From: The New York Times

The Awkward but Essential Art of Office Chitchat

Every day around the world, an estimated three billion people go to work and 2.9 billion of them avoid making small talk with their co-workers once they get there.

Their avoidance strategies vary. Some will keep their headphones in and their eyes low. Others will pantomime receiving an urgent message that requires an immediate, brow-furrowing, life-or-death rapid response, which incapacitates them from doing pretty much anything else, not excluding riding in, or communally waiting for, an elevator in their office building; making conversation while heating up lunch lasagna in the office microwave; walking from the entrance of their office building to the nearest public transit stop, or to literally anywhere, unless wait, you’re also going there? Because I actually meant to pop in this fine Persian rug wholesaler. See you tomorrow!

2018 study published in Psychological Science showed that people “systematically underestimated how much their conversation partners liked them and enjoyed their company.”

Think about it: when you have an awkward small talk interaction with a co-worker (it’s stunted, there were silences, neither of you could think of something to say) do you normally go back to your desk and think, “Wow, Alex is a terrible conversationalist”? No. You go back to your desk and think, “Wow, I’m a rotten garbage human being who should be shunned from society.” And Alex is thinking the same thing about him or herself.

Read the whole story: The New York Times

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