Getting caught in a conversation with someone who doesn’t have anything interesting to say is the number one cause of office depression in the United States and Western Europe, according to a recent study that I created on my own. Don’t get stuck in a fun-sucking black hole. Use one of these foolproof plays.
The Office Wingman
You have to have at least one good friend at work. Got one? Good. Set up a code word or a hand signal.
When Josephine drags you down about how to copy and paste, look to your friend and give the signal. Your wingman will come to your aid and ask for your help on a made up project, or run by your desk and say you’re late for a meeting.
Prep Time: Enough time to make a helpful friend.
Problem: Your friend is actually an asshole and would rather watch you suffer.
The Pocket Dial
Set your office number as a favorite on your cell phone. When your coworker who sprays saliva with every other word starts talking to you, reach into your pocket and push your contact.
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Problem: You could accidentally call your mom and hear her voice coming out of your pants.
The Broken Record
Phil is talking about reconciling accounts, which has literally no effect on your job? No problem. Nothing says, “please stop talking” like saying, “okay,” “mhmm,” or “right” before he even finishes his sentence. The more he talks, the more you throw words into the middle of his story. Maybe even go for a drawn out, “Riiiiight. Right, right,” if he still doesn’t catch on.
Prep Time: 0 minutes
Problem: If he doesn’t pick up on your clues, your peers will see you as a dick and you’ll still sound like a broken record. You may drive yourself insane.
The Honest Abe
You could simply excuse yourself from the conversation. You’re busy and everyone knows that, so it won’t offend anyone if you say you really have to get back to work. Nothing is more honorable in the office world than an honest, working man. I don’t recommend this one, because honesty is overrated.
Prep Time: 15 minutes (Practice being honest for once.)
Problem: If you’re not actually busy, the person trying to talk to you will know you’re a dirty liar.
The Miles Davis
This is the last ditch effort. It’s the Hail Mary, the half court toss up at the buzzer. The play is simple: piss yourself.
You can’t run this play every time, because your career will go south very fast. Nobody wants to work with a guy who smells like a cat lady’s carpet. If you’re okay with humiliating yourself at the company Christmas party, then this play is for you. Executing the play makes leaving easy–you don’t even have to say anything! You just have to look at your crotch, flash a look of panic to everyone, and say, “Ummm…”
Prep Time: Repeated trips to the water cooler. Drink up.
Problem: You’ll be known as the guy who pissed himself. Remember to bring extra pants.