someone.

iamthemob's avatar

@Neutral

I’m assuming that was rhetorical. The thing is, if nothing will changed or be achieved, what’s the point of doing anything?

And (even though again I assume the rhetorical), if that’s you’re standpoint…what is the point of posting it?

lillycoyote's avatar

I’m not sure if this is an answer to your question, because I’m not sure I actually understand your question entirely, but I think “being bored” is caused either by being in an uninteresting, or unstimulating environment; or by failing to or being unable to be interested in or stimulated by that environment. Either the available input is uninteresting or you are incapable, for whatever reason, of being stimulated by it or interested in it..

And when people say “I’m bored” sometimes what they’re really saying is “you’re tedious” or what you’re presenting to me is tedious, already covered, not as interesting as you might think it is.

iamthemob's avatar

@jerv

But isn’t that just not being able to focus? Something that is boring is essentially without intellectual value – for me, as it seems for you.

So if you are with someone, and say, “I’m bored,” isn’t the only point to insult them? If not, what can it convey that is not an assessment of them as an intellectual or entertainment nullity.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

@iamthemob: Lots of times when people say they’re bored, it’s almost a canned phrase like, “it’s so hot/cold”, “I’m so tired, isn’t it time to go home yet?” Other times I find people use “I’m so bored” as a poor opener to try and flirt, to get you to talk to them instead of them coming up with something better. To me it’s pretty much a throw away phrase. I will pay attention if the person sharing my company during my limited off hours should ever turn to me and say that though. harumph.

Trillian's avatar

Well, I don’ think that I’m better than my ex but his arguments were insubstantial and based on ridiculous things. They also got predictable. They were unfair and not based on any rational or supportable arguments. So, I found them boring. I grew disgusted and no longer wanted to hear them. I eventualy had to leave him to crash and burn alone in order to save myelf.
Do I think I’m better than people with concerns that I consider trite and immature? No, just not interested and unwiling to validate something that I regard as trifling.

iamthemob's avatar

@Seaofclouds

Indeed. So, when it is said to someone else who you’re doing something with (whatever the value), what sort of value does it add?

More importantly, if it’s a conversation…what can it be intended to do?

Seaofclouds's avatar

@iamthemob The only time I’ve ever said it while with someone else was when I said it to offend the person I was with. Other than that, I’ve never been bored when I’ve been with other people.

iamthemob's avatar

@lillycoyote

You said: I think “being bored” is caused either by being in an uninteresting, or unstimulating environment; or by failing to or being unable to be interested in or stimulated by that environment

That’s pretty much what I think as well. Although you feel unclear about the question you say, you’ve responded strongly. :-)

You also said: And when people say “I’m bored” sometimes what they’re really saying is “you’re tedious” or what you’re presenting to me is tedious, already covered, not as interesting as you might think it is

Do they ever mean anything else? Is there any other interpretation possible?

If so…why say it? Is it possible there’s any other reason than to offend? If there’s another reason…won’t it be interpreted as an offensive thing to say in the majority of circumstances? And knowing that, if there’s another reason for it, why would you say it anyway?

iamthemob's avatar

@Neizvestnaya

Sure…I’ve said it as a canned phrase. I hope not as a way to flirt (oooh, that would hurt me if I had…).

But is there a reason to say it, other than to insult someone, in response to them?

musicislife75's avatar

i only say “Im bored” when i have nothing to do. like if im not doing anything and im just lying around at home, ill say “im bored”!

iamthemob's avatar

@Trillian

You said: his arguments were insubstantial and based on ridiculous things. They also got predictable. They were unfair and not based on any rational or supportable arguments. So, I found them boring. I grew disgusted and no longer wanted to hear them

But that sounds like a strong emotional reaction, though. Like you were anything BUT bored as I see it.

And I think that’s what happens a lot of the time…people use it in place of “I’m frustrated” or “You’re not listening to me” or “I can’t deal with this right now because I’m getting upset” when that’s really what I mean. And we do it in the heat of the moment as a way to indicate that we’re better than them. It seems that, when that’s the situation, it’s an extremely demeaning thing to say.

I can’t remember when I last said it, but I do not escape using other methods that express the same sort of superiority. I generally rely on sarcastic agreement, I find.

iamthemob's avatar

@musicislife75

If you said it to another person with whom you were debating, would it be for any reason that you see as helpful? Or would it only be because, essentially, you wanted to offend them or you wanted them to shut up?

Ben_Dover's avatar

When people say they are bored, they really mean that they personally are boring.

iamthemob's avatar

@Ben_Dover

That’s generally how I feel like people should respond to that…at least on the inside.

I feel that, due to that, it’s often used as a defense mechanism…instead of saying something that is clearly petty, or just an expression of a smaller emotion, you say “I’m bored” implying that you are the one who hasn’t done enough to contribute.

I feel like it is and can only ever be an insult.

Trillian's avatar

@iamthemob You make a good argument, and I suppose that I could also have used the word “frustrated”, but bored was the best choice. Honestly, if you had heard the same tired, weak kneed, rationalizaions and self deceptive, ‘none of this is my fault’ crap you would be in a better position to judge my boredom. There comes point where further discussion is futile and it had gone long past that wth him. And I despise repeating myself, whch is what I continually got sucked into doing. I wasted more breath with him than I can even now remember without shame at not having left sooner.
But you are welcome to think differently. If I were to say it to a person other than him for those above stated reasons, my intent would probably be to cause offense or at least to indicate my contempt.

YARNLADY's avatar

I can’t remember ever saying that. I cannot imagine a time when I would not be able to do something with my time.

iamthemob's avatar

@Trillian

I don’t know why you think that I’m trying to say that you should have done something different. :-) I’m not saying anything about the validity of your situation.

I just think that most people do the same thing…and I wonder if there’s a time that it’s been used to respond to some sort of productive intent.

Otherwise, I’m thinking why don’t we just not sugar coat it – if someone’s saying fuck you…just say fuck you. :-) Because that’s what I think it amounts to, in the end.

Trillian's avatar

I don’t know. Maybe you’re saying “Why” and I’m saying “How.” I feel like you’re saying I told him I was bored so I could offend him. I think I said it because I had had the same argument with him before, knew everything he was going to say, and he was boring me.
Saying “Fuck you” at that point would not have been the same thing at all, in my mind.
Bur now let me ask you this, because the second part of what you’re saying is new.
Are you saying, or asking, if saying “I’m bored” to a person could be productive? As in, “You’re really boring me but if you/we did something different I would not be bored.”?
Or responding to something like “Why did you get up to go do that?” “Because I was bored.”
BTW- My phiolsophy has always been; “If you want sugar-coating, go buy a doughnut.”

iamthemob's avatar

I’m saying I think “I’m bored” is always meant, when said to a person, to insult them. I think it’s demeaning, and I wouldn’t say it to someone unless I wanted to hurt them, or disregard them as worthless.

I wonder if there’s any value to saying it. Cause if not, the people who say it are trying to hide (if it’s not motivated by a history of the problem) the fact that they’re being a dick.

Trillian's avatar

@iamthemob I think you’re projecting. I think that you cannot, and should not attribute your emotions and motivations to others. I think that if another person tells you “this is why I said that.” then there is a good chance that they are telling you the truth. I think that because you feel a particular way about something, you have a difficult time imagining that anyone else feels differently.
I think that you should give people the benefit of a doubt when the describe their own emotions and motivations to you, even if those are not the same as yours.
I have no problem saying “Fuck you” to someone. So if I instead choose to say “Oh my GOD you’re boring me” then chances are, that’s exactly what is happening.

MacBean's avatar

I don’t get bored. Even if I have nothing to do physically, I can keep myself more than adequately occupied by thinking about something. So when other people say it, what I hear is “I’m boring.”

Neutral's avatar

@iamthemob,

The productive part in saying “I’m bored”, is to encourage the company you’re with to present something valuable. It’s a friendly hint, but depending on the characteristics of the company you’re with, it can always be taken as an insult. When one says “Good for you”, you can take that literally, by thinking they’re actually happy for you, or you can take that to be condescending, by thinking that “good for you” actually means the person saying it doesn’t care, and wishes you ill.

As for “nothing will changed or be achieved, what’s the point of doing anything?”

It’s a more in depth of boredom, but what I said should suffice. I’ll pm you about that.

iamthemob's avatar

@Neutral

Then that’s being lazy. Telling someone “I’m bored” after they’ve said something to you is off putting. There’s nothing inherently friendly about it. “That’s stupid” has the same effect. There’s no defense unless you sink to the level of the accuser.

So, they’ve said something. There’s a counter point. Why not provide them with something that will take the conversation in a more interesting direction for you, and allow them to respond?

Stating “I’m bored” seems like a supreme act of entitlement, then. In response, what if you got, “I’m not here to entertain you. Why should I?”

Neutral's avatar

There is a difference of saying “I’m bored” and “I’m bored of you”. Why must you assume anything? Stupid is straight forward. “I’m bored” has breathing room.

iamthemob's avatar

@Trillian

I’m sorry, but…that’s why I asked the question. Without giving my thoughts…I wanted to see if someone could provide the contrary.

You have described the situation I think is most common, and what I would feel when I was saying “I’m bored.” It generally means that I would mostly be frustrated more than anything else.

You laid out an emotional scenario where you felt a series of things, and then said “I’m bored” to your ex. I am saying that I think that’s how most people feel when they say it. I’m saying I think it’s dismissing the person you say it to, which is what you seemed to feel like doing. I said I never said you should do or say anything different, but that “I’m bored” has synonyms that a lot of people don’t readily recognize.

I’m actually saying that I admired you for saying “This was how I felt when I say ‘I’m bored’” and that’s how I think most of us, including myself, would feel when they say it.

Let me rephrase it. If someone told you “I’m bored with what you’re saying” thats insulting in my opinion, and nothing but. Whatever that variation, if it is directed at you. If it is separated from you and about the person’s internal state, it’s not interesting to know. Saying “I’m bored” is either saying nothing at all or a call to the world to try to entertain you.

I don’t really get why you think I’m challenging how you feel when I have already said that I’m not trying to say you did anything wrong….

iamthemob's avatar

@Neutral

Not all the time. And if you look how people have stated they don’t use it, I think not often. A response here is why I ask.

And regardless, if you think the conversation is interesting…make it so. If the person can’t keep up…exit. If they can, then it’s game on. But if you want it to happen, it’s lazy to shift responsibility to another.

Also, isn’t it just kind of rude? Would you say that at a dinner with people you cared about?

Trillian's avatar

@iamthemob I don’t so much think you’re challenging me as we’re simply miscommunicating. that’s why I said you’re asking “why” and I’m telling you “How”. It’s the closest analogy I can come up with and I used it because of your other Q.
I also think that I really was bored with the whole thing and did not want to go through it again.

iamthemob's avatar

@Trillian

Cute. Was that intentional? Cause right now you’re making fun of me, and not having fun with me.

Neutral's avatar

@iamthemob,

You’re assuming peoples characteristics. I gave you an answer and now you call it lazy, rather then an insult. So, now lazy is offensive too? You equating lazy with “your stupid”? Why can’t the person have an epiphany that when I say “I’m bored”, then the problem might be on his/her end, and thus, he/she will get creative and present something worth of value, a real challenge. I didn’t say that he/she should entertain me. “I’m bored” is a neutral response. It can be interpreted more then one way. If the person takes it derogatory, then that’s their problem. That’s an ego issue.

What about giving a person the benefit of a doubt?

Trillian's avatar

@iamthemob What? Do you see how we’re not communicating? I honestly don’t know to what you’e referring when you say that I’m making fun of you.
Do you mean the why/how thing? Look up to my comment ending with doughnuts. I’ve used your analogy twice to make the same point. We’re not communicating. There is an interference somewhere and I’m trying to get past it to make myself understood to you nd to understand what you’re saying to me. It;s the same thing I did inthe doughnut question/response. I specifically asked you in a couple different ways what were you saying.
If you refer to my last sentence, I was talking about telling my ex that he was boring me. He was. Dear god it is boring. And dull. And OLD. (He’s a pill head. Oxy.)
I am taking all this time to connect and communicate with you in hopes of acheiving understanding.
I am majoring in communications right now. This is important to me in a way I cannot convey properly.
So please believe me when I say I am not making fun of you.

iamthemob's avatar

@Neutral

“Then that’s being lazy” is stating the action is lazy. I would say “You’re lazy” if I thought it was a characteristic.

And I was saying it in the abstract. I didn’t have any first person or second person noun in there. I wanted to say what I thought about the act. Not you.

I’m saying that both the bored and the stupid comments are as likely to elicit from an average person a response that furthers the conversation. If you want to further it, put in something constructive.

And they could have that epiphany. But if you assume that you might be able to enlighten them by saying “I’m, bored” then you’re LITERALLY saying your superior to them. That can’t mean any other thing.

And I’m bored can be interpreted many ways. But if someone is talking to you, and you say you’re bored, more often than not, I say, they will take it as an insult. If you think that’s they’re issue, that’s fine. If you’d rather they actually come up to your level in the conversation, I think changing the topic, asking them to explain more deeply, or challenging their assumptions works better.

Remember…this is in the situation where you have been having a conversation. The person is waiting for a response from you.

iamthemob's avatar

@Trillian

Okay. This was you’re last sentence:

_ also think that I really was bored with the whole thing and did not want to go through it again._

You JUST used the word bored. I asked to be certain of the context because, wow…really?

Trillian's avatar

Yeah, I was referring to Sam and his lame ass arguments. I think that they bore me and I am tired of hearng them. They take no responsibility for his own decisions and I’m sick unto death of hearing how he does drugs because of me. It’s bullshit, it’s a lie, and it’s boring. There’s no arguing back about it because none of it is worth the breath it would take to dispute it because it is so patently ridiculous. If he weren’t so far one in the grip of the drug he would never even say most of that crap.
Somewhere, I just ran out of patience and my bored meter has a low threshold for him. Three sentences puts him in the red and I’m ready to go find somehing, anything else to do.
So I write like I talk and I blurr the lines sometimes and think bcause I can follow my own train of thought that you are right there with me.

iamthemob's avatar

Ok. Gotcha.

Neutral's avatar

@iamthemob,

What’s wrong with thinking you’re superior to them without them knowing? You’re asking for the productive part in saying “I’m bored”… The productive part is sparking an epiphany. You don’t have to use this method all the time. Perhaps if overused, then yes, the person can assume it to be derogatory. So, switch around various methods. What if you can’t get through to them in any other way, accept this one? People can be thick headed. It’s a good approach as any, unless you got some statistics to say otherwise? The point is you got a productive answer, you just so happen not to like it.

iamthemob's avatar

“What’s wrong with thinking you’re superior to them without them knowing?”

I…I don’t even think I can respond to this. I can really…only say…just about everything. Just about everything is wrong with that.

Neutral's avatar

What you don’t know, don’t hurt you. Don’t assume anything.

iamthemob's avatar

@Neutral

Yeah, but I’m mostly worried about how it hurts you (or whoever is the “superior” in a hypo).

Neutral's avatar

Well, perhaps you should open up a new thread on “The health effects of narcissism”?

tiny_dancer's avatar

A typical day at work….

iamthemob's avatar

@tiny_dancer

Hold me closer, Tony Danza.

NaturallyMe's avatar

I usually say it when there’s nothing of real interest going on or catching my attention. Most of the time (especially when i’m at home, with everything i need around me to find something interesting to do) when i say i’m bored, i am at home, but at the same time i feel it’s a lousy thing to say because i can find something interesting to do, i’m just sometimes too lazy to get up and do it. I’m nasty like that…very lazy.
So for me, being bored is often not a valid excuse or thing to say. Standing in a queue in a bank though, IS boring, unless i have a book to read.

downtide's avatar

When I say I’m bored what I really mean is that I want to go out with a bunch of mates. It’s not really boredom, it’s loneliness.

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