People Will Find You Boring If You Love to Do This, New Study Says
Stereotypically boring people are seen as less warm and less competent, too.
If you've ever struggled to attract new friends or relationships, your hobbies just might have something to do with it. Indeed, certain stereotypically boring pastimes can lead to social stigma that stymies success, according to new research. Read on to learn what the research revealed people thought were the snooze-worthiest hobbies—as well as professions—and what that means for people who do them.
New research reveals people find watching TV, bird watching, and practicing religion to be the most boring pastimes.
A new study into the science of boredom conducted at the University of Essex and published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin has just revealed the jobs, characteristics, and hobbies that are generally considered to be the most boring among all professions, qualities, and pastimes. With feedback from 500 people across five experiments, researchers found that people overall thought the most boring hobbies were going to church, watching TV, and bird watching.
Further, the paper found that respondents perceived people who live in small cities and towns to be more boring compared with people who live in large urban environments. And it found the jobs considered to be most boring are those in data analysis, accounting, cleaning, and banking.
So taken together, that means that the results of the survey reflected the sentiment that an overall boring person would be a religious data-entry worker who lives in a small town and likes watching TV.
People perceived to be boring may have trouble making friends.
Wijnand Van Tilburg, PhD, lecturer in the department of psychology at the University, initiated the study as a way to look into the stigma of perceived boredom and how it can impact people in meaningful ways. Indeed, the research revealed that stereotypically boring people are generally disliked; people want to avoid them due to preconceptions about their personality and the energy they bring to a social environment.
"This paper shows how persuasive perceptions of boredom are and what an impact this can have on people," he wrote. "Perceptions can change but people may not take time to speak to those with 'boring' jobs and hobbies, instead choosing to avoid them. They don't get a chance to prove people wrong and break these negative stereotypes."
He added, "The very fact that people choose to avoid them can lead to social ostracization and increase loneliness leading to a really negative impact on their lives."
Stereotypically boring people are also thought to be cold as well as less competent.
The study also showed that being a person perceived as boring consequentially face even more challenges: People tend to think stereotypically boring people are also less competent with a low degree of interpersonal warmth. As a result, people thought to be boring may be at greater risk of harm, addiction, and mental health issues due to their marginalization.
"It was interesting to me to see the study showed that boring people were not seen as competent," Dr. Van Tilburg wrote. "The truth of the matter is people like bankers and accountants are highly capable and have power in society—perhaps we should try not to upset them and stereotype them as boring!"
The most exciting job is in the field of performing arts.
On the flip side, the survey also assessed the top five most exciting jobs according to common perception. The first most exciting job, it found, was in the performing arts. The next most exciting jobs, in order, were in the fields of science, journalism, health, and teaching.