A study found the moments 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.
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.
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
8 | The routine of everyday life
Perhaps a little too macro?
7 | TV commercials
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
4 | Going through 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 cancelation phone call for seven or so minutes.
2 | Standing in lines
1 | Being stuck in traffic
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 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
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
5 | Gratuitously long instant replay reviews (in all sports)
I’m not in the “the games are too long” camp on any of the major 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.
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.