Be careful asking people what’s going on in their lives.
I try not to ask acquaintances what’s going on in their lives anymore. The last time I did that, the person told me that she was recovering from chemotherapy, getting over her divorce, and hoping to find a job after being out of work for two years. This was 10 minutes after meeting her for the first time. Awkward.
Shut up about my work.
When people ask me where I work or what I do for a living, I give a generic response. Most people ask because they’re making small talk but don’t really care—except when they’re looking for a job and hoping that you could hook them up. Otherwise, your achievements are not interesting unless you’ve discovered the cure for cancer or something like that.
I also don’t like telling people I work in finance/work in a financial firm. That’s because there’s a 50-50% chance they will end up asking me where I think the market is headed – which gives them an opening to TELL YOU their opinions, which 99% of the time, is a repeat of what’s already been said in the media. It’s a set up.
Shut up about my kid.*
When I become a mom, I will make sure I don’t spend more than 10 minutes talking about my kids. I’m not sure what the acceptable time is for parents to spend talking about this, but being on the receiving end of the conversation I personally start zoning out at around 10-15 minutes. I get that most parents are extremely proud of their kid’s daily progress, but I honestly don’t care about his pooping routine or favorite character on the Backyardigans.
Every normal, healthy kid learns to talk and potty train at some point in their childhood. Mozart learned to play the piano when he was three and wrote his first composition at age of five. What did your kid do today that warranted you talking about him for 60 minutes non-stop?
* Exceptions are when I’m talking with my kids’ grandparents or sharing parenting advice with other moms.
I feel so strongly about this issue, I made TWO memes on this. Click here to see.
Use the bathroom before you head out and every chance you get during a long trip. You never know when you’d be stuck en-route because of traffic jam, malfunctioning train, or rubbernecking.
I also purposely drink lots of water at work so I have to get up to go to the bathroom often. This gives me a chance to move around and take short breaks without having to actually remember to do so.