Boredom: it is a state of mild discontent. Let’s explore what boredom means. Are you curious?
There can be an element of frustration when bored, right? What if there is frustration and an interest in a lasting diversion from the frustration, but no engaging diversion?
What if there are unmet needed and unfulfilled interests, plus a sense of being suppressed? If someone just has unmet needs, then they explore meeting them. They would not remain bored.
When someone complains of boredom, they may have some unmet need (or curiosity) plus a sense of being socially inhibited (prohibited from pursuing their interests or even talking about their interests). The complaint is an initiative for a new social interaction. “Entertain me! Show interest in me!”
When people want relief from boredom, they want relief from a mild state of distress or anxiety. Boredom is not the same as being relaxed and content and alert and open to new things. Boredom is even a type of mild grief or fear.
Does someone experience a social context of safety to explore their interests? Is there encouragement? Is it general to any interest or specific only to certain interests (with other interests being ignored or condemned)?
Are others curious about their interests or interested in suppressing their interests? Are people encouraged to identify all of their interests or are certain interests (and certain methods for promoting their interests) emphasized?
It is natural in childhood to encounter a variety of social dynamics. Some people share your interests (such as your favorite TV show etc). Some people are trying to mold your interests (parents, teachers, advertisers). Some people have interests that conflict with yours (like siblings who want a parent’s attention or opponents in a card game or a sport).
When we complain of boredom, are we testing someone’s interest in us? How important is it who we complain to?
If I am bored, then I can pursue new social interactions. I can look for opportunities to meet new people. I can initiate new conversations.
I can begin by saying “Hi, I am not aware of any interests of mine that I am comfortable directly stating.” I could even say, “I have some interests but I am not comfortable directly stating them, so I am about to say something that interests me in the hope that you will respond favorably to that test subject. I call it a test subject because it is actually not a primary interest of mine. In fact, as for the whole idea that I am interested in interacting with anyone in general or you in particular, I plan to deny that emphatically if accused.”
“I am looking to start a conversation but without openly saying why. Maybe I am clear on some of my interests and maybe I am so anxious that I deny having an interests. Maybe I so crave social collaboration that I present myself as someone who does not have self-interests. Maybe I am so interested in social interaction and partnership that I say self-interests are problems and what we all need is to be more focused on certain social issues. However, of course those social issues are important to me because I perceive that they fit with my self-interests.”
I want to initiate. I want to assess the response of one or more people. How open are they to interacting right now in general? How open are they to whatever subject(s) I raise?
Maybe I want to create opportunities to vent repressed emotions like rage or grief or fear or delight (attraction). Maybe I have been attracted to outcomes that I have been trained to keep secret or deny or ignore. Maybe I have been trained to be socially anxious (timid, shy, ashamed).
Maybe I want to explore human interaction itself. Maybe I value conversations and communication in general. Should I pretend that I don’t? Should I pretend that I am totally independent and self-reliant and satisfied?
Should I protect other people from my own displays of disappointment? Should I suppress disappointment out of social anxiety for the possible consequences?
Boredom is an indication of unfulfilled interests- even a sense of fear about directly stating the interests and the lack of fulfillment. How open am I to developing clarity about my interests and identifying fitting methods for fulfilling those interests?
Being occasionally bored is common. If I am in a boring interaction, can I say so? Do I have the sense of security to voice boredom (unsatisfaction)? If not, then what can I do to promote my security as a first priority and then also promote whatever other interests are unfulfilled.
If I am jealous, can I appreciate my attraction to something that I do not have? Can I recognize boredom as having an aspect of repulsion to something that is present? Can I respect that others may be insecure and wish to suppress certain interests of mine?
Maybe I can help them get their needs met so they are not threatened by mine. Maybe I can pursue my interests
in a way that does not disturb them (that avoids attracting their attention in a way that distracts me from identifying what I value most and getting it).