Author Topic: How to be charitable in boring conversations  (Read 1576 times)

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Offline Sauron

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How to be charitable in boring conversations
« on: June 13, 2011, 06:46:03 PM »
I am a heterosexual American male. However, I do not care about sports at all.

This is often a problem for me because other heterosexual American males will often strike up conversations that center around sports. For example, while I was waiting in line at the bank last week, one of the employees struck up a conversation with me asking about what I thought of the basketball game. I told him that I did not know what game he was talking about. Apparently, it was Game 3 of the NBA Finals, so then I had to have a conversation and fake about watching basketball. I would have preferred to be honest and say that I do not follow sports and I think basketball is particularly stupid because of dribbling. However, that would make me rude and impolite, so I have to fake it. It feels like that scene in The Birdcage where Robin Williams teaches Nathan Lane how to talk about football.

So, what would be the charitable and Christian way to deal with such situations. Usually, someone asks if I saw "the game" and I said that I missed it (in a polite way) and it is usually left at that. However, sometimes they go on into a big treatise about their favorite team and why this coach needs to go and so-and-so needs to work on defense et cetera ad nauseum. What's the best way to deal with such situations without being fake, yet still being kind to the other person?

Offline Poppy

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Re: How to be charitable in boring conversations
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2011, 06:53:06 PM »
If i wanted to be kind but i didn't want them to be like a runnaway train??? Then i would control the conversation and say "nah i missed it" then straight on to... "so what do you like about football in general??" because then they are talking about what they like about it which usually runs out after about a minute......and not the actual game itself..... which could go on forEVER!!!!

But i like sport so...  ;D

But yeah.... i would say a quick redirect and your on a home run haha...

Offline IsmiLiora

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Re: How to be charitable in boring conversations
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2011, 07:22:35 PM »
I don't see anything wrong with saying "I'm not a big sports fan. I love [fill in the blank, politics, playing golf but not watching it], but I'm not much for sports. Sorry about that!"

They might say, "Oh man!", give you a quick recap, and maybe talk about the topic you just mentioned. ("Did you hear about Rep. Weiner tweeting his Johnson?") Or like some men, he just might keep going and going. I would just say, "I wouldn't know," after he looks at you for a response. Nod and be friendly, but if you don't have much of a follow up response, he should get tired of talking about that subject eventually.

But I know some guys that can talk about sports for hours without any response, so I feel your pain (especially when they get into statistics. I watch sports occasionally but I don't have enough time to worry about who's only batting .127 and what this guy's ERA was).
« Last Edit: June 13, 2011, 07:23:07 PM by IsmiLiora »
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Offline ozgeorge

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Re: How to be charitable in boring conversations
« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2011, 07:30:56 PM »
("Did you hear about Rep. Weiner tweeting his Johnson?")
Does that mean what I think it means? (i.e. involving twitpics?)
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Offline William

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Re: How to be charitable in boring conversations
« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2011, 07:32:58 PM »
I am a heterosexual American male. However, I do not care about sports at all.
Welcome to the club.

I just generally say "I'm not really into sports." But, then again, I'm usually not accosted by total strangers about it.
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Offline IsmiLiora

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Re: How to be charitable in boring conversations
« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2011, 07:41:41 PM »
("Did you hear about Rep. Weiner tweeting his Johnson?")
Does that mean what I think it means? (i.e. involving twitpics?)
Heh, yeah! Sorry, that was the first big political story that came into my mind. All the guys I know have been talking about it lately!
She's touring the facility/and picking up slack.
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Offline Tallitot

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Re: How to be charitable in boring conversations
« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2011, 09:30:50 PM »
You could always come back with "Can you believe what Bernadette Peters wore to the Tonys?"
just kidding

Unfortunately, a lot businesses in the US instruct thier employees to be chatty with costomers. I guess they're trying to put on a "freindly face". Banks are the worst offenders. i wish we'd get back to the time when business was business, not a social occasion.
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Offline quietmorning

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Re: How to be charitable in boring conversations
« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2011, 09:38:54 PM »
I'm just honest - but interested in the person.  "I don't know much about such and such sport (usually I say I haven't had the time to follow this or that sport in a long time) - but with the look on your face, I can see I've really missed something good - tell me about it."  Then I ask the natural questions that pop up as I listen. 

I may not be interested in the sport or activity - but usually I'm interested on the other person's point of view - and definitely the person.  I've learned quite a few things by shifting my interest just enough from the interest to the person to keep me engaged. 

Then before I know it I find myself a little more interested in something that I really didn't know or care a whole lot about before. Who knew.
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Offline podkarpatska

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Re: How to be charitable in boring conversations
« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2011, 10:07:21 PM »
You could always come back with "Can you believe what Bernadette Peters wore to the Tonys?"
just kidding

Unfortunately, a lot businesses in the US instruct thier employees to be chatty with costomers. I guess they're trying to put on a "freindly face". Banks are the worst offenders. i wish we'd get back to the time when business was business, not a social occasion.

People watch the Tony's? hmmm  :)

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Re: How to be charitable in boring conversations
« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2011, 10:08:59 PM »
I'm just honest - but interested in the person.  "I don't know much about such and such sport (usually I say I haven't had the time to follow this or that sport in a long time) - but with the look on your face, I can see I've really missed something good - tell me about it."  Then I ask the natural questions that pop up as I listen. 

I may not be interested in the sport or activity - but usually I'm interested on the other person's point of view - and definitely the person.  I've learned quite a few things by shifting my interest just enough from the interest to the person to keep me engaged. 

Then before I know it I find myself a little more interested in something that I really didn't know or care a whole lot about before. Who knew.

BINGO!
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Offline Tallitot

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Re: How to be charitable in boring conversations
« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2011, 10:34:04 PM »
I'm really not an unfriendly person, but in certain situations I think there is some "forced" freindliness. Some businesses want employees to try to chat up customers and probaly tell them "talk about sports with male customers, the weather with females".
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Offline bogdan

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Re: How to be charitable in boring conversations
« Reply #11 on: June 13, 2011, 10:41:57 PM »
i wish we'd get back to the time when business was business, not a social occasion.

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Offline Tallitot

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Re: How to be charitable in boring conversations
« Reply #12 on: June 13, 2011, 10:43:25 PM »
You could always come back with "Can you believe what Bernadette Peters wore to the Tonys?"
just kidding

Unfortunately, a lot businesses in the US instruct thier employees to be chatty with costomers. I guess they're trying to put on a "freindly face". Banks are the worst offenders. i wish we'd get back to the time when business was business, not a social occasion.

People watch the Tony's? hmmm  :)
No. That's the beauty of it...it stops a conversation in it's tracks.
Proverbs 22:7

Offline ozgeorge

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Re: How to be charitable in boring conversations
« Reply #13 on: June 14, 2011, 12:15:14 AM »
You could always come back with "Can you believe what Bernadette Peters wore to the Tonys?"
just kidding

Unfortunately, a lot businesses in the US instruct thier employees to be chatty with costomers. I guess they're trying to put on a "freindly face". Banks are the worst offenders. i wish we'd get back to the time when business was business, not a social occasion.

People watch the Tony's? hmmm  :)
No. That's the beauty of it...it stops a conversation in it's tracks.
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Offline akimori makoto

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Re: How to be charitable in boring conversations
« Reply #14 on: June 14, 2011, 12:19:33 AM »
Is that the one by the South Park dudes?

Have you seen the episode of South Park re the establishment of Mormonism?
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Offline ozgeorge

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Re: How to be charitable in boring conversations
« Reply #15 on: June 14, 2011, 12:21:48 AM »
Is that the one by the South Park dudes?

Have you seen the episode of South Park re the establishment of Mormonism?
Yep to both!
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Offline Tallitot

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Re: How to be charitable in boring conversations
« Reply #16 on: June 14, 2011, 12:26:47 AM »
You could always come back with "Can you believe what Bernadette Peters wore to the Tonys?"
just kidding

Unfortunately, a lot businesses in the US instruct thier employees to be chatty with costomers. I guess they're trying to put on a "freindly face". Banks are the worst offenders. i wish we'd get back to the time when business was business, not a social occasion.

People watch the Tony's? hmmm  :)
No. That's the beauty of it...it stops a conversation in it's tracks.
Aw come on! The Book Of Mormon deserves its awards. I love it! : http://youtu.be/tggtPHDmrR8
to bad most of it has to much profanity to link on here
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Offline Alveus Lacuna

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Re: How to be charitable in boring conversations
« Reply #17 on: June 14, 2011, 12:29:45 AM »
Unfortunately, a lot businesses in the US instruct thier employees to be chatty with costomers. I guess they're trying to put on a "freindly face". Banks are the worst offenders.

Well, that won't matter soon as they're phasing out all of the tellers right now. Not to worry though, the machines are all business. No pulse so no pesky problems.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2011, 12:29:53 AM by Alveus Lacuna »

Offline Russell

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Re: How to be charitable in boring conversations
« Reply #18 on: June 14, 2011, 12:33:15 AM »
I am just honest with the person from the start.  

I don't like to watch sports on television.  

If they still want to talk I mention that I did at one time go to games for one team but when my team won the big trophy, I felt no reason to continue the next season as my team finally "Won" and that was enough for me.

A few times I have had a conversation about what I dont like about television sports coverage.  
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Offline akimori makoto

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Re: How to be charitable in boring conversations
« Reply #19 on: June 14, 2011, 12:34:42 AM »
Is that the one by the South Park dudes?

Have you seen the episode of South Park re the establishment of Mormonism?
Yep to both!

It's smug and uncharitable, I guess, but I just can't help laughing.
The Episcopallian road is easy and wide, for many go through it to find destruction. lol sorry channeling Isa.

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Re: How to be charitable in boring conversations
« Reply #20 on: June 14, 2011, 01:06:10 AM »
Of course, if the whole purpose of not stating from the outset that you don't like sports is to avoid feeling "unmanly" (not an unfair conclusion as you felt the need to state your heterosexuality multiple times in the first few sentences) you could always say "Sorry, I don't follow (sport X)."  I know very few men who follow every sport (multiple sports, perhaps, but usually one of them is left to the wayside out of the American big 4 of baseball, football, basketball, and hockey), so not following the particular sport the other wants to talk about isn't too odd.  Of course, this still doesn't work, as the sports enthusiast will still want to talk about last night's game, at which point basically apply the time honored male conversational gambit of allowing your eyes to glaze over and replying "yeah...uh-huh...you don't say... that ref was blind...." at appropriate pauses.

Oddly enough I actually enjoy basketball, but the entire time I lived in Chicago not one person ever wanted to talk about that.  It was always "Cubs this", "Sox that", "da Bears", or even "can you believe that Blackhawks game"?  Of course no one ever wanted to talk about the only Chicago team I had followed my whole life (and the only Chicago team to have actually won a championship during the decade).  The only way I survived baseball playoff season of 2003 was by taking perverse pleasure in having just recently moved there from Florida and "my" team erasing hopes of a Cubs World Series for the next hundred years.
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Offline Shiny

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Re: How to be charitable in boring conversations
« Reply #21 on: June 14, 2011, 01:18:23 AM »
Just read up on some news highlights daily, keep you in tune with what's going on. You could just say you don't follow it and try to bring up a different subject.

But seriously Basketball dumb? Should have watch the Finals this year, really exciting stuff. Watch the 1976 Finals for starters. I've become a big Jordan fan recently (I grew up watching Shaq) and reminded me how amazing the game is.
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Offline GabrieltheCelt

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Re: How to be charitable in boring conversations
« Reply #22 on: June 14, 2011, 01:27:52 AM »
I am a heterosexual American male. However, I do not care about sports at all.

 Same here.  I remember someone asked if I liked girls just because I didn't like sports.  Lol!  I said, "Well, hell, bubba.  I ain't the one who's watching a bunch of dudes all wearing the same matching outfits run around smackin' each other on the a*@."  His girlfriend laughed.  Hard.  Pretty sure I could've got her number.  ;)  I'm not so mouthy these days so I just try and politely listen.
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Offline Tikhon.of.Colorado

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Re: How to be charitable in boring conversations
« Reply #23 on: June 14, 2011, 01:53:05 AM »
I am a heterosexual American male. However, I do not care about sports at all.
Welcome to the club.

I just generally say "I'm not really into sports." But, then again, I'm usually not accosted by total strangers about it.

same here.

Offline Sauron

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Re: How to be charitable in boring conversations
« Reply #24 on: June 14, 2011, 07:01:05 AM »
Just read up on some news highlights daily, keep you in tune with what's going on. You could just say you don't follow it and try to bring up a different subject.

But seriously Basketball dumb? Should have watch the Finals this year, really exciting stuff. Watch the 1976 Finals for starters. I've become a big Jordan fan recently (I grew up watching Shaq) and reminded me how amazing the game is.

Yes, basketball is dumb because dribbling is the dumbest rule in all of sports. The only reason for it is to keep basketball from being indoor rugby.

Jordan and Shaq can bounce a rubber ball in ways that I cannot, but still, the skills that amaze you ultimately come down to bouncing a rubber ball.

Offline Sauron

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Re: How to be charitable in boring conversations
« Reply #25 on: June 14, 2011, 07:04:39 AM »
Of course, if the whole purpose of not stating from the outset that you don't like sports is to avoid feeling "unmanly" (not an unfair conclusion as you felt the need to state your heterosexuality multiple times in the first few sentences) you could always say "Sorry, I don't follow (sport X)."  I know very few men who follow every sport (multiple sports, perhaps, but usually one of them is left to the wayside out of the American big 4 of baseball, football, basketball, and hockey), so not following the particular sport the other wants to talk about isn't too odd.  Of course, this still doesn't work, as the sports enthusiast will still want to talk about last night's game, at which point basically apply the time honored male conversational gambit of allowing your eyes to glaze over and replying "yeah...uh-huh...you don't say... that ref was blind...." at appropriate pauses.

It is not that I care about being thought unmanly. The reason for the heterosexuality quips is to mock American sports obsession as being the sine qua non of manliness.

I just want to be respectful to the other person while not having to fake my way through a conversation. A secondary concern is the awkwardness of announcing that I do not follow sports and then their fumbling to find another topic of conversation. Can you imagine being so dull as to have nothing to discuss but team sports?
« Last Edit: June 14, 2011, 07:05:40 AM by Sauron »

Offline katherineofdixie

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Re: How to be charitable in boring conversations
« Reply #26 on: June 14, 2011, 11:22:44 AM »
...American sports obsession as being the sine qua non of manliness.


Oops. Doggone it.

I'm a rabid football fan, so I'm the one annoying strangers with football talk. A couple of anecdotes:
1. Second date with my now-husband was a pro football game. When I stood up on the seat to yell uncomplimentary things to the refs, he moved away to sit in a different row
2. First Thanksgiving with prospective in-laws. I helped clear the table, loaded the dishwasher then retired to the den to watch football with the guys. Big faux pas in that family. Women in the kitchen, cooking or washing dishes - only guys watching football.

We've been married 30+ years, so at least he knew what he was getting into, huh?
« Last Edit: June 14, 2011, 11:23:30 AM by katherineofdixie »
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Offline IsmiLiora

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Re: How to be charitable in boring conversations
« Reply #27 on: June 14, 2011, 11:28:58 AM »
^ Ha, love it! I also love sports much more than my husband. He has been lucky enough, so far, to not have experienced attending a game with me. I do not yell at the refs (I used to be a ref for youth athletic league teams and that was stressful enough! ;)) but I do scream, very very loudly.

Plus, I also leave the Superbowl at halftime, because the halftime festivities are a waste of time! ;)
« Last Edit: June 14, 2011, 11:29:22 AM by IsmiLiora »
She's touring the facility/and picking up slack.
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Offline Sauron

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Re: How to be charitable in boring conversations
« Reply #28 on: June 14, 2011, 11:30:55 AM »
...American sports obsession as being the sine qua non of manliness.


Oops. Doggone it.

I'm a rabid football fan, so I'm the one annoying strangers with football talk. A couple of anecdotes:
1. Second date with my now-husband was a pro football game. When I stood up on the seat to yell uncomplimentary things to the refs, he moved away to sit in a different row
2. First Thanksgiving with prospective in-laws. I helped clear the table, loaded the dishwasher then retired to the den to watch football with the guys. Big faux pas in that family. Women in the kitchen, cooking or washing dishes - only guys watching football.

We've been married 30+ years, so at least he knew what he was getting into, huh?

So he did. However, being rabid about 22 men running 10 feet and falling down does escape me. I sometimes challenge sports fan to explain to me how watching Sports Center or reading the sports page is any different than watching Access Hollywood and reading celebrity gossip. I tend to get a lot of stammering in response.  ;D

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Re: How to be charitable in boring conversations
« Reply #29 on: June 14, 2011, 11:32:23 AM »
Just read up on some news highlights daily, keep you in tune with what's going on. You could just say you don't follow it and try to bring up a different subject.

But seriously Basketball dumb? Should have watch the Finals this year, really exciting stuff. Watch the 1976 Finals for starters. I've become a big Jordan fan recently (I grew up watching Shaq) and reminded me how amazing the game is.

Yes, basketball is dumb because dribbling is the dumbest rule in all of sports. The only reason for it is to keep basketball from being indoor rugby.

Jordan and Shaq can bounce a rubber ball in ways that I cannot, but still, the skills that amaze you ultimately come down to bouncing a rubber ball.


Ever watch women's collegiate lacrosse?  If you literally get too close to the girl holding the ball while she's making a run for the net, you're guilty of an infraction.

THAT'S the stupidest rule in all of sports!
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Offline podkarpatska

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Re: How to be charitable in boring conversations
« Reply #30 on: June 14, 2011, 11:34:07 AM »
Just read up on some news highlights daily, keep you in tune with what's going on. You could just say you don't follow it and try to bring up a different subject.

But seriously Basketball dumb? Should have watch the Finals this year, really exciting stuff. Watch the 1976 Finals for starters. I've become a big Jordan fan recently (I grew up watching Shaq) and reminded me how amazing the game is.

My son is a Knicks fan. I lost interest in the NBA after Jordan but he hooked my wife and me on this season. The finals were everything about what sports can teach when it is dramatic and well played. Heroes and villains and all that. I hope they don't lose next season to labor woes....
« Last Edit: June 14, 2011, 11:35:11 AM by podkarpatska »

Offline Tallitot

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Re: How to be charitable in boring conversations
« Reply #31 on: June 14, 2011, 03:28:05 PM »
You could always come back with "Can you believe what Bernadette Peters wore to the Tonys?"
just kidding

Unfortunately, a lot businesses in the US instruct thier employees to be chatty with costomers. I guess they're trying to put on a "freindly face". Banks are the worst offenders. i wish we'd get back to the time when business was business, not a social occasion.

People watch the Tony's? hmmm  :)
No. That's the beauty of it...it stops a conversation in it's tracks.
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Offline Tallitot

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Re: How to be charitable in boring conversations
« Reply #32 on: June 14, 2011, 03:42:15 PM »
Actually, you can talk about Broadway and still be manly....
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6S5caRGpK4&feature=related
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