I Admit It – I Am A Hallway Avoider. Here’s How I Managed It…
I admit it – I am an avoider. Specifically avoiding others when it comes to potential awkward conversations. As a wise sage said not too long ago – “Ain’t no one got time for that!”
Now to be clear, this isn’t something I have experienced since arriving at The Bull. I work with some pretty awesome peeps. But at my previous job, there was that one guy.
We’ll call him Frank.
I worked with him for over 15 years. We had a pretty good rapport. But man could Frank suck the time outta your day. Example, he would catch me in the hallways and ask me if I saw the latest story that was hot that day. I would indulge him for a bit, which was taxing. As I tried to politely listen to a long story, get longer, my resentment was grew. I thought to myself, “I just want to get my work done and go home.”
At that point, I started dropping hints, like shifting weight from one leg to another. I started to say “Ok” more and more to hurry along the convo.
If I had keys in my hand, the move was to jiggle them to signify that you have things to do. Sometimes that worked. But I found myself not being able to avoid Frank and his pointless, lingering, non-stop stories. That’s when it was time. I started being honest with him.
“Hey JimShow, did you see what (insert celebrity story of the day) so and so said?” I stopped and looked at him and said, “I did, you have two minutes to tell me your thoughts. Then I gotta get back to work.” I said it respectfully, yet with purpose. He handled it well, as if this has happened to him before. He then quickly summed up his story.
Hey, that honesty thing worked! Hmmmm. So, I started to see if I could just tell him, “No.” Which I did.
It went like this, “Hey JimShow, did you see what (insert celebrity story of the day) so and so said?” I didn’t stop walking and said, “No Frank and I don’t have time right now. We can catch up later.” He was surprised, yet took it like a champ. “Ok, next time!” Hey, it worked! he and I still chat from time to time.
Everyone has that person that try to avoid. Be encouraged, you are not alone. In this case, my relationship with Frank could handle the brutally honest things I threw at him. I actually respected Frank more for it.
I had to learn how to be honest and respectful at the same time. A true balancing act. Lots of office politics and rules these days. With that said, are you SURE you want to go back to the office?
All My Best,