I’ve never witnessed so many people willingly engage in something on a daily basis that they know they hate more than office small talk. There has never been an earnest and whole-hearted “how are you doing?” in the existence of morning hallway conversation. And the response to this question is as unfailing as a drunk dial by a college freshman. You simply and monotonously utter, “I’m good.” You could have a fork jammed into your forehead while having a stroke and you would still say “I’m good.” If the subject of your small talk is forced to linger longer than a brief hallway passing or a coffee refill, then we will be forced to go to our artillery and get a little cute with the response. This of course is where we turn to the days of the week. How am I doing today? Well…
- Monday: “I’m good, for a Monday.”
- Tuesday: “hey is it Friday yet?”
- Wednesday: “Hump day! We’re getting there.”
- Thursday: “It’s almost Friday.”
- Friday (easiest one): “Hey it’s Friday, I can’t complain.”
There is one other fall-back in office small talk we all use. It’s as safe and less controversial as purchasing a mini-van, and that of course is talking about the weather. Everyone has a vested interest in the conditions outside regardless of the fact that we spend the entire day inside. We care so much about the weather that the news updates us on it every 6 minutes. Suddenly dew points and humidity actually make their way into general conversation.
Some of us are much better at office small talk than others, but we all find it equally dreadful. It is especially excruciating for men who find themselves side by side at the urinals in a quiet bathroom. My mind races so fast in desperation to find another topic to discuss besides the usual, that I once started talking about the necessity of shin guards in soccer. The only person more bored than the guy I directed this at was me hearing myself talk about it. Enough is enough. If you’re fed up with this bland conversation and really want to stir the pot, try this one out: “So how do you feel about abortion?”