Friday, February 4, 2011

Sports, video games, and other conversation-breakers

Ashley: Tween 12 and 20 has a sports question, where Wallace tells a girl to develop an interest in sports lest she lose her boyfriend. And her best friend. The girl asks:
DR. WALLACE: With our boyfriends, my girlfriend and I double date about once every two weeks. At first it was fun, but now it just turns out to be one long discussion on sports. Even my girlfriend puts her two cents' worth in about who's going to win the Super Bowl (I don't even know who's playing). They talk about Ohio State football and basketball. And they talk about the Yankees being a cinch to win the next World Series because of the all-stars they recently signed.
I keep telling my boyfriend that I'm bored with all this sports talk, but it doesn't seem to matter. He still does it. I've asked my girlfriend for help, but she says she enjoys talking sports, too. I hate to be a party pooper, but I think my only solution is to refuse to double date ever again. Do you see a better solution? — Bothered, Zanesville, Ohio.
And Dr. Wallace responds with:

BOTHERED: If you want to stay with your boyfriend, maybe you should try to cultivate an interest in sports instead of growing increasingly exasperated with the topic. It's not fair of the other three to repeatedly leave you out of their conversations, but that doesn't mean they'll stop.

For you, deciding to find a way into the conversation — rather than refusing to double date again, which might cost you both your boyfriend and your best friend — could be the simplest solution. And once you're in the conversation, you'll probably find it easier to steer it to topics more to your liking.
Lulu: That's kind of like how I should be into LOTRO.

Ashley: Yes, you should be into LOTRO! Or you'll never get a double date again. Although we've moved on to League of Legends, and the new Star Wars MMO is coming out soon.

Lulu: I am less interested in League of Legends than LOTRO. I like high fantasy better than superheroes.

Ashley: League of Legends isn't superheroes. It's more Pokemon than anything. But it's all magic and stuff! Stuff, I tell you.

Lulu: Sure. In any case, according to Dr. Wallace, I should have developed an interest in video games SOME TIME AGO. I don't think you should be opposed to picking up interests of your friends' but you shouldn't have to develop all of them. Sometimes they are just dead boring to you!

Ashley: Look, you choose a champion, and they have different skills, but the main point is that it's an RTS; it has very little to do with superheroes. Also there are skins and terrible backstories! It's glorious.

Lulu: Dude. Sometimes you just can't get into something no matter how much someone else likes it!

Ashley: Oh, right, like sports.

Lulu: ... Yes.

Ashley: Dr. Wallace mentions this, but I would probably focus on how she can change the subject: conversational tactics as opposed to interest tactics!

Lulu: It can be really hard to change the topic when three people really want to discuss it though. Maybe she can plan an activity for the double date?

Ashley: They'll probably want to watch a sporting event. On the one hand - boring! On the other, though, it's much easier - the trick is to make fun of announcers. Announcers are always wrong, in all sports.

Lulu: Good to know!


  1. I think the real trick in this situation is to find other interests that you have in common with only one or two of the other people in the double-dating circle, that way you can also participate in exclusionary conversations! In an ideal world I guess this would make other people see the error of their ways, but in reality it just results in cyclical participation in conversation, which is fine.

    A real life example: Gallahad and I like the UFC, Lulu and Ashley like slash, Ashley and Gallahad play LOTRO, Lulu and I... are very pretty. Everyone gets a chance to talk / be bored / gaze adoringly upon Lulu and I when we get together to converse, and it seems to work out juuuust fine.

    Also Lulu and I should find a common interest.

  2. We have a common interest! At least you and I and Ashley do. We all like TELEVISION. It's me and Galahad who don't have a common interest! We just sit there smiling at each other vacantly. Sometimes we talk about Ashley.