What does "being bored" actually FEEL like?

Inspired by this thread. But it’s something I’ve pondered for many years. I’ve read plenty of definitions and descriptions (here’s a wiki overview) but I don’t get it. My life is far from being scintillating, stimulating or even that interesting, but I cannot imagine finding nothing interesting or stimulating about my environment. Since I’m not locked in a solitary jail cell. I don’t get not being able to find something interesting to do, or look up, or someone interesting to talk to, or something.

There’s always books or other reading material, or the internet, when all else fails. If I’m stuck in a long line, I’ll check emails or texts or strike up a conversation or call a friend. Or going for a walk, or cleaning house, or writing stuff, or [del] hanging around the Straight Dope [/del] interacting online, or reading the news, or messing around in the garden, or cook, or just, whatever.

Is feeling bored the same as wanting to do something but not being able to come up with anything interesting to do so you do nothing? Or something else?

I would say that being bored is the (sometimes vague) sensation that there ought to be something better to do than is currently being done (or is currently possible given whatever constraints prevail) - and the associated frustration of this predicament.

I seldom feel it myself either. Lists.

When you have more ideas than free time, write lists. When you have free time, consult the lists for something to do. Boredom gone.

Welp, I guess I can always think of something better to do that whatever I’m currently doing! But that said, I can always think of something to do. Whether I do it or not is a different matter, but not doing it doesn’t make me feel bored. (Guilty, maybe?) Unless I’m completely misunderstanding what “feeling bored” feels like, which is distinctly possible.

And I am a compulsive to-do list-maker. I have to-do lists either in my head, on my phone or on the computer, almost every day.

When I’m bored, it’s because nothing’s capturing my interest. The things I normally like, like reading the boards, watching Netflix, taking walks, eating out, going shopping, watching sports… I don’t wannnnna. Even Buzzfeed starts to suck.

I associate being bored with being tired. I’m tired almost all the time.

I used to feel bored all the time when I was a kid. Especially during summer vacation. There’s only so many cartoons you watch, games you can play, books you can read, cookies you can bake, etc. before you start to feel like everything sucks.

Now I hardly ever experience it, except when I’m having a depressive spell. When this happens, I just can’t muster up any enjoyment in anything. It’s kind of like everything is “meh” or “what’s the point?” I have fairly simple pleasures, too. But nothing is stimulating when I’m feeling poorly.

When I was a kid, there were plenty of times there was nothing on TV, electronic games didn’t exist, there was no internet, you’d read all the books you had on hand, and you couldn’t get to the library, your friends were doing something else, your cousins had moved to Brooklyn, and it was raining, so you were stuck inside. If you asked your parents what you could do, they’d say “clean your room.”

Times are different.

When you can get a book on your Kindle app almost instantaneously, as long as you have a little money, when you don’t need someone present to play a game, because you can play the computer, or play someone online, and when your TV can wirelessly connect to Hulu, VUDU, and Netflix, plus you have a backlog of stuff on your DVR, it’s just a different time.

If you want to experience boredom, spend a day with a toddler. You have to spend enough time with them that their adorableness and playfulness wears off. Toddlers are adorable and fun but sooner or later you will be tired of doing the same hilarious yet basic thing for the 100th time.

You’ll want to do all the things you describe, but you can’t. You can’t do anything interesting because they’ll ruin it. You can’t even look stuff up and learn on a laptop or smart phone because they’ll interrupt you too often. Toddlers have this insidious ability to time their interruptions perfectly so that they’re not actually holding your attention, but you literally can’t even think about anything interesting or complex because as soon as you get into a thought they need you.

I think boredom is the desire for something…else. Something different. No matter how many things you know you could do, it’s like going to a fully stocked refrigerator and just standing there with the door open…

I don’t get bored often. When I do, it’s a sense of restless frustration.

Frustration is a good way to describe it. It’s a frustration you can’t do anything about. Haven’t you ever had to sit through something you found tedious? Don’t like sports, but had to sit through a football game? It’s a slow, drawn out frustration, different from the angry frustration you get when you can’t find the right screwdriver to get a battery compartment opened, but frustration nonetheless.

The only time I can think of being bored is when I am in a situation where I have to sit with people I don’t want to be with. Most of the time I find someone interesting to have a conversation with but there are times when I just feel trapped and want to just sneak out.

Usually the only time I’m bored is when I’m stuck in a meeting I don’t want to be in. Otherwise, there’s some means of escape. When I was in school, that was most of the time.

I agree with this. I’m rarely bored, there is always something to do, but sometimes you just want something different, and that to me represents "boredom."Whether it’s a different genre of literature, movies, new art supplies, variety in the food you prepare and consume… and so on. For me even taking the same route on my scooter can get boring at times. Though the familiarity of it feels safe, I like to mix it up and explore new territory and get my heart pumping a little faster. And I suppose that applies to other, and perhaps more personal aspects of one’s life, too - like intimacy and sex, for example. Not to derail this thread, but often people cheat out of “boredom.” I don’t feel it’s a legitimate reason to do so, but it happens all the time.
If this is you - find a partner that’s adventurous in bed to keep things from getting stale :smiley:

Even in the more primitive Internet days of the winter of 2000, I experienced that difference. Back during the Washington’s Birthday blizzard of 1979, I remember getting cabin fever by the second day because you really couldn’t go anywhere with that two feet of snow on the ground. My roomie was out of town, the blizzard itself had ceased to be interesting, and I didn’t have any books in the apartment that I hadn’t already read twice over.

Similar blizzard in 2000, I’m chattering away on the Dope with a bunch of fellow loons. No boredom at all.

I’ll tell you where I’ve been bored: waiting in line for customs and immigration at airports. Cellphones and internet is forbidden.

It feels kind of stuffy, like not getting quite enough air, or having a cold in the nose. Things feel…mashed up inside. It’s vaguely claustrophobic, as if the walls are closing in. But none of this is so sharp as to be scary. (Scary isn’t boring any longer!)

Y’ever set out to masturbate, and just can’t even get started? The arousal just ain’t there? Boredom is kinda like that.

Albrecht Durer got it right in “Melancolia I.” You can be surrounded with nifty things, good toys, puzzles, treats for the mind…and find it totally non-engaging.

I have one that’s about to turn 2 (in about 3 weeks), and the one thing I never get around him is bored. He certainly needs me a lot, but I guess I don’t get too tired of doing stuff a hundred times. I have a blast reading the same book and noticing that he can point out more things each time, or trying to teach him to identify each member of The Beatles in a photo, or having him “help” me play guitar, or a million other things he wants to do. I might get tired, and I might get frustrated here and there, but I never get bored.

Like many of you I am too smart to get bored. There is just so much to do and learn and life is so short.

Life is too short to waste, I agree…but sometimes you get a cold and have to lie in bed a few days. Boredom is kind of a occasional illness.

It has nothing to do with being smart or the desire to learn. What if you wanted to learn, but were in an empty room with no books, and nothing, not even rocks you could turn into a set of checkers, and you were by yourself, with no electronics, and nothing to write with.

Boredom is used as punishment and torture.

In Basic Training, the Army tries to bore you on purpose to see who either goes a little crazy, or becomes destructive looking for something to do. You don’t have to LIKE boredom, you just have to tolerate it.