If your job involves working with others on a regular basis, chances are you get dragged into annoying conversations that you don’t want to be a part of. If not, then perhaps you’re one of the people who drag others into them. Why the Thriller zombie photo? That will make more sense further down.
You know how it works – out of the blue, a co-worker strikes up a conversation about something rather meaningless that you really don’t care to talk about. As much as you want to just walk away or tell them to shut up, you feel obligated to be polite and chat or at least listen. After all, you have to see and work with this person daily and don’t want to cause any hard feelings.
Most workplaces have repeat offenders. We’ve got a few at my office. One of them is so predictable, I often know what he’s going to talk my ear off about before it happens. I also know I’ll have to fake being at least mildly interested in order to keep the peace. The guy I’m speaking of can be an enjoyable person to talk to sometimes, but it’s hit or miss.
With the news of Michael Jackson’s death last Thursday, I knew what was going to be the topic of interest the following day at work and who was going to bring it up first. Friday morning, I entered the office and headed for my desk. Before I could even sit down in my chair, guess who ran over and enthusiastically said, “Hey – have you heard the news…”
“No, I live under a rock on the far side of the moon where radio transmissions can’t reach.”, I replied. Actually, I didn’t really say that, but I sure wanted to. HELLO MCFLY! Anybody in there? He knows full well that I don’t care for celebrity chat because I tell him so every time he engages me in that topic, but it doesn’t matter. Every time one of them dies, gets arrested, or stars in a film he’s interested in, I get to hear about it like it’s some some kind of late breaking, important news flash… and then listen to him repeat the same thing to other employees nearby, one by one.
In all fairness, sometimes I’m the annoying conversation starter. We probably all do that to others from time to time. At least I don’t do it often and repeatedly bother people with trivial things they don’t care to discuss.
My example isn’t of the most annoying conversation I’ve been dragged into but it is extra annoying when you see it coming from a repeat offender. Had someone else (a non offender) brought up the same topic, I may not have been as annoyed. I enjoy occasional meaningless “water cooler” chat, but I do prefer it to be with someone who understands that I have a TV, radio, phone, the internet, etc. and news DOES in fact come my way and I don’t need to be informed about every celebrity death, as if all life hinges on the knowledge, before I can even sit in my chair at the start of the work day.
Do you encounter this at your place of work? Do you ever tell the person to just shut up, or fake being mildly interested until there is opportunity to escape the conversation without appearing too rude about it?