Brunswick resident Heather D. Martin wants to know what’s on your mind; email her at

Did you see that “study” just released with the headline, “Maine voted most boring state?” OK, I am paraphrasing a bit here because I can’t seem to find the original clickbait that scrolled across my screen, but it was something very much like that.

When I first saw the headline, I laughed and just kept moving to the real news. But then folks I know kept bringing it up in conversation and I decided I needed to know more.

The source article from Zippia was not hard to find and, to be fair, the authors are pretty upfront that they are not pretending their post is a deep dive into cultural anthropology of contemporary society. No, it is mostly meant to just be amusing, and I can get behind that. I love a good subjective ramble.

That said, the question remains – what makes us so boring?

Right out of the gate, let me note, that catchy little headline was very misleading. We were not ranked as the most boring state in the country, the article gives that distinction to Idaho. Maine came in as the 10th most boring, meaning there are nine other states more boring than us on this list. Heck, if one more state had been slightly more dull than us, we wouldn’t have made the list at all. So there’s that.

As to why, well, when you read the details, it is clear that the actual criteria used to establish “boringness” is wack.


The first measure is how many people are over 60. That’s right, apparently if you are past your youth, you are boring, which is a crazy thing to think. I know a lot of seniors who are, quite frankly, permanent residents of the wild side. Mom, I am looking at you.

However, given that this is how they weighed things, and given that, according to the Population Reference Bureau, we have the oldest population in the nation, it’s actually astounding we weren’t higher on the list.

The other measures they use to assess boringness are the percentage of people over the age of 15 who are married, percentage of households with kids, and how spread out the population is.

So, what they are saying is urban areas with young, childless, single people are less boring?

Actually, when you say it out loud like that, I can kind of see their point.

But, no – stop that. Yes, I can see how a city that never sleeps (New York was the least boring state) appeals, but as anyone who has been stuck on a subway with a person actively urinating nearby can attest, there are drawbacks to all that excitement, too.


More importantly, I think we might have forgotten that being boring isn’t all bad.

I could reference the supposedly Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times,” which I feel like we all understand better after COVID, or how boredom births creativity, but more than that, recent studies – actual studies – on happiness (the most famous being the 80-plus-year-long study published by Harvard) indicate that the key to true happiness lies in relationships with other people.

That includes making time for conversations, expressing gratitude and kindness, being present for conversations, allowing yourself to be vulnerable – all things that seem to go hand in hand with the very same things that make us boring. Interesting.

I live in Maine for a reason. Many reasons, really. I will take this slow, genuine, boring old place where elders are present, where I share laughs with strangers and spend time with family. Bring on a slow summer. Bring on a cookout. Let’s all be boring together.

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