We snap-judge those who fit “boring” stereotypes, assuming they’re less capable than the typical person and unfairly shunning them in social situations. Why do such people make us yawn before meeting or conversing with them?

New research shows that people have a lot of notions about what makes a stereotypical bore. These biases may not be objectively true but can have detrimental repercussions. You may miss out on a potentially nice chat if you go into a meeting with negative expectations, whereas a more open mind may allow a budding friendship to blossom. A 2014 research done at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, has proven that boredom is one of our most excruciating emotions, and it has a startling impact on our behavior. For example, it’s far more difficult for people to sit in a room doing nothing when they see an unfinished jigsaw puzzle that they’re not permitted to touch. This could explain why being stuck with a bore gets under our skin while we hear all the other lively conversations around us. Instead of having the opportunity to have a deeper social connection with someone, we’re obligated to learn every detail about our new acquaintance on the surface. Alas, we have a bad habit of harshly prejudging people before they’ve even had a chance to pique our interest. Social scientist Wijnand van Tilburg points out that people are considerably more inclined to use unfavorable stereotypes of others when they feel threatened.

Someone may just be concealing their insecurity by evaluating you harshly because of your profession or hobbies. Like beauty, boringness lies in the mind of the beholder.