What the hell to say to my workmates?

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NIKON D70 - 1/1600 sec, f4.5 at 38mm

I'm not sure if this is only a problem that afflicts me or if most people also dread this. Perhaps it's a computer geek thing.

I hate it when I'm out of the office, say walking back from getting my lunch, when I pass by one of my co-workers on the sidewalk. I feel the social pressure to say something to them, but have no idea what. Even though we are happy to walk around the office freely without acknowledging each other constantly, as soon as we get out on the sidewalk it's a whole different story, it has to be done.

I never know what to say to them. I can't say hello as only 2 minutes ago we were in the same office together. A greeting seems unnecessary. Besides which we did the whole "Good Morning" thing already.

I haven't yet thought up a witty comment to make in that "meet on the street" situation. The problem with the witty comment gambit is that you need bloody hundreds of the things as you can't say the same one over and over. Actually you can if you are old and no longer give a crap about what people think about you, but I'm a ways away from that yet.

Normally I just settle for the grunt. Generally you can't go wrong with a grunt. It could mean almost anything. The problem comes though when the other person actually says something, and suddenly I have to reply. Which is especially hard when all I've thought about and practiced to this point is "the grunt".

Even worse is if the person says something to me just as a truck is driving by and I didn't hear what they said. Then I'm thrown into the whole "will the grunt be acceptable or not" quandary. God, the pressure.

I've tried that whole ignore them thing too. But that didn't go down too well.

So, do you have witty comments to make to your workmates when you see them out of the work environment during the day? What is acceptable protocol here?

The Photo

This is the view under someone's desk at the office. Yes I had a valid reason for being there.

Map of the photo location
Post Meta

Posted: Thursday, 1 June, 2006 19:50

Captured: 2006:06:01 12:21:15

Add your own comment

  • This is a situation I empathize with man, especially if you've spotted each other a long way off. Do you simply cross the road to avoid all contact and pretend you didn't see them or jump into a walk/jog stride to speed up the approach phase to get it over and done with? But if you're the type where you have to acknowledge, give them the all-powerful shooter and wink combo and seal the deal with a stroke like smile.
    Daniel - Thursday, 1 June, 2006 20:52
  • Fuck what a loser! But great photo! Couldnt you just smile and say how nice to see you, or how great it is to be outside. Dont you have anything positive to say to anyone outside of your office. What a geek!!!!!
    The blogger\'s widow half - Thursday, 1 June, 2006 21:35
  • On behalf of Dave I'd just like remind you ('The blogger's widow half') that a lot his readers are also losers...so watch yourself, we'll track you down using IP's and packet sniffers. (heh - I said 'packet')
    Darren - Thursday, 1 June, 2006 22:36
  • Oh yeah, Dave - this is an amazing photo! You're totally ruling this photoblog thing. Keep it up!
    Darren - Thursday, 1 June, 2006 22:37
  • Oh yeah Widow, don't get on the Geeks bad side. There is many of us.
    Dave - Thursday, 1 June, 2006 22:53
  • What a terrific photo. I never would have guessed what it was. I don't have your small talk problem as I work from home. I almost never see the people that I work with. :)
    Otto K. - Friday, 2 June, 2006 2:18
  • hahaha...too funny...i have the same problem and it drives me crazy that etiquette dictates that we should or have to say something....my favorite line is, "are you stalking me?" and then laugh.....i figure this will accomplish one oftwo things: 1) it'll make sure that they ignore me in the future (or hide) or 2) if its a girl, she'll just blush and figure im flirting and then promptly run as fast as she can in the opposite direction.. Nice shot btw! hehe
    Mark [Markmyshots] - Friday, 2 June, 2006 8:56
  • Great....great photo.....but what's with the sidewalk crap......footpath here my friend!.....remember your station in life....to a lady "with the sun behind you did you know I can see right through your dress".....to a male colleague....how many lunch breaks do you have? or the old fly's open mate! Haven't caught the Akl'r yet, ours comes on a Saturday, look forward to it. Loser is below the belt.....I hate that word with avengence......now I'm feeling right grumpy.
    Michele - Friday, 2 June, 2006 10:05
  • Just use the Maori salute, a small lift of the head combined with a simultaneous eyebrow raise. You can also then add small talk like, "S'up my brown bruvva", if you wish.
    Rik - Friday, 2 June, 2006 10:12
  • you could always say "we'll have to stop meeting like this , people will get suspicious"
    ma - Friday, 2 June, 2006 11:55
  • I thought it was just me, yeah man this is an issue, so far the Maori salute seems like the best option. but we need a company policy on this.
    Tim - Friday, 2 June, 2006 12:18
  • you mean you actually talk to your co workers INSIDE the office??
    Vidar - Saturday, 3 June, 2006 17:15
  • Sweet shot -- it took awhile for my eyes to understand actually what it is (I didn't read description). Sweet patterns.
    dean - Sunday, 4 June, 2006 19:18
  • this jalousie (I do not know the english word for that) reminds me of my office. Yes, I greet collegues when I meet them in the street (here in Hamburg we are only 2!), but: another thing: Germany is a country of High technology. (That is what they believe..) I have a jalousie like that in my office. The strip (?) is bad and needs to be replaced. I cannot use this curtain and the sun is disturbing me, reflections on the monitor. March 29, I ordered a repair of that curtain. Now it is June 4 and they still could not repair it. They came 3 times to look, to measure, to decide and they decided a new one will be cheaper than a repair. But the new one must be ordered from somewhere. So I am waiting now for 2 months to have a simple repair done. I could have knitted a new one in the meantime. Germany has a low economy in the moment. I understand that.
    Connie - Monday, 5 June, 2006 10:02
  • Yes this is a problem that I also find difficult but I usually walk on after the uncomfortable exchange of acknowledgements comforting myself with the knowledge that they probably found it just as awkward as I did.
    ajcg - Friday, 16 June, 2006 9:59
  • Hahaha- this is so true. I like ma's suggestion above - that's a good one although I suppose you can really only use it a couple times at the most or people will think you are crazy for repeating it all the time. I also agree with ajcg - they likely feel as awkward as you do. Me - I try to stick to the 'sup' if I can't think of anything else. Sometimes it seems to do okay - sometimes not.
    Jackie - Thursday, 29 June, 2006 7:32
  • Just say hello and smile, are you a complete soicial retard?
    Nathan - Friday, 17 November, 2006 16:11
  • I may be a complete social retard Nathan, but at least I'm brave enough to include my contact info on my posts and comments. Obviously, you are not, so just as much a social retard who has no courage.
    Dave - Friday, 17 November, 2006 21:16

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