Have you ever worked with someone who seems to just float from cubicle to cubicle throughout the work day, gossiping about anything and everything? You try your hardest to not make eye contact with this person or engage with them, but they feast on eavesdropping. It doesn’t matter if you didn’t look at them or say a word, you may have had something on your computer monitor that sparked their interest. This person will do just about anything to talk the entirety of the day.
I imagine the inner-monologue of the office over-talker goes something like the following (picture they are walking down your cubicle isle) – “Oh look there is Karen, did she get a new haircut? I bet she did, it looks shorter and a new hint of red. Why did she go with red? Not the best choice if you ask me…” “Hey Karen! Your hair looks great! You know I was thinking of getting my hair done this week but my son has Football practice and he always has to be there early which means I need to cook dinner as soon as I am home. And if I don’t cook right away he gets grumpy, which reminds me, did you see the new episode of Beverly Hills Housewives? Tamara is driving me nuts!”
It’s already too late for you Karen. You’ve been sucked into the vortex of the office over-talker, but not all hope is lost. There are a few strategies you can use to escape and salvage precious minutes of your life.
Fake Phone Call
The oldest trick in the book, the fake phone call. You may have seen this used by girls rejecting guys on occasion – that’s because you can’t really argue it. Whomever you pull the fake phone call on can’t ever call you on your bluff, because that would just be rude! Just simply use your cell phone to call your work phone, but be sneaky in how you call so you don’t get caught. As soon as your work phone rings, pick it up and start having a fake conversation. The over-talker should leave at this point.
Use an Office Friend
Chances are its common knowledge who the office-over-talker is, which is why you need to make a safe word or motion to let a friend know you need help getting out. When the trigger word or motion is used your friend will jump in and request you in a meeting.
Sickness spreads like wildfire in an office setting. Hand sanitizer is like gold come flu season. If you are cornered and have no way out, resort to the overindulgent cough. Cough your little heart out. At this point they will either walk away or, if they don’t, motion like you need to go get water. Proceed to the furthest water source.