Jon’s 5 best ways to make your colleagues feel awkward
The workplace is socially interesting. Not in a fun sense though. I really mean that social interactions are very different in the world of 9-to-5.
At home, for instance, I might do a weird dance. Like an understated version of this. But only my wife gets to appreciate that. Everyone else misses out: especially my colleagues.
So there are different social rules when at work and breaking them can be a bit of fun and a lot of awkward.
If you’re having a boring day (though I question how this is possible on double-post Friday) you might want to pull out one of my 5 best awkward-makers to change the mood. Or maybe your job is going too well and you want to jeopardise it. These activities will certainly do that.
1. Build an elastic-band ball
This is subtle, but it really works. Firstly it let’s people know that you’re not working – you’re building an elastic-band ball – and that is awkward because the first rule of work is always look busy. Secondly, when a band snaps you sometimes accidentally slam your hand into the desk as the tension is released. This makes you seem angry and any emotion is frowned upon at work.
How do I know all this? Well, here’s my current project:
2. Use uber-corporate speak
Be too eager by changing the way you speak. Rely on phrases like ‘End of play’, ‘Action’ (as a verb only) and ‘going forward’. Use at least one of those in every sentence. And crucially you should remember that there are no people, only stakeholders. If you say enough of these phrases all at once, your point will be followed by a majestic awkward silence.
3. Repeat your questions but add the word ‘really’ in
Perfect for making people feel like you want to know all their secrets.
How are you?
No, how are you really?
What time is it?
No, what time is it really?
It’s menstruation time.
That second example shows how things can quickly escalate to uncomfortable places.
This one might sound a bit weird but that’s perfect. Hold something like a coffee bean, a marble or a penny all the time. That way rumours will start to spread. If you’re ever directly confronted, just respond with silence. Keep holding it when you handshake for extra creep factor.
5. Encroach on personal space
This is the ultimate way to get that true awkward feeling. But be careful – it’s only a few stops away from Harassment Station on the tour of weird things train (now there’s a metaphor!). There’s a definite line that shouldn’t be crossed. But that also means it takes you up the awkward scale pretty quick. Stand a tiny bit too close, breathe on your boss’ bald patch and, if you want the ultimate glory, find a barefoot and put your finger between the toes…
Could you be sacked for that? Maybe even taken to court? I would like to be on the jury at that trial.
So that’s the 5 best ways to make your colleagues feel awkward. Maybe you should try one first thing Monday morning?
Have a great weekend.
P.S. It’s Steve’s birthday soon (26th Oct) – why not give us a happy birthday shout out on social media (or just in the street if you want). Pick your favourite Steve post, share it and make people follow the blog.
It would maybe make up for the fact that I haven’t got him a present…