Seven ways to avoid tedious chats
1 Jacuzzi japes
Take the awkward enforced proximity of an elevator, strip occupants down to swimwear and use high power jets to simultaneously blast their behinds while also rendering bodies invisible from the chest downwards and you have, in a nutshell, the Jacuzzi. They blow out air, but suck in conversation, making them the perfect place to find silence. Even if they have a bubbly personality (sorry) you should stay quiet here.
2 Be boring
Some people are just plain boring and that is OK. Unless, of course, you’re sat next to them at a brunch and they launch into a detailed monologue about why they are upsizing from a 75” to an 80” TV or how their favourite pasta is tinned spaghetti, in which case you need to fight dire with dire. Outbore a bore once and they will never bother you again.
3 Stock answers
Have a few go-to catchphrases on hand to cut-off an unwanted chat before it begins. “Why me?”, one of those days…” and “don’t get me started”, when accompanied by some eyebrow raising and well-rehearsed shrugs, will fend off all but the most persistent chatters. If you need to mix it up a little, or confuse them, we have found success with a passing “can’t stop, I’m off to wash my pet fish”, “the voices said hi” or, almost unintelligibly “I burnt my tongue on the chilli”.
4 Type it out
Why are people in offices STILL talking out loud when there are perfectly good email systems and WhatsApp groups? We get it, Lorraine, you had a great weekend, but we really couldn’t care less about your salsa classes, OK?
Frown, grimace, tut, roll eyes, mutter, quicken walking pace and generally act like you’re about to have some sort of psychotic episode and you can cut passing corridor chat by up to 75 percent. It has the added bonus of people thinking you’re really busy, even if you’re just going to fetch donuts or play with a puppy.
6 Fake it
As far as we are concerned it is perfectly feasible to pretend not to have heard, feign sleep, invent a telephone call or even deny that you can speak a language, any language, if it gets you out of any kind of small talk or passing discourse.
7 Talk to yourself
When did the myth that only crazy people talk to themselves begin? On a treadmill, out shopping, in a lift, as you drive – wherever you are, a little bit of self-charm is the only way to get any sense sometimes. Discuss your day, make a list of things to do, sprinkle in a few different accents and even laugh at your own jokes if it helps keep you sane.