I have been struggling with the same dilemma every Monday AND Friday.
Perhaps you’ve already covered it (in which case PLEASE send me the advice), but I need to know how to avoid my co-workers’ irritating desire to chat about our personal lives. Namely, “THE WEEKEND.”
Don’t get me wrong, we have a great working relationship, but we are not friends. I don’t care about their weekend plans or weekend recap, and I certainly don’t want to talk about mine. (Yes, perhaps I’ve grown to be a curmudgeon).
I’ve tried ignoring. I’ve tried brusque participation. I’ve tried hiding. But I cannot seem to escape, “HOW WAS YOUR WEEKEND?” (Or on Friday, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING THIS WEEKEND?”)
Is it me? Is it them? Should I just retreat permanently to my basement or perhaps the Yukon Territories? Please help.
Sincerely, Weakened by the Weekend
As we all know, people are the worst.
They always want to talk. Or they want you to talk. Or they chew too loudly. Or they cut you off in traffic. Or they don’t tip. Or they say things like, “Hot enough for ya?” Or they stand too close to you in line. Or they talk during movies. Or they knock on your door right after you put your baby to sleep, and then your dogs bark, and then your baby wakes up, and then you answer the door and it’s some guy who wants to sell you magazines. You tell him you’ll buy every magazine in the entire world — even the ones in languages you don’t understand, like “Finland Monthly” — if he can just get your baby back to sleep, but he can’t, so you don’t have to buy magazines but you do have to spend the next hour rocking that baby.
People are just the worst.
Here’s the thing, though, Weakened: Your co-workers don’t sound particularly bad. They’re people, so they’re the worst; that’s established. But they don’t sound like the worst-worst. Like, they’re not as bad as any of the people I just ranted about. All they want is the very small, very normal kind of co-worker interaction that happens in every workplace every Monday and every Friday.
You don’t want to participate, and that’s your prerogative. But to answer your “Is it me?” question: Yes. It’s you. You have indeed become a curmudgeon.
Maybe you should embrace that. It doesn’t have to mean moving to the Yukon Territories (or your basement); it could just mean taking a more aggressively antisocial attitude. Instead of ignoring your co-workers or hiding, Curmudgeon, you can grunt at them and turn your back. They’ll eventually stop trying to interact and instead just leave you alone. Which is how you’ll eventually die. Alone. Then you won’t have to deal with anyone ever again.
Hope that helps.
Please send your questions, complaints and irritations to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “Dear Crabby.”