You’re faced with a struggle come Monday. No, I’m not talking about the standard two-day hangover recovery period. I’m talking about the awkward small talk you’re forced to endure at the office, which is only slightly worse. It’s a difficult balance, because while you want to be buddies with your boss and coworkers, you also want to tell them absolutely nothing about your personal life.
You need your boss to value you and believe you’re necessary (even if the only thing you actually provide is your presence), which means you have to work hard at avoiding word vomit at work.
So, what to talk about? You’re used to talking to old people because you have parents, but you have a major common interest: you. While your parents spend most of their time lecturing you, at least it’s something. They may ask why you’re not dating anyone who’s marriage material, why you’re drinking so much, and why you’re not doing a better job at managing your sorry finances, but it’s not radio silence. Sometimes it’s worse, but that’s what the mute button is for. Your parents won’t know they’re being ignored, because every so often you’ll chime in and let them know “I really think I’ll meet someone soon!” or “I’m really giving it 100% at work.” Lies, of course, but everyone knows that when it comes to parents, ignorance is bliss. Similarly, when talking to coworkers or an all-powerful boss, there are certain topics that should be avoided at all costs, come hell or high water.
1. Your Slightly Sketchy Personal Life
While many post-grads are lucky enough to work with people their own age, if your office has a median age of 45, the struggle is real. When your colleagues ask if you’re in a relationship, you can’t exactly tell them you’re involved in a hookup that’s going nowhere except the bedroom. When they ask what you did over the weekend, you probably shouldn’t let them know that you made bad decisions Saturday and cursed your liver Sunday. If you happen to have your act together, you can tell them how you and your significant other went to game night and grocery shopped, but if you’re drunk more often than you’re sober, you’re forced to search for common ground that may or may not exist.
2. Controversial Politics
If you’re struggling to find a neutral conversation topic, the safest is obviously work. However, if for some odd reason you spent the day alternating between Gchat and Facebook stalking, you don’t exactly have a lot to report on, so this doesn’t always take up as much time as you’d like. You can turn to current events, but that’s not always safe, especially if politics are involved. After all, it could get awkward, and you’re trying to fly under the radar until you make it to happy hour.
3. Their Kids
You can talk about the their kids, but do you really care? When you can’t even deal with the responsibility of owning a dog, it can be stressful to hear about where someone’s kid is going to college, especially if you just graduated yourself. It will remind your coworkers that you’re basically twelve, and it will make you realize that you probably have more in common with their kids than them.
Stick to the safe stuff. Focus on the new restaurant you had dinner at, omitting the fact that you poured what amounted to a bottle of liquor down your gullet. Tell them about the music festival you went to, even if you were too drunk to actually remember it. If you stick to boring topics, you’ll be golden. Your job will be safe, which is important, because everyone remembers how terrible funemployment is. So, suck it up, talk about the weather, and be forever grateful that you can afford to fund your questionable weekend activities.