When You Have No Interests Or Hobbies

If someone has this issue they'll say things like:

People can be concerned about this for its own sake. They picked up the idea that everyone is supposed to have a bunch of hobbies, and wonder if something is wrong with them because they don't. They can also worry their lack of interests may affect their social interactions - "Everyone will think I'm boring. I'll have nothing to talk about."

This site being about interpersonal skills and all, I'll focus on that side of things. I'll come at the topic from the perspective of, "It's not a total social deal breaker if you don't have half a dozen colorful hobbies, though it doesn't hurt to clarify what your interests are or find some new ones."

You're not necessarily boring to talk to just because you don't have any hobbies

When it comes to chatting with people it can certainly help if you have a bunch of hobbies to discuss, but they're not totally necessary. Plenty of people are still good conversationalists, and fun and interesting to be around, even though they live ordinary lives and mostly spend their spare time doing run of the mill things like watching TV. I'm sure you've also met someone who had several exotic interests, but was still stilted and awkward to chat to. Maybe they even brought up their hobbies, but droned on about them.

A lot of conversation is about things other than discussing your hobbies. If you meet up with two friends you may all talk about:

That's just a partial list. People can get together and talk for hours without once touching on their hobbies. If you're a good conversationalist while you cover those other things, few people are going to care that you don't spend your free moments pursuing all kinds of unique pastimes.

Maybe you're thinking, "Well that's when you're talking to someone you know. When you're meeting new people they usually ask about your hobbies. I don't have a good answer. I probably come off as boring." Again, while it is handy if you can rattle off five intriguing interests you have, you're not necessarily doomed if you can't.

Here are some ways to answer the "What do you do for fun?" question:

Another factor is that just because you have a hobby, it doesn't automatically mean it will give you a ton of free conversation material. Lots of people have hobbies they're fascinated by, but realize not everyone wants to hear about. Even common interests like following sports can be a dead end topic if the person you're talking to doesn't care about them. Or you may have a hobby you'd love to discuss, but mainly with another enthusiast; it's not fun for you to explain the basics to someone who knows nothing about it.

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Figure out what interests you actually already have

Sometimes people worry that they have no interests, but if they think about it for a bit they realize they're into more things than they first realized. They dismissed or didn't consider the ones they had. It can help to sit down and list out what your interests are.

The first thing to keep in mind is not to write things off:

It's fine if you wish you did have a hobby that was more all-consuming, but you shouldn't disregard the things you dabble in.

Next, think about whether you have any broader interests that aren't tied to one activity. For example, you read, watch, and listen to a seemingly random mix of online articles, YouTube videos, and podcasts. You also go to a mishmash of one-off events around town. At first it may seem you're haphazardly killing time, but then you figure out the commonality connecting everything you're drawn to is that you have an interest in learning about how culture and society works.

Actively try to develop new interests

Let's say that after doing everything above, you learn you still don't have any interests, or only a handful of things you're semi-into. As I've said, it's okay if you don't have any hobbies, or one's you're really passionate about. It's also understandable if you want to try to find some. You can purposely try new things and see what speaks to you. A few tips, based on some ways people can go wrong here:

If nothing else, trying out different interests will give you some new experiences to talk about. As you're testing things out you could even joke your hobby is looking for a hobby.

Ask if you could flesh out one of your existing casual interests

For example, if you casually watch movies, instead of just sitting in front of whatever's available, you could try to see some classic or cult films from the genres you like. You could also learn more about things like cinematography or screenwriting, so you can better appreciate what you see on the screen. You won't want to turn all your half-interests into full-fledged hobbies, but some of them might have that potential.

Address any outside factors that could be interfering with your ability to have interests

Some common interfering-factors are:

This article can't go into how to deal with these issues, or claim you can fix them in a jiffy, but it can at least bring them to your attention. Plenty of other sources have advice on them.