While at work, I hear a lot of random statements like “I can’t believe this”, or “why is it so cold in here?” My co-workers often make random statements based on what they’re thinking, feeling, or doing throughout the day. And they never address anyone, make eye contact, or start a conversation this way. I have nothing against people who do this, I just have no idea how to respond.
I never know if these comments are directed towards me, whether they’re talking to themselves, or if they even expect a reply. I don’t typically respond to most of these because I usually can’t think of an appropriate response. I’m not even sure if they expect me to say anything. Here are a few examples of what I hear on a daily basis and my own awkward replies:
“Wow, its sure cold out today.”
Yes, it is. (It’s winter, so you should probably expect cold temperatures.)
“I’m so tired right now.”
I’m sorry to hear that? (It’s not that I don’t care about your health, but why are you telling me this?)
“My legs hurt today.”
Umm… (I don’t know what you’re expecting to hear.)
All of these statements aren’t conversation starters. When I do reply, its usually “yup”, or “mmhmm”. And then there’s the awkward silence when they don’t acknowledge my reply. But when I choose not to respond, my co-workers will typically continue speaking, wanting to share what they were thinking. Maybe its their way of starting a conversation?
What would you do?