A pretty harsh survey of over 500 people claims to have revealed the type of person considered to be the "most boring" – and it will undoubtably ruffle some feathers.
According to the study, which looked at a variety of personality characteristics and hobbies, the most boring person in the world is a “religious data entry worker, who likes watching TV, and lives in a town”.
The study authors claimed that the research, published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology, was not intended to make people that enjoy some daytime TV feel bad, but to highlight how some stereotypes can massively impact people’s lives and affect how some people are perceived.
“The irony is studying boredom is actually very interesting and has many real-life impacts,” said Dr Wijnand Van Tilburg, lead author of the paper, in a statement.
“[This] paper shows how persuasive perceptions of boredom are and what an impact this can have on people. 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.”
Not only are more "boring" people more likely to suffer from loneliness, mental health issues, and be less likely to be considered "competent", participants even stated they would need around £35 worth of compensation just to spend time with such a person. Van Tilburg explains that "boring" characteristics may lead to societal pushback against those that have them.
“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,” he continued.
The study was set up as a survey of 500 people, who answered a series of five sets of questions about jobs, personality traits, hobbies, and more, and how people with those characteristics are perceived, such as warmth and how competent they are. They were also quizzed on how much it would cost for them to hang around with a boring person.
When all was tallied, data analysis came in as the most boring job, with accounting, cleaning, and banking all taking up the remaining top slots. Sleeping, going to church, watching TV, and bird watching were the most boring hobbies – yet ironically, having no hobbies was seen as one of the most boring personality traits. Therefore, if you want to be perceived as interesting, have hobbies, just not those ones.
If you are looking to be the life of the party, the most "interesting" person in the room, this study also covers that. Performing arts, science (yay!), journalism (double yay!), healthcare, and teaching made the top five most interesting jobs.
The outcome was simple, but it has interesting implications. Those "boring" jobs are actually incredibly important to society, and stereotyping them as such may be directly impacting whether people enter those roles and how people in those roles may be treated by peers.
Having hobbies, particularly those out in nature, is critical for being both psychologically and physically as healthy as possible, yet society shuns those they feel are "boring".
According to Van Tilburg, we should probably just keep our opinions to ourselves.
“I would have thought that accountants would be seen as boring, but effective and the perfect person to do a good job on your tax return,” he said.
“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!”