Friday, November 16, 2018

Awkward Office Small Talk

While reading an old blog that my friend, Jeni T, and I started, I found a post I wrote 8 years ago about awkward small talk in the office.  This is still a relevant topic today, so I wanted to share it with all 0 of you who are reading this. 


Yes, we all experience times when we say Hello-In-Passing (HIP) or How-Are-You (HAY) to someone that we work with.  Someone that we see often, but just do not know their name (and maybe have no desire to learn it).

But then there comes the situation when you are either forced to converse more or stand alone in awkward silence.  I don't want others to feel obligated to talk to me.  I'm quite content standing in silence waiting for my left-over burrito to heat up in the microwave.  The comment, "Oh, are you waiting for the microwave?" is not necessary.  The fact that I am exposing myself to microwave radiation, while staring at the seconds as they countdown, should definitely be a sign.

One needs to know the appropriate walking speed when faced with a "moving" encounter.  If I have to walk to a meeting and I notice someone else that I do not know that well also walking to said meeting, I will either pick up my pace or slow down as to not have to walk right next to them.  This alleviates the pressure of awkward small talk.  Here's a perfect example...I was walking to my car recently and needed to pass a gaggle of slow moving co-workers who I don't know that well and with whom I didn't want to converse.  I pretended to be looking at my phone, picked up my pace and jokingly stated, "Passing on the left" while I speed walked by them.  We all fake laughed and I kept moving.  I thought I was in the clear...I was wrong.  One woman didn't get the social cue.  She picked up her pace and was practically running next to me while saying something about the shoes she was wearing.  While I appreciate the effort...it's AWKWARD.

I think the worst is the ladies room.  I'm sorry to bring up such a topic, but why do woman think that just because Mother Nature calls at the same time that that's an invitation to talk?  If I have the need to socialize, my first thought is not, "Let me go to the bathroom."  If we don't really chat in the hallway at work or by the water cooler or in the stairwell, why on earth would you think the ladies room is the place to start?

With all that said, I believe a nice smile is appropriate, accompanied by a pleasant Hello.

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