The unique and extremely popular [citation needed] authority on pop culture since 2008

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written by Sam Greenspan

A boy looking out the glass window feeling bored.

A study found the things in life that bore us the most. I came up with my own list.

I recently came across a British study that found the 50 most boring things in life. And fortunately, it’s not too British — there’s no entry like “Waiting in a long St. Swilling’s Day line at Harrods while BBC 2 plays Mel C.’s solo album” — so I felt comfortable applying it to our purposes here.

I’ve previously shared, then rebutted, three other judge-y studies: The most annoying sounds, grossest things people do and creepiest jobs. Today’s post follows the same format: I’ll share the results of the real study, make a few quips, then put together 11 picks of my own.

11 most boring things in life according to Science

So, first off, here are the study’s findings on the 11 most boring things in the world…

11 | Being broke

Sort of an abstract pick here, since “being broke” isn’t necessarily boring in and of itself, but generates boredom due to restricting one’s options for activities.

A man opening his wallet that has no money in it.

10 | Waiting in line at the post office

I don’t particularly find this boring. The times I’ve done it, I’m more mesmerized that SO many people are there. Like, I thought mail was dead? What is everyone doing there?

9 | Sitting in a waiting room

Why is waiting in a room so boring? It’s like a black hole of time, where minutes feel like hours and hours feel like an eternity.

8 | The routine of everyday life

Perhaps a little too macro?

7 | TV commercials

After memorizing every word and phrase in commercials, they become so predictable and formulaic that I could recite them in my sleep.

6 | Listening to politicians

Maybe this used to be boring, but now that they all say every insane, offensive, racist thing that pops into their mind, it’s riveting. At least, it’s riveting in an, “Oh my God, we’re all going to die” way.

5 | Slow Internet connection


It’s like waiting for a turtle to cross the finish line.

A turtle walking very slowly.

4 | Going through junk mail

There’s a reason why it’s called junk mail.

3 | Being on hold

My hatred of being on hold leads to certain accounts of mine staying open years after I’ve stopped using them, as that’s a better option than sitting on a cancellation phone call for seven or so minutes.

2 | Standing in lines

I remember someone who was really bored with standing in lines saying, “If I only had an hour left to live, I would stand in a line waiting to be called, because just being there feels like an eternity.”

1 | Being stuck in traffic

The most boring situation. You’re literally stuck in a cubicle with nothing else left to do other than wait that the snail pace would somehow turn into a turtle’s.

Cars stuck in a traffic jam.

11 most boring things in life according to me

Some good ones, some antiquated ones, some abstract ones. It’s a fine list. Mine is… different. Here are my 11 picks for the most boring things in life…

11 | Waiting for weights/machines/etc. at the gym

I belong to a 24-hour gym and maintain odd hours, so I try to go to the gym late enough to avoid having to wait. It’s the only way I keep my sanity and slight hint of muscle tone.

10 | 30-second unskippable video preroll

I would replace “TV commercials” in the study results with this, since it’s more relevant today. YouTube is usually pretty good about letting you skip a preroll ad after five seconds.

But when you’re watching, say, an ESPN highlight or a news clip, you know you’re getting the full, unskippable treatment.

It’s not long enough to start multitasking, but not short enough that you can shrug it off. Yes, getting bored in under a minute is ridiculous in the grand scheme of things; as Homer Simpson once said about flash frying a buffalo in 40 seconds: “Forty seconds? But I want it now.”

9 | The third hour of Monday Night Raw

Because the third hour of Monday Night Raw is the epitome of boring television.

Monday Night Raw WWE.

8 | The sixth time in a row your toddler wants you to read the same book

I love reading to my kid. He loves being read to. But he’s in the full-on toddler mode where after we finish a book, he unequivocally DEMANDS that we read it again. And again. And again. The first few times, I can handle it.

During the fourth and fifth readings, usually we’ll turn it into quiz time where he points at different things on the pages or the letters and I identify them for him. But that sixth reading? I’m over the book. He’s over it too, but still demands another reading out of force of habit.

So we slog through it, both bored, and then generally he runs off to try to bust into a cabinet or slap-pet the dogs.

7 | Monopoly, unless you play for keeps

Once upon a time, I detailed my smash-and-grab Monopoly strategy. In lieu of someone at the table employing said strategy, get ready for lots of slow, slow turns around the board, and eventually someone caving and finally buying Water Works and Electric Company.

6 | The Boring World of Niels Bohr

Physicist Niels Bohr sitting in his office.

5 | Gratuitously long instant replay reviews (in all sports)

I’m not in the “the games are too long” camp on any of the most popular sports, not even baseball. But I do think it’s mind-numbing when instant replay reviews start creeping up into the four-, five- and six-minute range. Especially since it tends to be a crapshoot anyway which way the call is going to wind up. If those long delays always, unequivocally, produced correct results, they’d be easier to take.

4 | Video game cut screens

Once upon a time, this would’ve been “waiting for your Candy Crush lives to regenerate,” but I gave that game up. Now, I focus on those moments when a video game has to waste your time with things like “story” when you just wanna get back to the action, especially video game nudity action.

3 | Having to register for an account when checking out of an e-commerce site

Websites must lose billions of dollars in sales from people deciding to buy something, getting ready to check out, finding out they have to register, immediately getting swept up in a tsunami of boredom and abandoning their cart.

2 | Any Internet slowdown/router hiccup/dip into 3G territory that delays what I’m trying to do online for longer than .01 seconds

We live in a fast world with fast internet. Anything slower than that means boring.

1 | 2 Broke Girls

After a few episodes, the show becomes repetitive and predictable. The better title would be 2 Boring Girls.