Walking through the office on my way to feed my caffeine addiction, I find the room empty and coffee available. With a sigh of relief, I start the process of fixing my sugar laden cup of dark goodness. My mind wanders through all the items that need to be completed and what work I can accomplish in the next few hours. Then the sound of shuffling feet on the tile steals my attention from my thoughts.
“So, how’s married life?” says the voice behind me. With a sigh, my thoughts of work crumble and fall, not like a house of cards but more like the demolition of Pruitte-Igoe. This is the question everyone feels they must ask when they do not have an intellectual thought as they approach a recently married co-worker. And by recently married, I mean someone who was married in this century. The question ranks up there with “how are the little ones doing?”, though the aforementioned little ones are in their final years of high school. The days of water cooler chat on current events have been reduced to a handful of canned inane questions. In return, a canned answer is expected- everything is just fine and just peachy almost as gleeful as a unicorn shooting rainbows out of its ass. Just once, to change it up a little, I would like to turn around and tell them something like “my spouse ran off with her newfound pimp after the “little ones” became addicted to huffing model glue. Thanks for asking“. I imagine leaving their stunned expression behind as I walk away and hide my smirk with my freshly brewed cup of coffee.
Why do people feel the need to ask such asinine questions in the work place? I think it is time we expand our canned repertoire of pleasantries to include some new ideas to keep with the times and maybe generate some interesting conversations. Next time you are at a loss for words in that awkward moment of silence with your co-workers, try a few of these conversation starters.
- “So, how is that deadbeat of an ex-husband you have been bitching about for the past five years? Still ducking court ordered rehab?”
- “Did your teenage daughter ever get that STD checked out? Make sure you express my apology. I didn’t realize it could be transmitted in that manner.”
- “I have been wondering, what does it feel like to be hated by most of the people in your department? Is it similar to when you were in high school?”
- “Sorry you were passed up for the promotion. It just goes to show us all that it isn’t about the special favors behind closed doors but actually doing work that will get you ahead.”
- “We have a pool going around the office to figure out what the meaning is behind your tramp stamp. Wanna clue me in? Does the “X” have some special meaning or is it just a target?”
I am sure you will find adding a little inventiveness to your ice breakers will help with the boredom we usually experience around the office. Feel free to share some of your more demented responses with your co-workers. Be creative as you express your inner monologue-it’s okay really, everyone is thinking the same thing as you. Above all, make sure you smile as you are escorted out of the building as we need fodder for tomorrow’s conversation.
[Disclaimer: TTMM holds no responsibility, implied or actual, for any physical damaged caused by co-workers who lack a grasp of the openness to think outside the box on conversation openers. We cannot be held financially responsible as the author is one of those above mentioned “deadbeats”.]
Until next time…