'Boring Uncle Theory': TikTok's Communication Technique To Stop Someone From Wasting Your Time

If you're being breadcrumbed or receiving a less than respectful and enthusiastic energy from a potential love interest –- or from anyone, really -– then it may be time to implement an effective communication technique known as the "boring uncle theory." Gaining attention on TikTok, the technique essentially boils down to maintaining polite, but disinterested responses to the person leading you on or not treating you with kindness. The less emotion and attention you give this person, the quicker they will let you be and free up your time for someone to enter your life who is deserving of you.


Most of us have a boring uncle figure at family functions who might tell long stories full of unnecessary details or ask you painfully awkward questions about your personal life — while you quietly devise an escape plan. The idea here is to transfer these same non-feelings you have about your boring uncle onto the person who is slowly ghosting or fizzling you or being manipulative. Here's how to take your power back with the boring uncle theory.

The 'boring uncle theory' is a lot like gray rocking

You may have heard of the term "gray rocking" in a relationship in recent years, which is a way of handling someone's toxic behavior towards you by remaining fairly unresponsive, non-reactive, and well, boring when they interact with you (via Medical News Today). The idea is that this person will lose interest when they don't get a rise. Not revealing your emotions, keeping a poker face, and avoiding eye contact will generally bore the toxic person, much like an unnoticeable gray rock would. While the boring uncle theory may be for less extreme situations, the desired result – your inner peace and self-worth – is similar.


Both the boring uncle theory and the gray rock method should only have to be implemented for a short period before the individual stops wasting your time. If you find that you're using these communication techniques more often than not, then something else needs to change and it may be time to put additional boundaries in place.

The theory requires emotional detachment, so make sure you're taking care of yourself

The boring uncle theory may sound simple, but if deep down you actually do desire attention, connection, and more of a relationship with the person who isn't giving you much energy, then the technique can be difficult to implement. You may not appreciate being left on read, but can't help and send a reply instantly as soon as you do hear from them. So, if you are going to give the boring uncle theory a whirl, make sure you're able to properly comfort yourself and give yourself some extra loving care in the process.


If you tend to be personable, friendly, and warm, then it's likely the method won't feel natural and may take some practice. People-pleasers may especially have some hurdles to jump when sticking to the boring uncle theory, but with practice, you'll likely learn to regulate your nervous system and choose a response from a place of clarity.