Welcome to Faulty Advice Friday! This is the place to get your toughest questions answered.
How can I get out of a conversation with a coworker that I can’t stand?UnfocusedFrUsTrAtIoN, Utah
Happy Friday UnfocusedFrUsTrAtIoN!
This is a great question, one everyone has had to figure out at least once. It’s typically those poorly timed situations where we get cornered in the break room by that one person who effortlessly makes our skin crawl! The amount of material they seem to contain is, honestly, pretty astounding. Their superb banter about belly button lint, favorite candidates, strange rashes they just have to show you—it’s a wormhole of never ending discomfort. You may not hate this coworker, but, you still don’t want to hear about the horse shoe crab measuring contest and how the guy down the hall forgot to remind them to go…
One of the best ways out is through. YES, you heard me right! I’m saying you need to participate in this trainwreck of a conversation, and I don’t just mean actively listening until an escape route presents itself. You’re going to have to out weird that fantastically absurd beast.
If they’re telling you (in excruciating detail) about mumsie’s bunions peeling crusty skin bits after bath time—gag—your very next statement must be an offer to provide them with a mason jar to collect the flakes and bring them on for you. The more enthusiasm, the better. Don’t fret, you needn’t offer a reason for such a request, in fact, managing to keep up a mysterious caginess should work in your favor. Few and far between will your creep be a person who delights from such a request, ready and willing to appease. Almost 90% of the time they’ll start hunting for an escape route from you!
However, if you do happen to be unlucky enough to work with one of those super intense 10 percenters, we have ways to get away from with them too. MUAHAHHAHAHA *cough, cough* Ahem. So sorry. Anyway—
One tried and true method is to entrap someone near you. Somewhat more of a temporary solution, (as you may not always be able to beckon someone over) this is when you introduce the intern/new guy/unfortunate passer-by to your esteemed colleague and twirl your evil mustache while you gleefully walk away. It’s a right of passage for every employee, so who are you to deny this unsuspecting victim—uh—new comer, of their turn? Besides, you’ve paid your dues! Scurry away and find some old burned coffee to celebrate.
In today’s world, many of us have been working from home, navigating the waters of video chat meetings and marathon phone calls. You know that mug that says, “This meeting could’ve been an email?” Yeah…
The thing about all our fancy gadgets is: they don’t always work properly. From dropped calls, to frozen web cams—a little creativity goes a long way.
Don’t be afraid to hurt someone’s feelings, go for the jugular if you must. What’s the worst that can happen? You create the world’s next serial killer? Ehhh. You’ll be fine.
Oh, there is actually one other option. Slowly, (and I mean like slugs in molasses riding turtle back on a package you ordered from a sketchy website when drunk kind of slow) start removing bits and pieces from their space. Unnoticeable things at first, things they would just scratch their heads about and carry on. Work your way up to the big stuff. I once received a call from a colleague asking where their water cooler went… So… The slower you move, the more amusing it’ll be when they do notice.
Now, go out there armed with your newly acquired avoidance strategies. Escape the halitosis humbug, emerge as the blissfully cocooned caterpillar you always wanted to be. Social butterflies are overrated anyways.
Enjoy your coworker free weekend (hopefully) UnfocusedFrUsTrAtIoN!😍