You can be on Entrepreneur’s cover!

Scientists Have Determined What Makes You Boring to Other People How many traits identified in this study do you have?

By Dan Bova

entrepreneur daily

Forget about delusions of grandeur — turns out many of us could be suffering from delusions of being interesting.

A new paper, "Boring People: Stereotype Characteristics, Interpersonal Attributions, and Social Reactions," set about identifying what makes a person boring, and the results are pretty harsh.

Led by the University of Essex's Wijnand Van Tilburg, researchers asked more than 500 people to rank the most boring characteristics, hobbies and jobs in other people. Here are some of the top results of those surveys. (Prepare to be offended.)

Related: 8 Science-Backed Techniques That Will Make You More Likeable

Boring personality traits:

  • No sense of humor
  • Bad conversationalist
  • Being inactive
  • Self-centered
  • Actively disliking things

Boring occupations:

  • Accounting
  • Banking and finance
  • Librarian
  • Manual labor
  • Sales

Boring hobbies:

  • Watching TV
  • Collecting
  • Crafts
  • Gaming
  • Playing golf

What's so bad about being boring?

While no one wants to see people stifling yawns whenever they start to speak, the study suggests that being boring can have a bigger negative impact on our lives than we think. Study subjects admitted to regarding boring people as a burden that they would rather avoid than suffer through in social and business settings. "Our research shows that people who possess stereotypically boring features are perceived as both less interpersonally warm and less competent, and they elicit social avoidance by others," write the researchers.

How to not be boring

Does this mean you are doomed if you are an accountant who isn't good at small talk and likes to knit on the weekends? Of course not. Psychology Today suggests these methods to keep yourself off the dull list:

1. Don't complain to other people.

Friends are interested to know if something serious is happening in your life, but no one wants to hear you go on and on about a delayed flight.

2. Don't talk about yourself — ask people questions about their lives.

And don't just ask one question, follow up to get deeper. This isn't being nosey, it is being interested.

3. Don't be afraid to change the topic of conversation, even if it seems random.

People tend to perceive this as rude, but it is a surefire way to keep a conversation crackling.

4. Be present when someone is talking (i.e. don't grunt while checking your phone).

Body language is just as important as what you say to show that you are engaged.

5. Told a story that got a good laugh? Remember and retell it at your next gathering.

Like a standup comedian, have a couple of reliable stories to fall back on. (Note: only do this if you're not hanging out with the same people!)

Related: The Surprising Truth About Likability

Now, go forth and be the riveting friend and colleague you're almost certain you are.





Dan Bova

Entrepreneur Staff

VP of Special Projects

Dan Bova is the VP of Special Projects at Entrepreneur.com. He previously worked at Jimmy Kimmel Live, Maxim and Spy magazine. Check out his latest humor books for kids, including Wendell the Werewolf, Road & Track Crew's Big & Fast Cars, and The Big Little Book of Awesome Stuff.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Resumes & Interviewing

Build a Better Resume with This $35 Subscription

AI Resume Builder promises to help you apply to jobs twice as fast.

Side Hustle

He Took His Side Hustle Full-Time After Being Laid Off From Meta in 2023 — Now He Earns About $200,000 a Year: 'Sweet, Sweet Irony'

When Scott Goodfriend moved from Los Angeles to New York City, he became "obsessed" with the city's culinary offerings — and saw a business opportunity.

Marketing

I Got Over 225,000 Views in Just 3 Months With Short-Form Video — Here's Why It's the New Era of Marketing

Thanks to our new short-form video content strategy, we've amassed over 225,000 video views in just three months. Learn how to increase brand awareness through short-form video content.

Business News

Samsung Makes 6 Day Workweeks Mandatory for Executives as the Company Enters 'Emergency Mode'

Samsung said its performance "fell short of expectations" last year. Now executives are required to work weekends.

Productivity

6 Habits That Help Successful People Maximize Their Time

There aren't enough hours in the day, but these tips will make them feel slightly more productive.

Leadership

You Won't Have a Strong Leadership Presence Until You Master These 5 Attributes

If you are a poor leader internally, you will be a poor leader externally.