I remember sitting with my friends during recess, unconcerned by the fact that 20 minutes had already passed before I said anything yet. Lunch break wasn’t much different either.

This didn’t stop me from laughing at my friends’ jokes or smiling when they made a stupid face, I just didn’t always feel the need to actively contribute to the conversation.

I knew I was the boring friend, or at least the quiet one. No one ever told me I was boring, but I wasn’t oblivious to my lack of voice.

My friends understood that I was more reserved than they were and they were still able to enjoy my company. Being the boring friend didn’t mean I never spoke, or had nothing interesting to say. I chatted, cracked jokes and joined in the weirdness with my friends. 

But the reality was, I simply enjoyed listening to others more than I did talking. I wasn’t always like this; I didn’t always accept the fact that I was a naturally quiet person. There were countless days (probably years, tbh) when I didn’t want to be boring like during the awkward moments of silence with acquaintances or when I was crying with an overwhelming sense of loneliness in my room at 1am because of failed friendships.

There is an ever-growing desire to be outgoing within this generation, especially while growing up in an age where social media glorifies the qualities of an extrovert: being talkative, sociable, and confident is the new cool.

I was jealous that I couldn’t be like the class clown who would confidently yell across the room or the one of the popular people who could spark up a conversation with anyone about anything. I wanted to know why I didn’t have the impulse to just speak my mind whenever I wanted, which seemed like such a negative, boring characteristic to have.

Until I realised that it wasn’t negative at all.

My friends, though few, still texted me after school, invited me to parties and called me when they needed help. In fact, my boring habit of listening allowed me to become a good friend. A pretty bloody good listener, if I'm being honest.

I was more than happy to lend an ear to a friend in need and give advice when it was sought. It no longer mattered how few friends I had, how many people I talked to, or even how much I talked. My friends appreciated my quietude and cherished any conversation they had with me.

The stigma surrounding boring people usually label us as dull, uninteresting, or even uninterested. But I believe it makes us more perceptive of the people around us. It’s one thing to open our mouth, but it’s another thing to open our ears. I was the boring friend in high school and there's nothing wrong if that's you too.

by Leanne Sta Ana