News & Opinion | March 23, 2022 12:16 pm

Are You the Most Boring Person Alive?

A recent study details the dull jobs, hobbies and personality traits that make someone a boring person

50-year-old man relaxing on the sofa at home
A boring man watching boring television
JOSEP M ROVIROSA

Are you a god-fearing accountant who lives in a suburban town and enjoys catching up on your favorite TV shows? Congrats, you might just be among the most boring people on earth. Most of us probably already would’ve guessed that, but now there is scientific proof (kind of) to confirm that boring people with boring lives and hobbies are, in fact, super boring.

A new peer-reviewed study published in the March issue of the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin reveals the most stereotypically dull traits, hobbies and lifestyles thought to render a person unforgivably boring.

“Unfortunately, some people are perceived as boring,” wrote the researchers in the study, which was helmed by University of Essex psychology professor Wijnand Van Tilburg. “Despite the potential relevance that these perceptions might have in everyday life, the underlying psychological processes and consequences of perceiving a person as ‘boring’ have been largely unexplored.”

To get to the bottom of what really makes some people just mind-numbingly dull, researchers asked hundreds of volunteers to rate the most boring jobs, traits and pastimes. The results are more or less what you’d expect, and are, in fact, pretty boring.

As far as boring jobs, data analysis, accounting, tax/insurance, cleaning and banking ranked among the top five most boring ways to make a living. The most “exciting” jobs, on the other hand, included those in the fields of the performing arts, science, journalism, healthcare and — somewhat surprisingly — teaching.

When it comes to boring hobbies, sleeping topped the list. This feels a little unfair considering sleep is really more of a biological necessity than a hobby, but I suppose if you’re one of those people that’s really into sleep-hacking to the extent that sleeping really does become a hobby, that is pretty lame. Other boring pastimes include religion, watching TV, observing animals and math. People who live in small towns and cities are also thought to be more boring than those of us who choose to settle in thriving metropoles.

As for boring personalities, the stuff that makes you truly just a bore to your core, those who lack opinions and a sense of humor and love complaining are thought to be among the most dull.

While it’s mildly amusing to make fun of boring people for being boring, the point of this study actually seems to have been to expose potentially harmful stereotypes that may lead to isolation and depression. According to the researchers behind the study, these stereotypes that cause people to be perceived as “boring” produce something of a self-fulfilling prophecy, making others less likely to engage with the boring person, thus depriving them of an opportunity to prove they’re not actually boring.

“People may not take time to speak to those with ‘boring’ jobs and hobbies, instead choosing to avoid them,” said Van Tilburg. “They don’t get a chance to prove people wrong and break these negative stereotypes.” This, according to the study, can lead to social isolation and mental health problems.

Still, maybe they should just try to be less boring.