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This probably won’t shock anyone, but no one’s ever mistaken me for a genius. I was far from what some would consider an exemplary student and I entered the working world with a very mediocre marketing degree from a school that no one had ever heard of. Analytical thinking isn’t something that comes natural to me, and to counter that, I’ve had to rely on other strengths of mine to progress through life. One of my strong suits that I am very proud of is my ability to carry a conversation. It’s one of the few things that I’m confident that I can do better than most. I’ve made some lifelong friendships and progressed in my career due to the fact that I compulsively start conversations with people I don’t know while I’m outside for a smoke or standing at a bar waiting for my actual friends to show up. I’ve had the privilege to meet all different types of people due to the fact that I can strike up a conversation with anyone and for that I am thankful.
But we’re not going to talk about those pleasant conversations, because there’s no fun in that.
Having a penchant for chatter also brings me the displeasure of enduring conversations that make me want to pour bleach in my ears. Everyone’s guilty of of droning on about topics that the other parties involved couldn’t care less about, but these are the three most common ones that I’ve come across.
Your College Major
While hanging onto the glory days isn’t a new concept, there is just something off putting to me about someone who references what they majored in 3 years ago as means to dignify their misguided opinions. This doesn’t apply to everyone. For example, if you have a Law Degree please let me know before I do something illegal. Although, if you majored in psychology and now spend your days formatting spreadsheets then I don’t want to hear your in depth analysis of my buddy’s psyche because he’s screaming obscenities at people on the street after he’s had a few too many. He’s just an asshole and you’re not Freud, so hop off with your shot glass psychiatry.
Your Latest Hobby
I’ll be honest- I’m a repeat offender of this one. I’m what some would call compulsive when it comes to my interests. When I get into something, I get really fucking into it and it’s hard for me to shut the fuck up about it. I realized early on though that I was annoying as shit and that my friends got sick of hearing about my latest passion project, so I check myself as much as possible. Others don’t share this same self awareness and it drive me nuts. I may sound like a dick but I really couldn’t care less about your most recent photography endeavor. I know you spent half your paycheck on that new Nikon and have a sweet Instagram handle of @YOURNAMEphotography, but we both know that you’re going to give up when you discover that your real passion is computer coding after binge watching Silicon Valley on a hungover Sunday. And then you will quit after a week because that shit is hard.
I’m all for the generic right-after-work pleasantries of “How was your day?” “Crazy, client on my ass” “Yeah I hear you, need another beer?” Those are fine, they get the night going, but let’s keep the technical talk in the office. This one can be tricky if the majority of your friends work in the same industry as you like mine do. I get that you want to vent and give every detail about all the issues you perceive within your respective places of business. But honestly, no one else give a shit. Once I cross that threshold to the outside world, at the end of the day, I like to turn the part of my brain off that gives a shit about pitch decks and budget breakouts. I sure as hell don’t want to hear you talk about industry trends while ripping heaters outside after our 3rd shot either. When talking about your job with others, there is a line to tow with much detail to give. The only exception to this rule is networking events, and let’s face it: you stopped going to those years ago..